The Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical is an annual award presented by The Society of London Theatre in recognition of achievements in commercial British theatre. The awards were established as the Society of West End Theatre Awards in 1976, and, renamed in 1984 in honour of English actor Lord Olivier.
The Olivier Awards are the most prestigious theatrical awards in the United Kingdom and are the UK equivalent of the Tony Awards. In both 1977 and 1978, the Oliviers presented an award for Best Performance in a Musical, this was won by a female performer on both occasions. The 1977 winner was Anna Sharkey for Maggie, while in 1978 it was won by Elaine Paige for Evita. The following year, they created the category for Best Actress in a Musical.