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Top 10 Hardest Female Musical Roles

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Cassandra Kalley
Sing your heart out, ladies! Welcome to Join us as we countdown the hardest female roles in musical theatre! For this list, we are looking at those female parts on The Great White Way that are particularly difficult, be it due to vocal or acting range required. To be clear, we are not including swings or ensemble roles because, let’s be honest; every show is hard if you’re in either of those. With that being said, let’s dive into these diva parts. We’ve included roles like Caroline in “Caroline, or Change”, Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde The Musical” and more!
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Top 10 Hardest Female Musical Roles



Sing your heart out, ladies! Welcome to MsMojo, and today, we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Hardest Female Roles in Musical Theatre.

For this list, we’re looking at those female parts on The Great White Way that are particularly difficult, be it due to vocal or acting range required. To be clear, we’re not including swings or ensemble roles because, let’s be honest; every show is hard if you’re in either of those. With that being said, let’s dive into these diva parts.

#10: Caroline Thibodeaux
“Caroline, or Change”


Though the mood of this musical is low nearly throughout - following the story of an African American maid to a Jewish family in the 1960s - it never stops singing. And for the actress playing the titular role, that means much of the singing is hers, be it in solo or group numbers. Telling a beautifully honest tale about the working poor through blues, spirituals, and folk music, this actress must keep the audience engaged while keeping the character true to her bent but not broken nature. It is tough, but dang, is it worth it to tell this heartrending story.



#9: Effie Melody White
“Dreamgirls”


This decade-spanning story about love and betrayal in the music industry is certainly going down in history as one of the greats. And with a gorgeous amount of confidence in her dream and in herself, the emotional role of Effie White is one for the ages, but not at all for the faint of voice. With a beautiful mezzo-soprano and insane belting, this role is only for the brave. Especially, as we all know, with the crazy “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.”


#8: Elle Woods
“Legally Blonde”


Though you need a killer soprano voice to bring down the house as Vivienne Kensington, it is the lead of this musical romantic comedy that takes this spot. With dancing skills to pay those Harvard bills and crazy vocal abilities, the part of Elle Woods demands a lot of its actress. Plus, with the movie franchise, any pink-clad daughter of Delta Nu has a lot to live up to. But you can also learn a lot from Elle Woods, like how to win a court case with hair care knowledge and of course, how to bend and snap.


#7: Fanny Brice
“Funny Girl”


From Follies girl to vaudevillian star, that is the life of Fanny Brice that this Broadway classic follows. But while Fanny is fun and - obviously - funny, her role is also incredibly taxing. With costume changes galore and a need to almost constantly be on stage, this part could easily wear out a less experienced actress. This, plus the vocal demands are crazy as hell. So, we don’t mean to rain on your parade; just prepare for some intensity when taking on this role, but always have fun.



#6: Reno Sweeney
“Anything Goes”


Tie on your dance shoes tight for this one, ladies. Reno Sweeney will keep your feet flying throughout this stamina-breaking musical. Not only that, but you have to keep on singing too? Yes, there is a lot of energy required to play this outspoken gal. And with such intense demands of the actress, you either have to give it your all or give nothing at all. So, if you’ve got the itch and the talent to play a funny, confident, and sassy nightclub singer, we propose anything goes.


#5: Elphaba
“Wicked”


From her days as belt-crazy role of Maureen Johnson in “Rent,” we all know Idina Menzel has left behind some tough but highly coveted shoes to fill on The Great White Way - and “Wicked”’s Elphaba is certainly no exception. With the ability to make the audience love her while knowing she’ll ultimately become the wickedest villain in Oz, it takes a special type of woman to take on this role. Mix that with some of the most powerful numbers on modern Broadway - both solo and duet - and you’ve got yourself one green-skinned powerhouse of a part.



#4: Diana Goodman
“Next to Normal”


As the plot of this musical unravels, it reveals that, like every family, there is more going on behind closed doors and the unsteady center of this story, Diana Goodman, has it the hardest. Playing a suburban mother who suffers from bipolar disorder, as well as delusions of her dead son, is quite the difficult role. This modern musical touches on subjects that hit close to home for some and make issues of mental illness more accessible to those who have not always understood them. As such, this heavy matriarch role is one that must be played with an understanding hand but emotionally raw voice.


#3: Celie
“The Color Purple”


This powerful musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s novel might have only had a few years on The Great White Way, but that has not stopped it from having international success. And over the course of this melancholy story, Celie grows and changes right before the audience’s eyes. And much of the drama of this musical rests squarely on her shoulders as she loves and learns the ways of the world she lives in. And with jazz, the blues, and other folk and soul sounds riddled throughout this classic tale, it takes a strong woman to carry that weight.


#2: Eva Perón
“Evita”


This Broadway classic follows the true rags to riches story of Eva Peron as she steps into the limelight of 1940s Argentina. And the moment she takes the stage, it’s clear she’s a presence to be reckoned with. Much like Celie, the audience watches this incredible character grow from a young girl into a powerful first lady of her home country. With each song being a monologue, turning the page on a new chapter of this amazing woman’s life, an actress must handle this role with a strong voice and acting range. But if you wish to join the ranks of Patti LuPone and Madonna, Argentina just may be crying for you.


Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions

Veronica Sawyer
“Heathers: The Musical”



Angelica Schuyler
“Hamilton”


Aimee Semple McPherson
“Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson”


#1: Mama Rose
“Gypsy”


Long before the days of Honey Boo Boo and Mama June, there was Mama Rose, pushing her daughters into the limelight, in order to live vicariously through them. And “Gypsy” puts this quintessential stage mom’s descent into madness on full display. Carrying most of the weight of this musical right up until the final killer number, this hellish tour de force takes a lot out of an actress with raw passion and wild emotions. The energy level required of this role could drain even the best of actresses. And you best make Mama proud.


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