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Who are/were the West End's greatest divas?

Swing | Joined: 1/20/20

Broadway seems to have had a steady stream of greats since forever: Ethel Merman, Angela Lansbury (who is one of our own, but has done far more work across the pond!), Chita Rivera, Patti Lupone, Bernadette Peters, Donna Murphy, Audra McDonald...

The West End has... Elaine Paige I suppose. Imelda Staunton. Ruthie Henshall. Kerry Ellis too? Btw this is not at all a knock on their abilities - I truly think they're all terrific. But they are not afforded the adulation of their Broadway counterparts,  and they are not "stars" - in that sense of having an identifiable persona, a something different that simply dazzles. 

Do the British just do celebrity differently? Do we just care less for musical theatre? Have I made a glaring omission? 

Updated On: 1/20/20 at 11:23 AM
Mark_E Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend | Joined: 1/26/06

Whenever I think Broadway "Divas", I think Patti and Bernadette.

I'd say for the West End we have quite a few "West End Staples" who have appeared in many a show and had successful careers, and not necessarily "Divas". Some names I'd add to your list Joanna Riding, Clare Moore, Jenna Russell, Sharon D. Clarke, Tracie Bennett, Emma Williams, Maria Friedman.

I also long for Hannah Waddingham to return to a big musical role. She has such a voice and was brilliant in Spamalot and Kiss Me, Kate.


nealb1 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend | Joined: 8/1/05

The word diva, has such a negative connotation.  Aloof, bad behavior, dismissive, etc.   It's never good when discussing top notch talent of Broadway or the West End to use that word in that regards.

For the West End, it doesn't get any better than Elaine Paige.  Kim Criswell is also a favorite of mine.  A huge talent!