Cross-gender Acting - Theatre, Operas, Plays, Ballets and Pantomime

Theatre, Operas, Plays, Ballets and Pantomime

A travesti is a theatrical term referring to the portrayal of a character in an opera, play, or ballet by a performer of the opposite sex. In 1904, Nina Boucicault originated the theatrical tradition of cross-gender casting for Peter Pan, continued thereafter by Maude Adams, Marilyn Miller, Eva Le Gallienne, Sandy Duncan, and Cathy Rigby, among others. In 1954 Mary Martin portrayed the title character in the musical Peter Pan.

More specifically, an operatic role in which an actress appears in male clothing is called a "breeches role", "pants role" or "trouser role" and roles once performed by a male soprano castrato are more recently sometimes performed by a female mezzo-soprano or contralto.

In pantomime, a principal boy role is the young male protagonist of the play, traditionally played by a young actress in boy's clothes. A pantomime dame is a portrayal of female characters by male actors in drag.

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