Theatre / Feature

The five most important female roles in the West End

We're celebrating women in theatre to mark 100 years since the suffrage movement.

Here we take a look at the five biggest musical theatre roles for women that are currently playing on the West End stage.


The Schuyler Sisters – Hamilton

Taking the West End by storm, Hamilton’s the Schuyler Sisters really push the envelope for 18th Century womanhood. In Angelica Schuyler, the show depicts a woman who understands her place in a patriarchal society but isn’t afraid to hold her own; while Hamilton’s wife, Eliza, has become the beating heart of the juggernaut musical by the final number. [Buy tickets]


Effie White – Dreamgirls

Effie White is a tour de force who goes on a huge journey in Dreamgirls. We first meet her as naive young girl but she’s an independent woman by the end of the show, and she means business. Of course she belts out And I’m Not Telling You I’m Not Going with aplomb – how, HOW do they do that night after night? – but it’s the stunning I Am Changing that truly defines her story; here’s the West End’s original Effie, Amber Riley, singing the track. [Buy tickets]


Elphaba & Glinda – Wicked

Elphaba seems an obvious choice for a butt-kicking feminist role for the modern era, but we’re calling her out specifically alongside her best pal and other leading lady Glinda for a reason here. Both women go through huge changes in Wicked that define their characters, but neither would experience the journey they go on were it not for the other – and they make for stunning complimentary roles. [Buy tickets]


Margaret New – Everybody’s Talking about Jamie

With her quirky Mod-style, no-nonsense attitude and overwhelming love for her wannabe drag-queen son, ETAJ’s Margaret New is a marvel of a modern woman. When Josie Walker belts out the lamenting He’s My Boy in act two, there’s not a dry eye in the house… [Buy tickets]


Christine Daaé – The Phantom of the Opera

Let’s be honest, there are moments in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical masterpiece where Christine is nothing short of insufferable, but it remains the role that every woman in the West End wants to play. For our money, she shines most of all during Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again (maybe it’s that stunning cape!) and it’s here that she changes from starry-eyed ingénue to strong young woman as finally understands what needs to be done to escape the Phantom. [Buy tickets]


Discover more amazing Women in Theatre throughout February on our blog and buy tickets for West End shows in our dedicated entertainment guide.

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