Five of the Biggest Broadway Divas

I’ll admit it; I love a good musical. I grew up seeing musicals with my mom and fell in love with not only the drama and theatrics but the vast amount of women that were on stage. The everlasting “Broadway Diva” has always been a persona that I’ve admired, as the women who coined this term fought their way and changed the stage forever. With that, here are my top five favorite Broadway Divas that were forces to be reckoned with.


Patti Lupone

Patti Lupone began her Broadway career in 1972 as one of the original members of The Acting Company. Lupone received her first Tony Award nomination in 1975 for her work in The Robber Bridegroom and won her first Tony for originating the role of Eva Perón in the production of Evita in 1979. She later stated that her role in Evita was “the worst experience of my life”, also stating, "I was screaming my way through a part that could only have been written by a man who hates women. And I had no support from the producers, who wanted a star performance onstage but treated me as an unknown backstage. It was like Beirut, and I fought like a banshee." 


Audra McDonald

A classically trained Soprano, Audra McDonald was a four-time Tony winner by the age of 28 and has a career that has graced the stage, television, and the big screen. McDonald is most known for defying racial typecasting in both of her roles in the 1996 revival of Carousel and the 2007 revival of 110 in the Shade. She was the first black woman to play the traditionally white roles in both productions.


Bernadette Peters

As a young child, Bernadette Peters began her career on television, but by the age of 13, she was cast as a “Hollywood Blonde” in the second national tour of Gypsy. After an eight-year absence, Peters returned to the New York stage in 1984 as Dot/Marie in the production Sunday in the Park with George. Bernadette Peters also originated the role of The Witch in the production Into the Woods in 1987. Needless to say, Bernadette Peters made her mark on the Broadway stage. 


Kristin Chenoweth

With a glorious helium-touched soprano, Kristin Chenoweth has graced the stage with her voice for many years. In 1999, Chenoweth won her first Tony award playing Sally in the revival of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Her role as Glinda in the production Wicked earned her a Tony nomination in 2004 but was beaten by her co-star Idina Menzel. Chenoweth went on to appear on numerous TV shows including Glee, which earned her two Emmy nominations.


Angela Lansbury

Angela Lansbury began her Broadway career a bit later than most. In 1966 she portrayed the role of Aunt Mame in Mame, which earned rave reviews and a cult following in the gay community at the time. In 1972, Lansbury played the character of Rose in the West End production of Gypsy and went on to perform in 24 performances of The King and I. In 1979, Lansbury also originated the role of Nellie Lovett in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Angela Lansbury went on to grace television screens everywhere in Murder, She Wrote.


These Broadway Divas graced stage and screen for decades and made their mark on the Broadway scene. Like this article? Be sure to check out our other features this week!