Four-time Tony Award nominee Kuhn currently stars as Helen Bechdel in Broadway's Fun Home. Her new solo album, "Rodgers, Rodgers and Guettel," released on PS Classics, includes songs from three generations of Broadway songwriters: Richard Rodgers, his daughter Mary Rodgers and her son Adam Guettel.
Click here to listen to an exclusive track from the album, and then check out her favorite songs by female writers below.
Joni Mitchell – "All I Want." I learned to sing listening to Joni Mitchell, specifically the "Blue" album that I think is one of the greatest albums of all time. If I HAD to choose one song, I would choose this one, which I have covered. The line, "I hate you some, I hate some, I love you some" basically is what being in a relationship is all about. "I love you when I forget about me." True.
Laura Nyro – "To A Child." Nyro is another one of my songwriting idols and the only singer-songwriter who Joni Mitchell cites as an influence. Again, if I HAVE to choose one song it would be this, which is on my Nyro cover album. She wrote it for her son, and it perfectly describes the joy, terror and exhaustion of motherhood in her unique poetic way.
Nina Simone – "Mississippi Goddamn." She is simply one of the most extraordinary musicians that ever walked the earth. This song was written after the murder of Medgar Evers in Mississippi and of the four girls in the church bombing in Alabama. It is just extraordinary and is the epitome of Simone as singer, pianist and activist. It also sadly feels like it could have been written today — the words still resonate.
Regina Spektor – "Laughing With." Just a great lyric. "No one laughs at god when…but god funny." It's dark, I know. She is another wholly original singer-songwriter.
Nellie McKay – "I Wanna Get Married." I love her first CD "Get Away From Me." Such great, hilarious and very woman-centric songs. This song perfectly exemplifies her sensibility and wit.
Carole King – "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman." So many people don't know she wrote this song! Well, now with Beautiful on Broadway they are finding out. It is, of course, associated with Aretha Franklin whose recording of it is peerless. But I love hearing King sing it. And, of course, "Tapestry" is also one of the greatest albums ever.
Patti Griffin – "Making Pies." One of the saddest songs ever written.
Sarah Jarosz – "Grandma's Hands." Jarosz is a remarkably gifted and prodigious singer/songwriter/mandolin player. She recorded her first album "Song Up In Her Head" when she was 18, and I have been listening to her ever since. This is from a single she released, and I love the lyric about the power and wisdom of a grandmother.
Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron – "Days and Days." Okay, I am biased. But Jeanine and Lisa are my favorite female songwriting team! And, they wrote me an amazing song to sing in Fun Home. It really is the perfect song and is exactly what the character needs at that moment. Lisa writes lyrics the way people actually talk, and Jeanine understands the emotional content of every chord. It is a gift to perform it every day.
Follow Playbill.com's Women in Theatre Week coverage on social media, using the hashtag #WomenInTheatre. Click here for more coverage on women in theatre!