Is genderbending allowed?

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August 27, 2021
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I can see that the characters are listed with their gender, but I have concerns that a show my school wants to do does not have the right amount of actors of the right gender to fit the show. Can we genderbend the characters so as to fit the cast of the show, without interfering with the plot of the show?

3 answers

Staff Answer
October 12, 2021

Hi! I thought I had responded, but apparently not. My apologies! Like the other answer says here, people cast actors of different genders than their characters all the time. As long as the written materials are not changed for the show, it is totally fine. If you do have questions for making changes, please email your licensing representative with your proposed changes. No changes to the written words of the show can be made without the permission of the show's authors or rightsholders.

October 8, 2021

Yes! I have to do this every year. I work with elementary-aged kids so I always make sure the kids are ok with playing another gender. At auditions I let them read from a variety of roles, protaganist/antagonist//female lead/male lead, and this will give me an idea of what sort of role they're comfortable with. When we did Wizard of Oz I had this amazing boy audition for the Wicked Witch and he killed it (a la David Bowie in Labyrinth). When we did Peter Pan I had a girl audition for Captain Hook and she killed it, she said, "It was the most interesting character; I feel like he gets a bad rap" --and that's exactly why I cast her. It's super fun for the audience, too, who has most likely seen these shows before. ALSO, for younger kids, I don't change the pronouns as they're written--just because they have a hard time being consistent with changing the dialogue written in the script. So I just keep the pronouns as they are written and it works much better.

Staff Answer
September 8, 2021

Hi! You can have actors play characters of a different gender. Changing the characters themselves is a different matter and must be approved by the authors. Any proposed changes must be emailed to your MTI licensing representative.