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West End Theatre: The Best Leading Ladies.

As Marilyn Monroe famously said: ‘Give a Girl The Right Shoes and She Can Conquer the World’.

West End Theatre: The Best Leading Ladies.

In theatres all over the globe, inspirational women are strutting their stuff in some of the most fabulous shoes. These strong female leads are inspiring women (and men) everywhere through their stories of greatness. This article is to celebrate just a few of these amazing women in London’s West End, giving you my top 5 ladies who are, in my opinion, some of the most awe-inspiring female leads. I tried to put these in order or awesomeness, however, I really can’t – they are all on par for me. These characters teach such important lessons, and if you haven’t seen any of the following shows – you should!


Wicked is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz and tells the story of how Elphaba (The Wicked Witch of the West) came to be ‘bad’ and Glinda (The Good Witch) came to be good. This show is extremely centred around two amazing female leads, and no-one is more amazing than Elphaba. Throughout the show she shows the importance of a good moral character – she doesn’t follow the crowd or bow down to pressure, instead she follows her heart and does what she knows is right. She teaches that what we are told isn’t necessarily true – green witches aren’t always the ‘bad guys’, no matter what we may be told (there is a deep political message in there somewhere but we won’t get into that). Outward appearance doesn’t matter; it’s what’s inside that counts! Elphaba and Glinda together learn that it doesn’t matter where you come from or who your parents are – they teach the importance of friendship, and it’s truly beautiful. The acting and singing here is truly mind blowing, the choreography is amazing and the music is magical. Go see this show at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, it’s my favourite! Get your tickets here.


Dreamgirls tells the story of how the ‘Dreamettes’ rose to fame; how they started out as three ‘small town’ girls and grew into a sensation. There are three main female leads in this show, each presenting a different aspect of just how awesome women can be. Effie White’s character teaches forgiveness; although she turns against Deena, eventually forgiveness wins over and she shows just how much courage is required in this. She also belts out some amazing power-ballads that will inspire you regardless of whether her story does. The character of Deena Jones shows how strong women are – she never falters or loses this strength; she is initially held back by her controlling husband but eventually builds up the courage to break free and follow her dreams. Lorrell Robinson shows how much one person’s character can grow as she goes from a young girl in love with a married man to eventually take control of her life, ending the show shining. My favourite aspect of Lorrell’s character is that even though she never becomes a lead singer in the Dreamettes, she is so incredibly proud of her friends and their achievements – she teaches women to build each other up, not to pull each other down, and that’s my favourite thing. This show features so many powerhouse voices and really is a must see at London’s Savoy Theatre– get your tickets here.

Matilda The Musical

Based on the book by Roald Dahl, Matilda tells the story of a very special little girl who uses her cleverness (and a little bit of magic) to defeat the bad influences in her life and find happiness. As a child character Matilda is able to inspire both young and old with her witty and optimistic outlook on life. She is a young girl who is incredibly bright; she knows the difference between right and wrong and knows how to correct this – ‘sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty’! The character of Miss Honey is also one to be admired; this woman has been ground down by her evil Aunt Trunchbull for her whole life and with inspiration and a little help from Matilda she manages to overcome this and find her true happiness. Featuring some of the most talented children in the UK Matilda is the perfect show for people of any age and will leave you inspired with the knowledge that ‘even if you’re little you can do a lot, you mustn’t let a little thing like little stop you’. Matilda is currently running in the Cambridge Theatre London, with a UK tour planned to begin in March 2018, you will not regret getting tickets for this one – get them here.

Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots is a fabulously feel-good show that can inspire and empower ladies, gentlemen – and those who’ve yet to make up their mind! The leading lady of this show is Lola, played by Matt Henry, a drag queen who teaches us that we need to embrace who we are and love ourselves. During the story of Kinky Boots we see Lola experience discrimination from many of the people around her, but she learns to overcome this in true style, teaching the audience valuable lessons in acceptance and love in a flurry of true fabulousness – ‘just be who you want to be!’. This show features incredible songs, amazing choreography and costumes so full of glitter there is now a national shortage – the talent is incredible and it will leave you dancing out of the Adelphi Theatre, London. Get your tickets here.

The Girls

Anyone who has seen the film ‘Calendar Girls’ (or has even heard of it) will know the story of these amazing girls who created a nude calendar to raise money for their local hospital after one of their husbands sadly passes away from cancer. This fantastic musical shows just how amazing ‘girls’ are – these leading ladies tell a story of love, loss and most importantly, of friendship. In today’s society so many women are constantly putting each other down, but what is so amazing about this show is that this never happens; there is only positivity and encouragement. The messages of empowerment and bravery are very important here, and these have so much resonance within today’s society. There is a lot of pressure put on women these days to conform within society; we must look a certain way, we must act a certain way – but this show highlights that women are beautiful in all shapes and sizes. A key word used throughout the story was ‘daring’ and that is the perfect way to describe the actresses. The women bare all on stage, showing true beauty and bravery and for this I completely take my hat off to them. The message of empowerment is so necessary and is shown both within and outside of the story, highlighting just how amazing ‘girls’ truly are. Currently showing at London’s Phoenix theatre, this is a must see show – get your tickets here.

So, if like me, you love watching some amazing leading ladies killing it, whilst also teaching some extremely valuable lessons, these shows must be seen.

Written by
Lauren Philpott
26th April 2017
Updated: 13th November 2017