Many of the most pleasurable life experiences involve ceremony. The theatre is no different. The chime of the bell announcing it's time to get seated to the dimming of the lights, and let's not forget the raising of the curtain. That moment of anticipation before being transported to another world.
From an iconic classic play at one of the grand old famous playhouses boasting majestic history and even more impressive architecture, to the tiny independent troop sharing their story by a playwright no one has ever heard of in a dark and development dingy basement; there's no denying the magic.
The wonderful thing about theatre is that it can be enjoyed by just about everyone. For some it represents escape, to others it becomes a part of their life, a passion they pursue (even if it is as a hobby at a local theatre group). No matter what the relationship is with theatre, there are so many wonderful plays, stories and characters to explore.
So many of these stories represent life-changing journeys worthy of exploring again and again. These characters truly break the fourth wall and can become an important part of a theatre-goers life and heart, so why not consider a name from behind the velvet curtain for a future little shining star?
Whether the inspiration is a musical or a drama, a hero or a notorious villain, there are many illuminating choices to explore. Let’s get out our programs and take a look at 25 Baby names inspired by theatre.
25 Adelaide, Guys And Dolls
Guys and Dolls is a musical Play Based on several short stories by Damon Runyon. It premiered on Broadway in 1950, was selected for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1951 and won the Tony Award for Best Musical. The stories the play was based on are about gangsters, gamblers, and other characters in the New York City underbelly of the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Don’t worry about naming a little girl after this show stopping character who wants to do better. Miss Adelaide is the lead principal showgirl for the Hot Box Girls who is dreaming of a “normal” life on the straight and narrow.
“In other words, just for waiting around for that plain little band of gold, a person can develop a cold.” Guy’s and Dolls
Adelaide is a French baby name meaning nobility. Adelaide is also the capital of South Australia.
24 Annie, Little Orphan Annie
Little orphan Annie is that lovable, spunky, orphan who speaks her mind, and has a set of lungs like no other. With her mop of red hair, and dog Sandy. This musical was based on the Comic Strip by Harold Grey entitled, Little Orphan Annie and opened on Broadway in 1977.
It ran for almost six years and set a record for the Alvin Theatre (which is now called the Neil Simon Theatre). It won a Tony award for Best Musical. Annie is a great name for a feisty, spirited girl, with a heart of gold.
“When I'm stuck a day, That's gray, And lonely, I just stick out my chin, And Grin,
And Say, The sun'll come out Tomorrow!” Annie
Annie is an English baby girl’s name which is often used as an independent name. Within Hebrew origins the name means prayer, where in Russian origin the name means favor and grace.
Notable people who share the name include: Annie Lennox, Annie Potts, and sharpshooter Annie Oakley.
23 Bastian, The NeverEnding Story
Consider this sweet short form boy's name, the sensitive and sad young Bastian. The NeverEnding Story is an amazing German fantasy novel by Michael Ende. It was published in 1979 and has since been adapted into a film, play, opera and ballet.
Lonely Bastian is coping with the death of his mother and ends up taking a special book into the attic of his school after being chased by some bullies. As he reads the story he discovers he’s a part of it and holds the key to saving Fantastica from “The Nothing”. This is a fantastic play for children to learn about their impact on a world, real and imaginary.
Bastian is a boy’s name and is a short form of the name Sebastian and means “person from ancient city of Sebaste”. Bastian has been a particularly popular name in Latin America and recently reached number 11 in Chile, Germany, and Scandinavia in terms of popularity.
22 Bianca, The Taming of the Shrew
It would be a crime to theatre to create this list without paying tribute to the creations of playwright William Shakespeare, even if we aren’t talking about Broadway, since Broadway wouldn’t exist without that wonderful writer named Will. The Taming of the Shrew is one of Shakespeare’s comedies about two sisters Katherina and Bianca.
When Lucentio arrives in Padua to study he falls in love at first site with Bianca, who is also being pursued by other suitors, but their father declares that no one can marry Bianca until her older sister the aggressive and unlikeable “shrew” is married.
While this play has been modernly criticized for genderism, it doesn’t change the beauty of the name of the character Bianca that drew in so many suitors, even back in Shakespearean times.
Bianca is an Italian name which means white. The name Bianca is also a feature character in Othello and the musical adaptation of Taming of the Shrew entitled Kiss Me Kate. Bianca is the loveable mouse in the children’s film The Rescuers.
21 Cecily, The Importance of Being Ernest
Looking for a name worthy of the Victorian era? Consider one from The Importance of Being Ernest, a farcical comedy written by Oscar Wilde. The play is about maintaining a false identity to avoid social obligations and the hilarity that ensues.
Known for its portrayal of the extravagance of Victorian London the sharp and wit filled dialogue allows the play to remain entertaining today. Although the play has been criticized as one of Wilde’s more trivial works, that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable, as Wilde managed to both represent and mock the upper class within his century.
Cecily is the naive young ward of serious “Uncle Jack” who is also Ernest, but only when he’s in the city.
“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” The Importance of Being Earnest.
Cecily is the Feminine version of the name Cecil, meaning blind. Cecil was once the name of a powerful Roman clan.
20 Christine, The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera is another case of a theatrical adaptation of a novel, most famously the 1986 musical depiction by Andrew Lloyd Webber. When Erik (The Phantom) becomes obsessed with Opera singer Christine he kidnaps and tries to force her to marry him.
Christine has a beautiful enchanting voice that intrigues both the theatre goers at the Opera House, and unfortunately for her, the disturbed and lonely Phantom. In 1986 The Phantom of the Opera won The Tony Award for Best Musical.
“You alone can make my song take flight. Help me make the music of the night.” Phantom of the Opera
Christine is a classic, simple and pretty baby girl name that is derived from Greek and Latin. The name Christine means Christian and is worthy of any muse.
Other notable people who share the name include: Christine Baranski, Chrissie Hynde, Christine Taylor, and Christine McVie.
19 Cosette, Les Miserables
Based on a novel by French poet and writer Victor Hugo, Les Miserables was turned into a musical in 1980. It premiered in Paris, and has been continuously running in London since October 1985 - that’s right over 30 years. Young Cosette is seen as the heroine and chance for redemption for ex-convict Jean Valjean (who acts as her father after a promise made to her dying mother).
This tale of redemption and revolution is both meaningful and catchy, with a fantastic catalogue of songs. It should be noted that in the book Cosette was a nickname given to the young girl by her mother, her real name was Euphrasie. Even though the play is quite popular, the given name remains rare, with only 138 girls receiving the name in 2015, although this was nearly double the number from 2014.
The name Cosette is of French origin and means little thing. It is the feminine version of the name Nicholas.
18 Dodger, Oliver Twist
Oliver Twist is truly a classic play. When a young orphan, Oliver Twist, attempts to run away from his fate when he’s sold into work as an undertaker, he flees to the streets of London. This is where he meets the impressively charming and convincing Artful Dodger (also known as Jack Dawkins).
Oliver then decides to joins a gang of juvenile delinquents, encouraged by his persuasive new friend. This play is based on the progressive novel by Charles Dickens and dives into important issues of the time, including class and child labor. The play premiered in The West End in 1960, and continues to have many successful revivals over 50 years later.
The name is also used by sports fans who want to pay tribute to the Brooklyn/LA Dodgers.
Dodger is a baby boy name meaning one who avoids, or sidesteps, but we think it’s a great fit for a progressive future leader!
17 Fiyero, Wicked
Fiyero is an unusual and original name worthy of the love interest of a complex and interesting character. Wicked is the untold story of the Witches of Oz, providing the other side of the story to Dorothy’s path down the yellow brick road. The musical is based on the book by Gregory Maguire and opened on Broadway in 2003.
The story is between two unlikely friends, Elphaba (aka the Wicked Witch) and Glinda (the Good Witch of the North) as they struggle growing up, particularly over their reactions to the Wizard’s corrupt government and when they share the same love interest, Fiyero (who she is involved with during her participation in the resistance against The Wizard of Oz).
In the musical adaptation Fiyero Tigelaar is saved by Elphaba after his murder by the Wizard’s secret police by casting a protection spell, which works, but accidentally changes him into the Scarecrow.
“Everyone deserves a chance to fly.” Wicked.
Fiyero is believed to be based on the Italian word Fiero, meaning proud.
16 Flynn, Chicago
For those who want to let their child away with murder, they may want to consider naming their kin after the lawyer from Chicago who cannot lose. Billy Flynn is a very good lawyer who has never lost a single case. Although most of the women Billy represents have committed murder, he manages to win, creating fictional stories about his clients defending themselves.
The original production of this highly successful play hit Broadway in 1975 and ran for two years. In 2002, a film adaptation was released with Richard Gere taking on the role of Billy Flynn. In 2016 the name Flynn ranked 625 on Baby Center’s popular boy names.
The name Flynn is Irish/Celtic in origin and means son of the red haired one.
Notable people who share the name include Errol Flynn, and Disney’s Tangled character Flynn Rider.
15 Frankie, Jersey Boys
In 2005 a “jukebox” musical was released to present a song filled documentary style story about the band The Four Seasons. The play was structured as four seasons, with four different narrators, each from the band. Frankie Valli was the lead vocalist for The Four Seasons.
The musical opened on Broadway in 2005 and has had two North American National Tours. Jersey Boys won four 2006 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
“They ask you ‘what was the high point?’ Hall of fame, selling all those records, pulling Sherry out of the hat, it was all great. But for four guys under a street lamp, when it was all still ahead of us, the first time we made that sound, our sound. When everything dropped away and all there was was the music. That was the best.” Jersey Boys
Frankie is a great name that can be used for both boys and girls. In Latin it means Free, in Germanic it means Javelin, whereas in English it means honest.
Notable people who share the name include: Frankie Muniz, Frankie Avalon, and baseball player Frankie Frisch.
14 Hope, Urinetown
Some names can provide what we want for the next generation, Hope is one of these inspirational names. This name comes from the 2001 satirical play that takes on capitalism, bureaucracy, politics, and even parodies musicals themselves. Hope represents the future and what might be within this play.
A new child can bring all sorts of happiness to a family which is nicely celebrated with this sweet, little girl’s name representing anything a parent could possibly want for their child.
“Gosh, Daddy, I never realized large, monopolizing corporations could be such a force for good in the world!" Hope, Urinetown
Hope is an English name primarily for baby girls. Hope represents one of the three Christian virtues: Hope, Charity, and Faith. Although Hope ranked 231 in terms of popularity in 2015, it has never outranked similar names Grace and Faith.
13 Ilse, Spring Awakening
Sometimes a movie has a huge impact, to the point where naming a child after a lead character makes sense. Other times parents may feel a little uncomfortable naming their child after a Disney princess. This is a fantastic and similar name for anyone who ever wanted to name their child Elsa, but felt the popularity of the movie would be a hurdle.
Ilse is a character in the German play Spring Awakening. This play was written in 1891 and is about teenagers experiencing inner and outer turmoil during the sexual awakening. In the 1990s version of the play modern alternative rock was used. Ilse is a symbolic character within the play, to some a hope or last chance, and to others a warning as to what happens if you speak out.
Ilse is a Hebrew baby girl name meaning oath of God. In Dutch it is a nickname for Elisabeth.
12 Jack, Newsies
Newsies is a musical based on the 1992 musical Disney film of the same name. The movie was originally a flop, but soon became a cult favorite when it was released on video. The plot is loosely based on the New York City Newsboys strike of 1899.
The Broadway adaptation premiered in 2012 and won two Tony Awards. Jack “Cowboy” Kelly is one of hundreds of struggling newsboys trying to support themselves and their families. Jack is a street smart character with a knack for selling papers.
Jack is the dynamic leader of the strike that lasted for two weeks and ultimately was a success in getting the local newsboys more money for their hard work.
The name Jack originates from Jackin, a medieval interpretation of the name John. John is of Hebrew origin and means God is gracious and there are variations to the name John in many cultures and languages. In the middle ages the name John was so common it became a slang word for man.
This name can easily be used for little girls and Jack can be a short form of Jacqui or Jackie.
11 Jet, West Side Story
West Side Story is a more modern musical inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The musical is about the rivalry between two gangs, The Jets and the Sharks in the Upper West Side of New York City (which at the time was a blue collar neighborhood). Things get tragic when Tony (a previous member of the Jets) falls in love with Maria (sister of the leader of the Sharks).
The original production hit Broadway in 1957, although is still a popular and relevant play today. The play was nominated for six Tony Awards including Best Musical, but the award went to The Music Man instead.
“From your first cigarette to your last dyin' day! When you're a Jet, let 'em do what they canYou've got brothers around, you're a family man! You're never alone, you're never disconnected, you're home with your own, When company's expected, you're well-protected! Then you are set with a capital J, Which you'll never forget till they cart you away, When you're a Jet you stay a Jet.”
The name Jet is primarily a baby boy’s name and often is connected with the aircraft or the color black.
10 Lucy, Dracula
I love Lucy, and so should you! Lucy Westenra is the girl that everyone is in love with, she has so many suitors. She’s kind, sweet, and so good looking that even Mina won’t stop talking about how stunning she is.
She is also vulnerable, naïve and people want to protect her, then when she’s chosen to become a vampire she completely changes becoming the polar opposite of the sweet girl everyone knew. A little girl named after this enchanting character is sure to be a box office hit.
Although the play is based on Bram Stoker’s novel, and is quite popular, especially in theatres around Halloween, it has never made it to Broadway and remains a regional theatre favorite.
Lucy is an English and French feminine version of the name Lucius and means born at dawn, daylight, shiny, and of light complexion.
Notable people who share the name include: Lucy Liu, and Lucy Maud Montgomery.
9 Magenta, The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Rocky Horror Show is a fun and fantastical musical cult hit that plays homage to science fiction and horror movies of the late 1940s through to when it was produced in 1973. Today the film adaptation, which was produced in 1975, has become a major event at various theatres where fans throw toast at the screen and dance in the aisles to all of their favorite tunes.
Now, we’re not suggesting naming a child Dr. Frankenfurter, or even Rocky, but what about one of the other favorite members of the cast? How about using the name Magenta, the maid, for a little bit of namespiration?
The name, after the bright shade of purplish red is a bold, vivid choice for a little girl. Magenta is a Crayola crayon color, as well as the name of the artist in the Harry Potter series who creates portraits where the eyes follow the viewers around the room.
8 Mimi, Rent
Rent is a rock musical play about a group of poor young artists living in New York City’s East Village under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. After winning a Pulitzer Prize for the Off-Broadway premiere, the play premiered on Broadway in 1996 and enjoyed a 12 year run. It achieved much celebration and won a Tony Award for Best Musical.
The play, and character Mimi is inspired by Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Boheme. In Rent Mimi Marquez is an erotic dancer, and character Roger Davis’s girlfriend. People may feel a little strange using an HIV positive junkie as namespiration for their child, but it’s a great name just the same.
The name Mimi is Hebrew in origin and in French is a shortening of the name Williamina. The name means wished for child, beloved or rebellion. Mimi is an eight in numerology with characteristics of leadership skills, high achieving, strong, and with sound judgement.
7 Nala, The Lion King
Nala is the female childhood friend of young Simba, who eventually becomes his wife. She is the most significant female character in the entire story of The Lion King. Most people don’t know this, but The Lion King is a loose tribute to the Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet.
The play is a musical adaptation of the 1994 Disney film and features music by Sir Elton John. It debuted on Broadway in 1997 and was an instant success. It is Broadway’s third longest running play and the highest earning production of all time, and has grossed over 1 billion US Dollars. In the play Nala is a much stronger female lead when compared with the film.
The beautiful name Nala has many origins and meanings. In Arabic Nahla means tall drink of water, whereas in African languages it means successful. In Sanskrit it means stem or hollow reed. It is also said to mean “beloved” in some languages.
6 Rosalinde, As You Like It
“From the east to western Inde, No jewel is like Rosalinde.” Shakespeare said it, so it must be true. This name is a sweet classic from the play As You Like It. It may not be Cats, but it’s certainly a play and a name worthy of remembering. Short-forms of this sweet name can be Rose, Rosa, Rosie, or even Linda.
The meaning of this name was derived from a Latin phrase rosa linda, which means beautiful Rose. It also means soft and tender, and horse. This is a rare name, and currently only 341 people in the United States have the name Rosalinde. 900 Rosalinde is a minor planet that orbits the sun.
Positive attributes associated with the name in numerology include: patient, studious, balanced, charitable, intuitive, imaginative, and charming.
5 Roxie, Chicago
The Chicago character Roxie Hart is young, beautiful, and has lofty aspirations of becoming a famous Jazz singer. Although she is married, she’ll do anything to become famous, including having an affair with Fred Casely with the hope it will help make her famous.
When she realizes Fred cannot bring her fame she takes matters into her own hands, no matter the cost. Roxie is a great name for a bright and shining star.
“The name on everybody’s lips is gonna be: Roxie. The lady raking in the chips is gonna be: Roxie. I'm gonna be a celebrity, That means somebody everyone knows, They're gonna recognise my eyes, my hair, my teeth, my boobs, my nose.” Chicago The MusicalRoxie is a female name that is diminutive of Roxanne. It is Persian in origin meaning Dawn.
4 Sky, Mamma Mia
Mamma Mia, here we go again! A fantastic name based on a popular play featuring all of Abba’s greatest hits. The Broadway version of the show just closed in September 2015 after a 14 year run. It was the eighth longest running Broadway show of all time when it closed.
Sky is the love interest and fiancé of the young bride to be Sophie, who uses her wedding as an opportunity to find out who her father really is after using her mother’s old diary as a guide. Over 60 million people around the world have seen the show since it premiered.
Sky is a fantastic name for both a baby boy or baby girl. The meaning of the name is, you guessed it, sky! Naming a child after the blue bright beyond is a breath of fresh air for any family.
3 Stanley, A Streetcar Named Desire
Stanley Kowalski is the lead in Tennessee Williams' play A Streetcar Named Desire. This drama opened on Broadway in 1947 and has critically been considered one of the best plays of the 20th Century. The story is about the disturbed Blanche DuBois who is tormented by her brother-in-law Stanley when she is forced to move in with her sister, all while on the edge of sanity.
Stanley has a terrible temper, and often fights with his wife. While not an admirable character to name a child after, this is truly a great play. The original cast starred greats Jessica Tandy and Marlon Brando as Stanley.
Stanley is an old English Surname meaning stone clearing. In numerology Stanley is a six with characteristics including: compassion, generosity, and charisma.
Other notable people who share the name include: Stanley Kubrick, and comic book legend Stan Lee.
2 Tommy, The Who’s Tommy
The Who’s Tommy is a rock musical by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff, and is based on the band The Who’s concept album Tommy. Tommy is the local pinball champion and has been non-communicative since a tragic event when he was four years old. This play follows the tragic and complicated life of young Tommy. The 1993 Broadway production won five Tony Awards. There are several plot differences between the concept album, the movie, and the play production of this piece.
Tommy is an Aramaic baby boy name meaning twin. It should be noted that although the name Tommy is a nickname for Thomas a great deal of parents opt to put the short-form on their children’s birth certificates. The name Tommy ranked 705 in terms of popularity in 2015.
Other notable people who share the name include: Tommy Lee Jones, Tommy Hilfiger, and Rocker Tommy Lee.
1 Tracy, Hairspray
Hairspray is an example of when a movie becomes a play. Based on the 1988 movie starring Ricki Lake, the play opened in 2002. The play is a commentary on social injustices within American society in the 1960s and features a plump teenager named Tracy Turnblad who dreams of dancing on The Corny Collins Show.
After she lands a role on the show, she becomes an overnight celebrity, and the play follows this journey. In 2003 it won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and was remade into a film once again in 2007.
“Who wants a twig when you can climb the whole tree?” Hairspray.
Tracy is a name that can be used for both baby boys and girls with many different origins, but all of them surrounding the same theme, bravery and fighters. In the French origin it means courageous.
Other notable people who share the name include: Tracy Morgan, Tracy Chapman, and Tracy Pollan.