10 shows that champion female empowerment in London
Celebrate the power of females in shows across the West End with our top shows for International Women's Day. From the all-female creative teams to the all-female cast of Six, we cheer these shows and events that are sure to champion girl power in Theatreland. Here's the best of what the West End has offered which celebrates the power of womanhood.
The six wives of Henry VIII form the West End's newest girl band at Six, a concert-musical that rolls history and entertainment in one. During the 75-minute concert, the Tudor monarch's wives take centre stage one by one to tell their story, with original music and lyrics by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. An energetic show that's bursting with historical humour, see the Tudor period turn female at the Arts Theatre.
Approaching its twentieth anniversary in the West End, Mamma Mia! continues to be one of the West End's most feel-good musicals. Follow Sophie as she wishes to marry Sky and have her father walk her down the aisle, solving the mystery of who her father is without her mother Donna catching on. Packed with ABBA's greatest hits including "Dancing Queen", "Waterloo" and "Voulez-Vous", you'll be wanting to plan a holiday to a Greek island with your girlfriends to recreate the iconic Dynamos pose for yourself!
Follow the unlikely bond of Elphaba and Glinda at Wicked, bewitching audiences at the Apollo Victoria Theatre for over 12 years. From being paired as roommates at Shiz University to making life-changing decisions as they meet the Wizard of Oz, you'll find out how both witches earned their titles as the leading ladies belt out musical theatre showtunes including "Popular" and "Defying Gravity". Packed with flying monkeys and a mechanical dragon atop the stage, Wicked is the ultimate tale of friendship and what it means to have a good heart.
"Rollin' on the river" and to the West End, Tina the Musical charts the life and career of legendary pop sensation Tina Turner. Born Anna Mae Bullock, follow the songstress on a whistlestop tour throughout her public and private life. Without shying away from the suffering she faced at the hands of her partner Ike, the show sees Tina overcome personal struggles to become a musical superstar, set to a soundtrack of her greatest hits including "Nutbush City Limits". So "shake a tail feather" with your friends and head to Tina the Musical.
Female friendships are at the centre of Waitress. Based on a film by Adrienne Shelly, the show tells the story of small-town waitress and pie maker Jenna Hunterson. Longing to break free from her abusive husband after learning she is pregnant, her recipe for success is handed on a plate when she decides to enter a pie-making competition. With an all-female creative team including a book by Jessie Nelson, original music and lyrics by Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles and directed by Diane Paulus, this is a great slice of musical theatre pie.
9 to 5
In a display of female colleagues coming together to take on their misogynistic boss, 9 to 5 puts the women at the centre of the workplace. A star cast of leading ladies including Caroline Sheen, Amber Davies and Natalie McQueen rally together in a display of female camaraderie, with a soundtrack penned by country sensation Dolly Parton herself. It's a musical that's packed with gossip and friendships, which closed at the Savoy Theatre in 2020.
Hailed as the 'Dark Lady' of the Shakespearean era, the voice of sixteenth-century English poet Emilia Bassano comes to the fore in Emilia. Written by female playwright Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, the show boasts an all-female cast of 10 and a production team including Nicole Charles as director, the show is ultimate display of sisterhood and unity. Hear her sonnets and stories come to life.
Characters from the original 1970 musical are gender-reversed in this groundbreaking production of Company at the Gielgud Theatre, with Rosalie Craig leading the cast as Bobbie. Elliott's production sees Bobby become Bobbie, and in doing so, it highlights the pressures placed on women by society to couple up, settle down and start a family. It opened to five-star reviews pretty much across the board in 2018.
Living with a facial disfigurement as a young child, Violet follows the journey of a young woman of the same name as she travels across the United States to undergo surgery. With original music by Fun Home's musical creator Jeanine Tesori, it's a show that sees the lead character on a personal journey. Travelling with her life savings and a healthy dose of ambition, it's female empowerment at its finest, in a show that's both unexpected and heartwrenching.
Sunday Encounters: Patti LuPone in Conversation with Edward Seckerson
In 2019, West End and Broadway legend Patti LuPone discussed her theatre career at Theatre Royal Haymarket. At this one-off event, the Broadway powerhouse discussed her life and career within the theatre, who made her professional debut over 40 years ago. She chatted about her roles in Evita, Les Miserables and her role as Joanne in Company.
Updated: 3 March 2021
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