I get most of my inspiration from the women in my life, and Broadway’s leading ladies are no exception. Here are 10 of my favorite songs written for female characters (in no particular order) to celebrate Women’s History Month of 2018:
1. “I’m Here” from The Color Purple
STRENGTH—Celie is the definition of what it means to be a strong, independent woman. Throughout the show, she goes through challenge after challenge but is still able to stand tall. This song channels unwavering strength, the ability to recognize beauty by your own standards, and the liberation you feel when you realize your worth.
Cynthia Erivo as Celie
2. "Watch What Happens" from Newsies
COURAGE—Katharine Plumber is the best character in Newsies, and I will gladly defend this claim to anyone who contests. Katharine is an aspiring reporter who wants to leave behind Vaudeville reviews to tell the stories of those who need to be heard. She knows what she wants, despite what society tell her she can’t have, and her enduring courage is what brings her the most success.
Kara Lindsay as Katharine
3. “She Used to be Mine” from Waitress
RESILIENCE—Jenna’s character is made up of so many admirable traits that are mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie. She is faced with consistent, unexpected challenges that alter the way she planned her life to be, but this song is a symbol of her resilience. Jenna uses her “old self” as inspiration for her fight for happiness and a better life.
Jessie Mueller as Jenna
4. “Satisfied” from Hamilton
INTELLIGENCE—Angelica is my personal favorite character in Hamilton because of her quick wit, logic, and emotional intelligence. She is the type of person to thoroughly think through every possible option before making a decision, and her intuition makes her so incredibly wise.
Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica
5. “Sonya Alone” from Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
LOVE—Sonya and Natasha’s love story is the only one I can stand by in The Great Comet. “Sonya Alone” shows what it means to have unconditional love for someone you truly care about. As Sonya’s cousin, Natasha does not pay her much attention (or respect) once she falls in love with a man, but Sonya still vows to watch over her.
Brittain Ashford as Sonya
6. “So Big / So Small” from Dear Evan Hansen
SUPPORT—As a mother, Heidi witnesses the mistakes Evan makes but maintains her love for him through it all. In this song, she acknowledges the fact that she may never be the perfect mom, but she will be by Evan’s side “when it all feels so big, ‘till it all feels so small.”
Rachel Bay Jones as Heidi
7. “Anything Goes” from Anything Goes
LIGHTHEARTEDNESS—Anything Goes is a chaotic musical, and at the center of it stands the charismatic Reno Sweeney. Reno’s character shows the importance of maintaining enough lightheartedness to stay sane in an ever-changing world. I also love a good tap number.
Sutton Foster as Reno
8. “Pretty Funny” from Dogfight
VULNERABILITY—this song breaks my heart every time I hear it because it showcases the insecurities that come flooding into your mind behind closed doors. Rose is judged for her physical appearance, but she doesn’t let that stop her from wearing her heart on her sleeve.
Lindsay Mendez as Rose
9. “So Much Better” from Legally Blonde
CONFIDENCE—Did Elle Woods only go to Harvard Law to rekindle her relationship with Warner? Maybe. But, did she soon realize Warner did not deserve her? Yes. And along the way, she found confidence in herself and her abilities. I like to use this song as inspiration for accomplishing things that seem scary, because the pay-off can feel so good.
Laura Bell Bundy as Elle
10. “In My Dreams” from Anastasia
FAITH—As a street sweeper with no memory of her early life, Anya sets a goal that seems nearly impossible. On her journey to discover her past, she is relentlessly hopeful, and that is what ultimately gets her through the many obstacles standing in her way. Anya has faith in her dreams, and those dreams lead to a discovery of herself and the many things she is capable of.
Christy Altomare as Anya