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The 6 Fiercest Moms on Broadway

Most moms are Queen for a Day on Mother's Day, but what if yours was royalty 24/7?

Mother's Day is a time for honoring all moms, no matter who they are, but that doesn't mean it's not also a great time for a little healthy my-mom's-cooler-than-your-mom competition. That's why this Mother's Day, we're singling out the fiercest moms of the 2014-15 Broadway season — from the ones whose power comes from knowing just how to twist the knife to the kind who rule an entire empire.

Queen Elizabeth II — The Audience

Dame Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience.
(© Joan Marcus)

Nothing says "fierce" like being the actual Queen of England, which is why Queen Elizabeth II, the central character in Broadway's The Audience, is first on our list of mighty moms. As played by Dame Helen Mirren, Her Majesty is portrayed as intelligent and imperturbable while advising a host of prime ministers on matters of state over the course of seven decades — all while raising a quartet of princes and princesses.

Anna Leonowens — The King and I

Kelli O'Hara and Ken Watanabe as Anna Leonowens and King Mongkut in The King and I.
(© Paul Kolnik)

If being royalty requires a particularly strong backbone, standing up to royalty calls for a spine made of steel — especially when it's the 1800s and you're a woman butting heads with the king of Siam. In The King and I Kelli O'Hara plays young widowed mother Anna Leonowens (based on an actual person) who not only forced the monarch to keep his promises but also stood up to him (literally) about matters of human equality.

Judy Steinberg and Georgette Howard — It Shoulda Been You

Tyne Daly (second from left) and Harriet Harris (second from right) as Judy Steinberg and Georgette Howard and the cast of It Shoulda Been You.
(© Joan Marcus)

There's nothing like a wedding to wake a sleeping mama bear. Particularly when that mama bear is played by either Tyne Daly, who already won a Tony for playing the fiercest "Momma" (Rose) in Broadway history, or Harriet Harris (also a Tony winner), who slid effortlessly into the role of Cinderella's evil stepmother just a few seasons ago. They are the dueling mothers of the bride and groom in It Shoulda Been You and their award-worthy passive aggression, on display at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, has earned them both a spot on our list.

Mrs. du Maurier — Finding Neverland

Carolee Carmello as Mrs. du Maurier in Finding Neverland.
(© Evgenia Eliseeva)

Call her overbearing, but Mrs. du Maurier is the fiercest mother hen in Kensington Gardens. She won't let just any emotionally stunted playwright weasel his way into her daughter's heart. It takes one that sings like Matthew Morrison and dedicates a world-famous play to her four grandsons. Even then, it takes plenty of arm-twisting to get Mr. J.M. Barrie through the front door of the Llewelyn Davies household.

Kathryn of Aragon — Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two

Lucy Briers as Kathryn of Aragon in Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two.
(© Johan Persson)

We end our list of fierce mothers with another Queen of England. Although Kathryn of Aragon, the first wife of notorious serial monogamist Henry VIII, enjoyed a much shorter reign than her modern-day counterpart, she's hard to beat when it comes to maternal commitment. When Henry had their marriage annulled and banished Kathryn, along with her daughter, Mary, she kept a laser focus on seating her daughter on the throne. Unfortunately for Mary, sometimes motherly zeal can get a little out of hand.