To honor International Women’s Day, here are 25 strong female characters from Tams-Witmark musicals. These women are some tough characters who’ve overcome obstacles and achieved greatness with wit, strength, humor, and determination. Enjoy!
1. Rose from GYPSY
The mama of them all, Rose is a woman who knows what she wants and is always willing to fight for it. A survivor, a dreamer, and often an opportunist, she is undoubtedly a force of nature. Though some may consider her a monster, Rose is nonetheless the quintessential Strong Female Lead.
2. Louise (Gypsy Rose Lee) from GYPSY
And who is the second strongest? Rose’s daughter Louise, who emerges from her mother’s shadow on her own terms, ultimately asserting her own place in history.
3. Reno Sweeney from ANYTHING GOES
Brassy, witty, confident, and willing to laugh at herself, Reno is strong enough to power a luxury liner.
4. Effie White from DREAMGIRLS
Effie may have her flaws – in her youth, she’s prideful and quick to anger – but she perseveres, living a life of conviction. Embracing change and offering forgiveness, Effie finds the fortitude to emerge a superstar.
5. Hildy Esterhazy from ON THE TOWN
She drives a cab and she can cook, too! Gutsy and direct, Hildy goes for what she wants without apologizing.
6. Billie Bendix from NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT
A bootlegger with a tough past and a tender heart, Billie is quick-witted, resourceful, enterprising, and so darned funny.
7, 8, 9. Sheila, Diana, and Cassie from A CHORUS LINE
Every single woman on the line deserves to be on this list for bravely taking a risk in the pursuit of a dream. But we’ll focus on three: Sheila is wry, jaded, experienced, and hilarious. Diana Morales is a tough, no-nonsense kid with heart, willing to stand up for herself and her friend. And Cassie, bravest of them all, faces her own failures by stepping back into the lion’s den, proving to herself and others that she is worthy, humble, and undeniably talented.
10. Ruth Sherwood from WONDERFUL TOWN
Confidently picking up everything and moving from Ohio to Manhattan, writer Ruth Sherwood is quick-witted, fast on her feet, literary, and ingeniously enterprising.
11. Dolly Gallagher Levi from HELLO, DOLLY!
Is there any woman more resourceful and “damned exasperating” than Dolly Gallagher Levi? No matter the situation, Dolly always maintains the upper hand. Manipulative, conniving, and utterly delightful, Dolly will never go away.
12. Sally Brown from YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN
Now here’s a woman who knows what she wants! Or does she? Sally’s a bit unclear in her aspirations, but wow… she sure does state them with conviction.
13. Polly Baker from CRAZY FOR YOU
In a town full of lethargic men, Polly appears to be the only person holding a real job. Hardworking and skeptical, she’s a postal worker who can drink (and dance!) with the best of ‘em.
14. Aldonza from MAN OF LA MANCHA
Blunt, no-nonsense Aldonza may be the toughest of them all. “Spawned in a ditch by a mother who left her there,” Aldonza has endured an arduous life and survived in the bleakest of circumstances.
15. Dionne from HAIR
Resolutely defiant, proud, and fearless, Dionne is also nurturing and patient with her fellow tribe members, fostering “harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding.”
16. The Countess Aurelia from DEAR WORLD
This Madwoman of Chaillot may seem mentally unbalanced, but she manages to rescue Paris with ingenuity, patience, and tender benevolence. She and her two eccentric friends prove that dotty old ladies may be the strongest of us all.
17. Fraulein Schneider from CABARET
Though some may find her moral choices repugnant, Fraulein Schneider is undoubtedly a canny businesswoman and hard-nosed survivor. An unmarried woman in early 1930s Berlin, she has managed to maintain her own business despite global depression, widespread poverty, and political uncertainty.
18. Calamity Jane from CALAMITY JANE
A gifted sharpshooter, frontierswoman Calamity Jane can rope, ride, and shoot… not to mention sing and dance!
19. Mackenzie “Mickey” Williams from FASHION ACADEMY
You may not know this middle-schooler, but trust us, she’s as strong as they come. Despite overwhelming pressure to conform, Mickey proudly celebrates her passion and her purpose, discovering the power of her own unique voice.
20. Fanny Brice from FUNNY GIRL
Defying the prevailing notions of what a star should look like, Fanny Brice rose up from the humblest of beginnings and became The Greatest Star of her generation.
21. Lyssie from LYSISTRATA JONES
Spunky, industrious, and determined, Lyssie sees a problem and fights to solve it with brains and flair.
22. The Mother Superior from NUNCRACKERS & other NUNSENSE musicals
Authoritative but endearing, the Reverend Mother (Sister Mary Regina) is always resourceful, often surprising, and occasionally soused.
23. Margo Channing from APPLAUSE
Fasten your seatbelts! Margo’s a seasoned star who fought her way into the limelight. Despite her power and success, Margo is fair-minded and clear-eyed about her fame. And though detractors may claim this story is All About Eve, we know it’s really all about Margo.
24. Oolie from CITY OF ANGELS
“The kind of a pal who’d sneak you a file past the prison guard,” Oolie is a hard-bitten dame with a heart of gold. Her job (as secretary to a private eye) may be thankless, but she’s sharp, witty, wise to the world, and loyal to the Nth degree.
25. Mame Dennis from MAME
Assertive, glamorous, brilliant, and unabashedly progressive, Mame Dennis embodies all the greatest qualities of a strong independent woman. Embracing life in all its mystery and messiness, Mame encourages everyone she encounters to seek adventure and live, live, live!