Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical

The Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical is an annual award presented by Drama Desk in recognition of achievements in the theatre among Broadway, Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway productions. The awards were established in 1955, with acting awards being given without making distinctions between roles in plays and musicals, or actors and actresses. The new award categories were later created in the 1975 ceremony.

Drama Desk Award
for Outstanding Actress
Awarded forOutstanding Actress in a Musical
LocationUnited States
Presented byDrama Desk
Currently held byAdrienne Warren for Tina: The Tina Turner Musical (2020)

† - indicates the performance won the Tony Award
‡ - indicates the performance was also nominated for the Tony Award

Winners and nomineesEdit


Year Actress Musical Character
Imelda de Martin The Amorous Flea Agnes
Dorothy Loudon The Fig Leaves Are Falling Lillian Stone ‡
Bernadette Peters Dames at Sea Ruby


Year Actress Musical Character
Lauren Bacall Applause Margo Channing †
Sandy Duncan The Boyfriend Maisie ‡
Ethel Merman Hello Dolly Dolly Gallagher Levi
Helen Gallagher No, No, Nanette Lucille Early †
Alexis Smith Follies Phyllis Rogers Stone †
Jonelle Allen The Two Gentlemen of Verona Silvia ‡
Glynis Johns A Little Night Music Desiree Armfeldt †
Michele Lee Seesaw Gittel Mosca ‡
Ruby Lynn Reyner La Bohemia Trilby
Angela Lansbury Gypsy Mama Rose
Marcia McClain Where's Charley? Amy Spettigue
Stephanie Mills The Wiz Dorothy Gale
Bernadette Peters Mack and Mabel Mabel Normand
Ann Reinking Goodtime Charley Joan of Arc
Kelly Bishop A Chorus Line Sheila Bryant †
Donna McKechnie A Chorus Line Cassie Ferguson †
Penny Fuller Rex Anne Boleyn / Elizabeth I
Patti LuPone The Robber Bridegroom Rosamund Musgrove ‡
Virginia Seidel Very Good Eddie Elsie Darling ‡
Elizabeth Wilson The Threepenny Opera Celia Peachum
Clamma Dale Porgy and Bess Bess ‡
Joan Copeland Pal Joey Vera Simpson
Catherine Cox Music Is Viola
Esther Hinds Porgy and Bess Bess
Julia McKenzie Side by Side by Sondheim Various Characters ‡
Meryl Streep Happy End Lillian Holiday
Nell Carter Ain't Misbehavin Nell †
Carlin Glynn The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas Mona Stangley †
Judy Kaye On the Twentieth Century Agnes
Angela Lansbury The King and I Anna Leonowens
Phyllis Newman My Mother was a Fortune Teller Phyllis
Charlayne Woodard Ain't Misbehavin Charlayne ‡
Angela Lansbury Sweeney Todd Mrs. Lovett
Lucie Arnaz They're Playing Our Song Sonia Walsk
Dorothy Loudon Ballroom Bea Asher ‡


Year Actress Musical Character
Patti LuPone Evita Eva Perón
Sandy Duncan Peter Pan Peter Pan
Ann Miller Sugar Babies Ann ‡
Sigourney Weaver Das Lusitania Songspiel Unknown
Lena Horne Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music Herself †
Chita Rivera Bring Back Birdie Rosie Alvarez ‡
Jennifer Holliday Dreamgirls Effie White
Sheryl Lee Ralph Dreamgirls Deena Jones ‡
Natalia Makarova On Your Toes Vera Barnova
Mara Beckerman Charlotte Sweet Charlotte Sweet
Betty Buckley Cats Grizabella
Ellen Greene Little Shop of Horrors Audrey
Twiggy My One and Only Edith Herbert ‡
Chita Rivera The Rink Anna †
Shirley MacLaine Shirley MacLaine on Broadway Herself
Liza Minnelli The Rink Angel ‡
Bernadette Peters Sunday in the Park with George Dot / Marie ‡
Alyson Reed Marilyn Marilyn Monroe
Bernadette Peters Song and Dance Emma †
Debbie Allen Sweet Charity Charity Hope Valentine ‡
Patti Cohenour The Mystery of Edwin Drood Miss Deirdre Peregrine / Rosa Bud ‡
Terri Klausner Goblin Market Laura
Cleo Laine The Mystery of Edwin Drood Angela Prysock / The Princess Puffer ‡
Ann Morrison Goblin Market Lizzie
Teresa Stratas Rags Rebecca Hershkowitz ‡
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio The Knife Jenny
Lonette McKee Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill Billie Holiday
Maryann Plunkett Me and My Girl Sally Smith †
Patti LuPone Anything Goes Reno Sweeney ‡
Sarah Brightman The Phantom of the Opera Christine Daaé
Judy Kuhn Chess Florence Vassy ‡
Bernadette Peters Into the Woods The Witch
Toni diBuono Forbidden Broadway Various Characters
Beth Fowler Sweeney Todd Mrs. Lovett
Debbie Shapiro Gravitte Jerome Robbins' Broadway Various Characters †
Roxie Lucas Forbidden Broadway Various Characters
Faith Prince Jerome Robbins' Broadway Ma / Tessie / Company ‡


Year Actress Musical Character
Tyne Daly Gypsy Mama Rose
Debby Boone The Sound of Music Maria von Trapp
Lynne Wintersteller Closer Than Ever Various Characters
Lea Salonga Miss Saigon Kim †
June Angela Shogun Lady Mariko ‡
Daisy Eagan The Secret Garden Mary Lennox †
LaChanze Once on This Island Ti Moune ‡
Faith Prince Guys and Dolls Miss Adelaide †
Sophie Hayden The Most Happy Fella Rosabella ‡
Donna Murphy Song of Singapore Rose
Chita Rivera Kiss of the Spider Woman Aurora / Spider Woman †
Laura Bell Bundy Ruthless! Tina Denmark
Donna English Ruthless! Judy Denmark / Ginger Del Marco
Helen Schneider Frida Frida Kahlo
Linda Stephens Wings Emily Stilson
Donna Murphy Passion Fosca †
Susan Egan Beauty and the Beast Belle
Melissa Errico My Fair Lady Eliza Doolittle
Margaret Illman The Red Shoes Victoria Page
Glenn Close Sunset Boulevard Norma Desmond †
Candy Buckley The Petrified Prince Queen Katarina
Julie Johnson Das Barbecü Various Characters
Lonette McKee Show Boat Julie LaVerne
Elaine Stritch Show Boat Parthy Ann Hawks
Julie Andrews Victor/Victoria Victoria Grant ‡
Terri Klausner Bed and Sofa Ludmilla
Crista Moore Big Susan Lawrence ‡
Donna Murphy The King and I Anna Leonowens
Daphne Rubin-Vega Rent Mimi Marquez ‡
Karen Ziemba I Do! I Do! She (Agnes)
Bebe Neuwirth Chicago Velma Kelly
Linda Eder Jekyll & Hyde Lucy Harris
Pamela Isaacs The Life Queen ‡
Lauren Ward Violet Violet Karl
Karen Ziemba Steel Pier Rita Racine ‡
Natasha Richardson Cabaret Sally Bowles
Melissa Errico High Society Tracy Samantha Lord
Marin Mazzie Ragtime Mother ‡
Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner Side Show Violet and Daisy Hilton
Carolee Carmello Parade Lucille Frank ‡
Bernadette Peters Annie Get Your Gun Annie Oakley
Siân Phillips Marlene Marlene Dietrich


Year Actress Musical Character
Heather Headley Aida Aida †
Toni Collette The Wild Party Queenie ‡
Rebecca Luker The Music Man Marian Paroo ‡
Marin Mazzie Kiss Me Kate Lilli Vanessi / Katherine ‡
Audra McDonald Marie Christine Marie Christine L'Adrese
Julia Murney The Wild Party Queenie
Marla Schaffel Jane Eyre Jane Eyre ‡
Christine Ebersole 42nd Street Dorothy Brock †
Kaitlin Hopkins Bat Boy: The Musical Meredith Parker
LaChanze The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin Viveca
Sally Mayes Pete 'n' Keely Keely
Faith Prince Bells Are Ringing Ella Peterson ‡
Sutton Foster Thoroughly Modern Millie Millie Dillmount †
Laura Benanti Into the Woods Cinderella
Garrett Long The Spitfire Grill Percy Talbott
Louise Pitre Mamma Mia Donna Sheridan ‡
Sherie Rene Scott The Last Five Years Cathy Hyatt
Vanessa Williams Into the Woods The Witch ‡
Marissa Jaret Winokur Hairspray Tracy Turnblad †
Stephanie D'Abruzzo Avenue Q Kate Monster / Lucy the Slut ‡
Ann Duquesnay Cookin' at the Cookery Alberta Hunter / Various Characters
Wei Huang La bohème Mimi ‡
Elizabeth Parkinson Movin' Out Brenda ‡
Bernadette Peters Gypsy Mama Rose
Donna Murphy Wonderful Town Ruth Sherwood ‡
Kristin Chenoweth Wicked Glinda
Judy McLane Johnny Guitar Vienna
Idina Menzel Wicked Elphaba
Elaine Paige Sweeney Todd Mrs. Lovett
Tonya Pinkins Caroline, or Change Caroline Thibodeaux ‡
Victoria Clark The Light in the Piazza Margaret Johnson †
Christina Applegate Sweet Charity Charity Hope Valentine ‡
Sutton Foster Little Women Josephine 'Jo' March ‡
LaChanze Dessa Rose Dessa Rose
Sherie Rene Scott Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Christine Colgate ‡
Rachel York Dessa Rose Ruth
Christine Ebersole Grey Gardens 'Little Edie' Beale
Nancy Anderson Fanny Hill Fanny Hill
Sutton Foster The Drowsy Chaperone Janet Van De Graaff ‡
Patti LuPone Sweeney Todd Mrs. Lovett
Idina Menzel See What I Wanna See Kesa / Wife / Actress
Kelli O'Hara The Pajama Game Catherine 'Babe' Williams ‡
Audra McDonald 110 in the Shade Lizzie Curry ‡
Donna Murphy Lovemusik Lotte Lenya
Laura Bell Bundy Legally Blonde Elle Woods
Ashley Brown Mary Poppins Mary Poppins
Kristin Chenoweth The Apple Tree Eve / Princess Barbara / Ella and Passionella
Lea Michele Spring Awakening Wendla Bergmann
Patti LuPone Gypsy Mama Rose
Sierra Boggess The Little Mermaid Princess Ariel
Kelli O'Hara South Pacific Ensign Nellie Forbush ‡
Faith Prince A Catered Affair Agnes 'Aggie' Hurley ‡
Alice Ripley Next to Normal Diana Goodman †
Jenna Russell Sunday in the Park with George Dot / Marie ‡
Allison Janney 9 to 5 Violet Newstead ‡
Stephanie J. Block 9 to 5 Judy Bernly
Stockard Channing Pal Joey Vera Simpson ‡
Sutton Foster Shrek Princess Fiona
Megan Hilty 9 to 5 Doralee Rhodes
Karen Murphy My Vaudeville Man! Mud Donahue


Year Actress Musical Character
Montego Glover Memphis Felicia Farrell ‡
Catherine Zeta-Jones A Little Night Music Desiree Armfeldt †
Kate Baldwin Finian's Rainbow Sharon McLonergan ‡
Jayne Houdyshell Coraline Coraline
Christiane Noll Ragtime Mother ‡
Sherie Rene Scott Everyday Rapture Sherie Rene Scott
Sutton Foster Anything Goes Reno Sweeney †
Beth Leavel Baby It's You! Florence Greenberg
Patina Miller Sister Act Deloris Van Cartier ‡
Donna Murphy The People in the Picture Bubbie / Raisel ‡
Sherie Rene Scott Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown Pepa
Audra McDonald Porgy and Bess Bess †
Miche Braden The Devil's Music Bessie Smith
Jan Maxwell Follies Phyllis Rogers Stone ‡
Kelli O'Hara Nice Work If You Can Get It Billie Bendix ‡
Bernadette Peters Follies Sally Durant Plummer
Molly Ranson Carrie Carrie White
Laura Osnes Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella Ella ‡
Kate Baldwin Giant Leslie Lynnton Benedict
Stephanie J. Block The Mystery of Edwin Drood Edwin Drood / Miss Alice Nutting ‡
Carolee Carmello Scandalous Aimee Semple McPherson
Lindsay Mendez Dogfight Rose Fenny
Donna Murphy Into the Woods The Witch
Jenny Powers Donnybrook! Mary Kate Danaher
Jessie Mueller Beautiful: The Carole King Musical Carole King
Sutton Foster Violet Violet Karl ‡
Idina Menzel If/Then Elizabeth Vaughn ‡
Kelli O'Hara The Bridges of Madison County Francesca Johnson ‡
Margo Seibert Tamar of the River Tamar
Barrett Wilbert Weed Heathers Veronica Sawyer
Kristin Chenoweth On the Twentieth Century Lily Garland / Mildred Plotka ‡
Kate Baldwin John & Jen Jen
Leanne Cope An American in Paris Lise Dassin ‡
Erin Davie Side Show Violet Hilton
Lisa Howard It Shoulda Been You Jenny Steinberg
Chita Rivera The Visit Claire Zachanassian ‡
Cynthia Erivo The Color Purple Celie Harris Johnson †
Laura Benanti She Loves Me Amalia Balash ‡
Carmen Cusack Bright Star Alice Murphy ‡
Jessie Mueller Waitress Jenna Hunterson ‡
Annette O'Toole Southern Comfort Robert Eads
Bette Midler Hello, Dolly! Dolly Gallagher Levi †
Christy Altomare Anastasia Anya
Christine Ebersole War Paint Elizabeth Arden
Sutton Foster Sweet Charity Charity Hope Valentine
Patti LuPone War Paint Helena Rubinstein
Laura Osnes Bandstand Julia Trojan
Jessie Mueller Carousel Julie Jordan ‡
Gizel Jiménez Miss You Like Hell Olivia
LaChanze Summer Diva Donna
Ashley Park KPOP MwE
Daphne Rubin-Vega Miss You Like Hell Beatriz
Stephanie J. Block The Cher Show Star
Beth Leavel The Prom Dee Dee Allen ‡
Rebecca Naomi Jones Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma! Laurey Williams
Anika Noni Rose Carmen Jones Carmen Jones
Stacey Sargeant Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future Beaux Weathers


Year Actress Musical Character
Adrienne Warren Tina: The Tina Turner Musical Tina Turner
Tammy Blanchard Little Shop of Horrors Audrey
Beth Malone The Unsinkable Molly Brown Molly Brown
Saycon Sengbloh The Secret Life of Bees Rosaleen
Elizabeth Stanley Jagged Little Pill Mary Jane "M.J." Healy

Multiple WinnersEdit

Multiple nomineesEdit

See alsoEdit


  • "Drama Desk Award for Actress in a Musical". Internet Broadway Database. 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-21.
  • 2002 New York Times article

External linksEdit