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Happy Mothers Day: A Celebration Of Mums In Musicals

Updated: Mar 30, 2022

It's Mothers Day in the UK so what better time to celebrate mums in musical theatre. They might not all be perfect, they might not even be good - but they are ever present and an important part of so many legendary shows. So here's 20 mums you can catch at the musicals plus 10 of the best mum songs:

Donna Sheridan - Mamma Mia

Who better to start with than the woman who puts the Mamma in Mamma Mia (though sadly her name isn't Mia) - the iconic Donna Sheridan. Having raised her daughter Sophie on her own, after not knowing which of her three former lovers is the father, she gave her a good life, often sacrificing her own happiness to emsure Sophie's. While not coming clean about Sophie's father, the love she has for her is clear to see, and when she sings 'Slipping Through My Fingers' about her, there isn't a dry eye in the house.

Fantine - Les Miserables

Though we never see her and her daughter Cosette together in the show, Fantine is a loving single parent who does for her child what she thinks is best, sending money so she can be raised in a way she thought was better than the life she could provide, and ultimately begging for her daughters life to be saved instead of her own. She might not survive for long in the show but her impact is felt throughout the show, ensuring the love and sacrifices she made for her daughter lives on through her new father.

Margaret New - Everybody's Talking About Jamie

Based on the real Jamie's mum, Margaret New is a powerhouse of a woman. Another single parent who raises Jamie with love and acceptance, supporting him in all of his endeavours, never questioning his life choices and never letting him know how absent and uncaring his father really is. While lying about it causes a rift between the mother and son, her heart was in the right place and their closing duet 'My Man, Your Boy' is a beautiful testimony to their relationship.

Eliza Schuyler - Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton's wife Eliza may have a difficult narrative after dealing with her husbands infedility but her love for her children is never in doubt. Though we only see her oldest son, Phillip, in the show, they bond over her teaching him to play the piano and speak French. Through her eyes we see a mothers worst nightmare as she grieves the loss of her son. Her pained scream at the moment speaks for every mothers deepest fears.

Jenna - Waitress

We don't see much of Jenna as a mother in Waitress. Most of the show is meant with her dealing with her pregnancy and battling her mixed feelings for her unborn child. She wants a better life for both her and her future daughter, and as soon as little Lulu is born, she falls instantly in love and gathers the strength to leave her abusive husband. The moment she meets her daughter and falls in love is one of the most touching moments in theatre, and the joyous finale showing their pure relationship makes me long for more of their story.

Sloane - Bat Out Of Hell

Not the most conventional relationship on this list but Sloane has her daughter Raven's best interest at heart more than her father Falco does. She at least shows a sense of trying to understand her daughter and they both bond over the less than ideal situation they find themselves in. Sloane is supportive of Raven's relationship with Strat and is a much needed voice of reason over a lot of noise.

Edna Turnblad - Hairspray

Who doesn't love a bit of Edna? With a huge personality and an unwavering love for her daughter, Edna and Tracey have one of the most joyous and flawless relationships in musical theatre though it takes a while for Edna to get there when Tracy sings 'Mama, I'm A Big Girl Now'. Throughout the show, we see them help each other help and overcome their own demons in a truly beautiful mother and daughter bond.

Momma Rose - Gypsy

Another truly iconic mother in musicals, Momma Rose is the ultimate stage mother. Nothing will get in the way of her plans for her daughter June. While she may seem too much at times, you can't deny her heart is in the right place and her love for her daughter is never in question.

Heidi Hansen - Dear Evan Hansen

A relationship that does spark debate due to Heidi's feeling towards Evan's mental health issues and the medication he is on. Putting that to one side, Heidi has tried to do her best raising her son Evan since the divorce from his father. While she admits to making mistakes, she always had Evan's best interests at heart and ultimately just wants him to be happy within himself. When she sings 'So Big, So Small' she speaks for many mothers who have been in the same situation.

Effie - Dreamgirls

Perhaps not somebody you would think of when you think of mothers in musical theatre but Effie's story leads to the love of her daughter Magic and the need to keep her safe and happy. While not touched upon too much in the show, we know she keeps Magic secret from her father Curtis as to not keep that toxic mess in her life.

Trina - Falsettos

Motherhood isn't easy. Some musicals may gloss over some of the more challenging moments but Falsettos takes a realistic approach. Trina is mourning the end of her marriage after her husband left her for another man. Left with a son she sometimes thinks is an idiot, she juggles raising him along with keeping her own sanity. The highlight of her story is the no holds barred though often comedic 'I'm Breaking Down'.

Margaret Johnson - The Light In The Piazza

Maybe not as well known as most of the musicals mentioned here, Margaret is extremely protective of her daughter Clara, concerned as she falls in love with Fabrizio. Though their relationship can be fraught at time and the show features Margaret slapping her, she is only ever acting out of love, and the difficulty of accepting your little girl is growing up and letting go.

Kim - Miss Saigon

Surely one of the greatest mothers in musical theatre - Kim has to raise her son Tam alone after his father leaves Saigon. She constantly puts his needs before her own, as shown in the hauntingly beautiful 'I'd Give My Life For You' - a promise she goes through with, making the ultimate sacrifice to keep him safe in a tragic story that really speaks about the love a mother has for her child.

Golde - Fiddler On The Roof

The sharp-tongued wife of Tevye is the mother of five daughters. While attitudes towards tradition drives a wedge between them, the love she has for her children is never in question and the sorrow she feels when they are not close to her is clear to see.

The Witch - Into The Woods

Not the most conventional of mother-daughter stories, The Witch takes Rapunzel from the Baker and his wife and raises her as her own, only to keep her locked away in a tall tower only accessible by climbing her hair... which obviously she is not allowed to cut. If that isn't a healthy relationship, I don't know what is. Perhaps not the best mother in musicals but a mother nonetheless.

Sylvia - Finding Neverland

Still yet to find its way to the West End, this Broadway adaptation of Finding Neverland features Sylvia - a widower with four children who became the inspiration for Peter Pan. The show depicts her love for her children while she deals with grief and her own health problems.

Jenny - Billy Elliot

The only mother on this list who features in a very small role in the musical. As Billy Elliot begins, we learn that his mother is sadly no longer with us though her presence is always felt and a heavy influence in her sons life and choices. In one truly emotional moment, Billy reads a letter from her in a moment that will break even the hardest heart.

Mrs Greene - The Prom

Alyssas mum (sorry, "mom") is the head of the PTA and chiefly responsible for not allowing Emma to bring her girlfriend to the Prom, not knowing her daughter is said girlfriend. Mrs Greene puts a lot on pressure on Alyssa to be perfect and is instrumental on problems between her own relationship. Set in her ways, Mrs Greene eventually comes round and begins to accept her daughter. While not the greatest mother in musicals, at least we see a little bit of growth in her before the end.

Mrs Johnstone - Blood Brothers

Another tragic tale of loss, Mrs Johnstone is the mother to eight children and makes the difficult decision to give away one of her newly born twins so she can continue to raise the other seven. The decision leads to a complicated tale which ultimately ends in the tragic death of both of the twins and the heart-rendering classic 'Tell Me It's Not True'.

Miss Honey - Matilda

Mothers come in all different forms - sometimes the closest thing to a mother in your life isn't actually the woman who gave birth to you. In Matilda, her birth mother Mrs Wormword isn't even worth mentioning, but it falls to her teacher Miss Honey to show Matilda the love and compassion she clearly deserves and finally give her a decent mother figure in her life.

Mothers in musicals can be complicated - often flawed but nearly always loving. I could have gone on to different types of parents - special mention to children being raised by two mothers or even two fathers.

So who is your favourite mum in musical theatre? Any notable ones I've missed out from this list? Let me know at

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