Laurence Olivier Award
for Best Actress in a Musical
Awarded forBest Actress in a Musical
Presented bySociety of London Theatre
First awarded1979
Currently held byKatie Brayben for Tammy Faye (2023) Edit this at Wikidata

The Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical is an annual award presented by the Society of London Theatre in recognition of achievements in commercial London theatre. The awards were established as the Society of West End Theatre Awards in 1976, and renamed in 1984 in honour of English actor and director Laurence Olivier.

This award was introduced in 1979, along with the award for Best Actor in a Musical. In 1977 and 1978, there had been a commingled actor/actress award for Best Performance in a Musical, won both times by an actress.

Winners and nominees


Year Actress Musical Character
Virginia McKenna The King and I Anna Leonowens
Carol Channing Hello, Dolly! Dolly Gallagher Levi
Antonia Ellis Chicago Velma Kelly
Liz Robertson My Fair Lady Eliza Doolittle


Year Actress Musical Character
Gemma Craven They're Playing Our Song Sonia Walsk
Sheila Hancock Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Mrs. Lovett
Julia McKenzie On the Twentieth Century Lily Garland
Siân Phillips Pal Joey Vera Simpson
Carlin Glynn The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas Mona Stangley
Petula Clark The Sound of Music Maria von Trapp
Patricia Hodge The Mitford Girls Nancy Mitford
Sylvia Kuumba Williams One Mo' Time "Big Bertha" Williams
Julia McKenzie Guys and Dolls Miss Adelaide
Val McLane Andy Capp Florrie
Imelda Staunton The Beggar's Opera Lucy Lockit
Marti Webb Song and Dance Emma
Barbara Dickson Blood Brothers Mrs. Johnstone
Ellen Greene Little Shop of Horrors Audrey
Stephanie Lawrence Marilyn Marilyn Monroe
Sarah Payne Singin' in the Rain Lina Lamont
Natalia Makarova On Your Toes Vera Barnova
Julia Hills The Hired Man Emily
Clare Leach 42nd Street Peggy Sawyer
Sheila White Little Me Belle
Patti LuPone Les Misérables Fantine
The Cradle Will Rock Moll
Betsy Brantley Guys and Dolls Miss Adelaide
Carol Sloman Lennon Performer
Elisabeth Welch Jerome Kern Goes to Hollywood Performer
Lesley Mackie Judy Judy Garland
Maureen Lipman Wonderful Town Ruth Sherwood
Elaine Paige Chess Florence
Angela Richards Side by Side by Sondheim Herself
Nichola McAuliffe Kiss Me, Kate Lilli Vanessi / Katharine
Dee Dee Bridgewater Lady Day Billie Holiday
Julia McKenzie Follies Sally Durant Plummer
Carol Woods Blues in the Night Performer
Patricia Routledge Candide Old Lady
Kiki Dee Blood Brothers Mrs. Johnstone
Ann Miller Sugar Babies Ann
Imelda Staunton The Wizard of Oz Dorothy Gale
Lea Salonga Miss Saigon Kim
Patricia Hodge Noël and Gertie Gertie
Judy Kuhn Metropolis Maria / Futura
Elaine Paige Anything Goes Reno Sweeney


Year Actress Musical Character
Imelda Staunton Into the Woods The Baker's Wife
Sally Burgess Show Boat Julie
Maria Friedman Sunday in the Park with George Dot / Marie
Julia McKenzie Into the Woods The Witch
Wilhelmenia Fernandez Carmen Jones Carmen
Sharon Benson Carmen Jones Carmen
Linzi Hateley Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Narrator
Miriam Margolyes Dickens' Women Various Characters
Joanna Riding Carousel Julie Jordan
Kim Criswell Annie Get Your Gun Annie Oakley
Ruthie Henshall Crazy for You Polly Baker
Kelly Hunter The Blue Angel Lola
Julia McKenzie Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Mrs. Lovett
Haydn Gwynne City of Angels Oolie / Donna
Patti LuPone Sunset Boulevard Norma Desmond
Elaine Paige Piaf Édith Piaf
Ruthie Henshall She Loves Me Amalia
Betty Buckley Sunset Boulevard Norma Desmond
Sally Dexter Oliver! Nancy
Judi Dench A Little Night Music Desirée Armfeldt
Elizabeth Mansfield Marie Marie
Caroline O'Connor Mack & Mabel Mabel
Elaine Paige Sunset Boulevard Norma Desmond
Maria Friedman Passion Fosca
B.J. Crosby Smokey Joe's Café Performer
Joanna Riding Guys and Dolls Sarah Brown
Imelda Staunton Guys and Dolls Miss Adelaide
Ute Lemper Chicago Velma Kelly
Maria Friedman Lady in the Dark Liza Elliott
Ruthie Henshall Chicago Roxie Hart
Siân Phillips Marlene Marlene Dietrich
Sophie Thompson Into the Woods The Baker's Wife
Krysten Cummings Rent Mimi Márquez
Maria Friedman Chicago Roxie Hart
Josefina Gabrielle Oklahoma! Laurey


Year Actress Musical Character
Barbara Dickson Spend Spend Spend Viv Nicholson
Josette Bushell-Mingo The Lion King Rafiki
Rachel Leskovac Spend Spend Spend Young Viv Nicholson
Siobhan McCarthy Mamma Mia! Donna Sheridan
Samantha Spiro Merrily We Roll Along Mary Flynn
Nicola Hughes Fosse Performer
Joanna Riding The Witches of Eastwick Jane Smart
Josie Walker The Beautiful Game Mary
Martine McCutcheon My Fair Lady Eliza Doolittle
Barbara Cook Barbara Cook Sings Mostly Sondheim Herself
Ruthie Henshall Peggy Sue Got Married Peggy Sue
Marin Mazzie Kiss Me, Kate Lilli Vanessi / Katharine
Joanna Riding My Fair Lady Eliza Doolittle
Janie Dee My One and Only Edith Herbert
Elaine Stritch Elaine Stritch at Liberty Herself
Sarah Wildor Contact Wife
Maria Friedman Ragtime Mother
Amanda Holden Thoroughly Modern Millie Millie Dilmount
Alison Jiear Jerry Springer Shawntel
Maureen Lipman Thoroughly Modern Millie Mrs. Meers
Laura Michelle Kelly Mary Poppins Mary Poppins
Maria Friedman The Woman in White Marian
Leigh Zimmerman The Producers Ulla
Jane Krakowski Guys and Dolls Miss Adelaide
Haydn Gwynne Billy Elliot Mrs. Wilkinson
Jenna Russell Guys and Dolls Sarah Brown
Julie Walters Acorn Antiques Mrs. Overall
Jenna Russell Sunday in the Park with George Dot / Marie
Nicola Hughes Porgy and Bess Bess
Tonya Pinkins Caroline, or Change Caroline Thibodeaux
Elena Roger Evita Eva Perón
Hannah Waddingham Spamalot Lady of the Lake
Leanne Jones Hairspray Tracy Turnblad
Lara Pulver Parade Lucille Frank
Sheridan Smith Little Shop of Horrors Audrey
Summer Strallen The Drowsy Chaperone Janet Van Der Graaf
Elena Roger Piaf Édith Piaf
Sofia Escobar West Side Story Maria
Kathryn Evans Sunset Boulevard Norma Desmond
Ruthie Henshall Marguerite Marguerite
Emma Williams Zorro Luisa


Year Actress Musical Character
Samantha Spiro Hello, Dolly! Dolly Levi
Melanie C Blood Brothers Mrs. Johnstone
Patina Miller Sister Act Deloris Van Cartier
Hannah Waddingham A Little Night Music Desirée Armfeldt
Charlotte Wakefield Spring Awakening Wendla
Sheridan Smith Legally Blonde Elle Woods
Sierra Boggess Love Never Dies Christine Daaé
Elena Roger Passion Fosca
Emma Williams Love Story Jenny
Cleo Demetriou, Kerry Ingram, Sophia Kiely, Eleanor Worthington Cox Matilda Matilda Wormwood
Kate Fleetwood London Road Julie
Sarah Lancashire Betty Blue Eyes Joyce Chilvers
Scarlett Strallen Singin' in the Rain Kathy Seldon
Imelda Staunton Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Mrs. Lovett
Heather Headley The Bodyguard Rachel Marron
Summer Strallen Top Hat Dale Tremont
Hannah Waddingham Kiss Me, Kate Lilli Vanessi / Katharine
Zrinka Cvitešić Once Girl
Rosalie Craig The Light Princess The Light Princess
Jenna Russell Merrily We Roll Along Mary Flynn
Charlotte Wakefield The Sound of Music Maria von Trapp
Katie Brayben Beautiful Carole King
Gemma Arterton Made in Dagenham Rita O'Grady
Tamsin Greig Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown Pepa Marcos
Beverley Knight Memphis Felicia Farrell
Imelda Staunton Gypsy Mama Rose
Tracie Bennett Mrs Henderson Presents Laura Henderson
Natalie Dew Bend It Like Beckham Jess Bhamra
Laura Pitt-Pulford Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Milly
Sophie Thompson Guys and Dolls Miss Adelaide
2017 Amber Riley Dreamgirls Effie White
Glenn Close Sunset Boulevard Norma Desmond
Debbie Chazen, Sophie-Louise Dann, Michele Dotrice, Claire Machin, Claire Moore and Joanna Riding The Girls The Girls
Sheridan Smith Funny Girl Fanny Brice
Shirley Henderson Girl from the North Country Elizabeth Lane
Janie Dee Follies Phyllis Rogers Stone
Imelda Staunton Sally Durant Plummer
Josie Walker Everybody's Talking About Jamie Margaret New
Sharon D. Clarke Caroline, or Change Caroline Thibodeaux
Rosalie Craig Company Bobbie
Kelli O'Hara The King and I Anna Leonowens
Adrienne Warren Tina Tina Turner


Year Actress Musical Character
2020 Miriam-Teak Lee & Juliet Juliet Capulet
Audrey Brisson Amélie Amélie Poulain
Judy Kuhn Fiddler on the Roof Golde
Zizi Strallen Mary Poppins Mary Poppins
2021 Not presented due to extended closing of theatre productions during COVID-19 pandemic[A]
2022[A] Jessie Buckley Cabaret Sally Bowles
Sutton Foster Anything Goes Reno Sweeney
Beverley Knight The Drifters Girl Faye Treadwell
Stephanie McKeon Frozen Anna
2023 Katie Brayben Tammy Faye Tammy Faye Messner
Anoushka Lucas Oklahoma! Laurey Williams
Miri Mesika The Band's Visit Dina
Faith Omole Standing at the Sky's Edge Joy
  1. ^ a b Due to late March 2020[1] to late July 2021[2] closing of London theatre productions during the COVID-19 pandemic in England, the 2022 awards recognise productions that launched anytime from February 2020 to February 2022[3]

Multiple awards and nominations for Best Actress in a Musical


Three awards
Two awards


Seven nominations
Six nominations
Five nominations
Four nominations
Three nominations
Two nominations

Multiple awards and nominations for a character


2 awards


5 nominations
3 nominations
2 nominations

See also


  1. ^ Johnson, The Rt Hon Boris, MP (2020-03-23). Prime Minister's statement on coronavirus (COVID-19): 23 March 2020 [transcript] (Speech). Prime Minister's Televised Speech to the United Kingdom. London, UK. Archived from the original on 2020-06-09. Retrieved 2022-04-25. From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction — you must stay at home.((cite speech)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ McPhee, Ryan (2021-06-14). "U.K. Postpones Reopening Roadmap; West End Theatres Will No Longer Reopen in Full in June". Playbill. Archived from the original on 2021-06-14. Retrieved 2022-04-25. Step 4 of the roadmap will allow productions to play without capacity restrictions. June 21 was the goal; now, the government is eyeing July 19.
  3. ^ Thomas, Sophie (2022-03-08). "Everything you need to know about the Olivier Awards". Archived from the original on 2022-04-11. Retrieved 2022-04-25. Any new production that opened between 19 Feb. 2020 to 22 Feb. 2022 are eligible for categories in the 2022 Olivier Awards. With two years worth of shows set for honours in one year's ceremony, the 2022 Olivier Awards will prove tougher competition than before.