Our Favorite Broadway Nannies
Life is hard. We could all use help getting our medicine down, having no worries for the rest of our days, and learning the importance of wearing red when everyone else is wearing tan. Enter: the nanny (the babysitter, the pet-turned-caretaker, and the tutor are also interchangeable options). Not only do nannies help families — they help make Broadway better. Check out some of our personal fave singing and dancing nannies below.
Mary Poppins in “Mary Poppins“
When you’re making a list of musically inclined helpers in the home, Mary Poppins is a clear leader of the pack. We love her because she’s spontaneous, spirited, smart, silly, and — ok fine we’ll just say it — she’s supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Mary Poppins flew her way to Broadway (by way of her umbrella, of course) in 2006, where Ashley Brown was the original star and the musical was nominated for seven Tony Awards.
Maria in “The Sound of Music“
Here are a few of our favorite things: Maria in “The Sound of Music” and…well that’s about it. When you’re a kid, this nun-turned-nanny is everything you want in an adult. Maria lets the von Trapp kids be exactly what they want to be which (of course) makes everyone in the house happier. “The Sound of Music” is based on Maria von Trapp’s memoir — yes, she’s a real person! — and the music was written by legendary duo Rodgers and Hammerstein. It opened on Broadway in 1959 with Mary Martin as Maria. Other famous Maria’s of stage and screen include Julie Andrews (duh), Laura Benanti, and Carrie Underwood.
Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire in “Mrs. Doubtfire“
Spoiler alert: Mrs. Doubtfire is not actually a nanny, a babysitter, or an old lady. Nevertheless, Mrs. Doubtfire loves the three Hillard kids like family. (Maybe because she is!) We can’t wait to see Tony Award nominee Rob McClure (“Chaplin,” “Beetlejuice”) put on the grey wig, plug in the vacuum, and take this fam on a crazy ride. When the musical was in Seattle last year, it played to sold-out crowds so we have a feeling we’re in for a treat. Get tickets to “Mrs. Doubtfire” on Broadway.
Anna Leonowens in “The King and I“
Look at how excited all of those children are to be getting to know Anna Leonowens! Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I” is based on Leonowen’s memoir about the King of Siam and her experience running a nursery school. The musical originally opened in 1951 and the most recent Broadway revival starred seven-time Tony Award nominee Kelli O’Hara, who won her first Tony for playing the role.
Nana in “Peter Pan“
If you want to get really technical — Nana is the reason the Darlings and Peter Pan are friends at all. Why? Since she’s a dog, she’s taken less seriously than her fellow, human nursemaids, and she’s not able to stop Wendy, John, and Michael from flying away to Neverland. (We’re not blaming her, we’re thanking her!) “Peter Pan” opened on Broadway in 1954 and in that production and later ones onstage, Nana is played by a human in a costume. If you have a few seconds and want to giggle at some costumes Google “Nana, Peter Pan, musical.” You’re welcome.
Miss Hannigan in “Annie“
Listen — not everyone is good at their job. Some people are downright terrible and will never make any kids happy a day in their life. Enter Miss Hannigan in “Annie.” She’s definitively bad with children and that’s literally her entire job. But thanks to Grace, Daddy Warbucks, and Franklin D. Roosevelt (a random but lovely cameo), Miss Hannigan becomes nothing but a distant memory for Annie. Miss Hannigan made her Broadway debut in 1977 and Dorothy Loudon won the Tony Award for playing the “orphanage matron.”
Zazu in “The Lion King“
Technically Zazu is Mufasa’s majordomo (the chief steward of a large household) in “The Lion King.” Also, technically Zazu is a hornbill. But that doesn’t mean he’s not capable of taking care of the kids! What we love about Zazu is that not only does he do his best to keep his eyes on Simba, he’s also a voice of parenting reason for Mufasa. (Yes, we did just say that a hornbill is a “voice of parenting reason.”) When “The Lion King,” became a Broadway hit in 1994 (where it’s still onstage today), Zazu transformed from an animated bird into our fave pair of all time: actor and puppet. Get tickets to “The Lion King” on Broadway.
Fran Fine in ‘The Nanny“
Let’s be honest — it feels right that Fran Fine is going to become a Broadway star. Stylish, hilarious, and a voice you’ll never forget: “The Nanny” is built for Broadway. Earlier this year, Fran Drescher announced that she’s working on a musicalized version of the beloved series with Rachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”). We can’t wait to see the flashy girl from Flushing take center stage.