"Sing Out, Louise!" Our Top Ten Musical Theatre Diva Vehicles

By Ben Rimalower
05 Aug 2013

Playbill.com contributor Ben Rimalower presents his list of the top ten musicals that are vehicles for divas.

This was not an easy list to make, and I know I'm going to get hate mail for some of my choices. You can't please everybody, and when it comes to divas, passions run high. I may even send myself a nasty comment or two in a couple of weeks when I look back, but here goes.

Honorable mention must be given to a few shows that don't make the Top Ten. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black's Song and Dance (or, rather, its first act, Tell Me On a Sunday) is an exciting showcase for a diva and it won Bernadette Peters her first Tony, but for me, it's sort of cheating to call a one-act song cycle a diva vehicle. Part my personal litmus test for a diva vehicle is how much a diva can shine across the breadth of an entire show.

Similarly, the Tony-nominated musicals Grey Gardens and Wicked don't make my list because they require their leading ladies to share the spotlight with a co-starring role of nearly equal size. You could argue this doubles the pleasure, but being a diva isn't about sharing. What's wonderful about Grey Gardens and Wicked ultimately lessens their ranking as singular diva vehicles. And finally, Bells are Ringing is an honorable mention because, as a diva vehicle, I like it just a little bit less than the Top Ten, but it's clearly still a truly great diva vehicle.

Click through to read the Top Ten Diva vehicles in musical theatre.


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