Comscore

re: If Peter Pan is a guy, why do women play him?

Thenardier Profile Photo
Thenardier
Broadway Legend
joined:3/23/05
And will Mary Martin be in the upcoming tour?

My grandpa said she was great!
Marquise Profile Photo
Marquise
Broadway Legend
joined:6/1/04
because he's really a drag queen.
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theatreboi11
Broadway Star
joined:5/9/05
Hunny sorry to break it to you but Mary Martin is dead....
(Martha Graham from a letter to Agnes de Mille) "There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening That is translated through you into action, And because there is only one of you in all time, This expression is unique. If you block it, It will never exist through any other medium And be lost. The world will never have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, Nor how valuable it is, Nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, To keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware Directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, A blessed unrest that keeps us marching And makes us more alive than others."
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Michael Bennett
Broadway Legend
joined:3/16/05
I'm not sure if this is an honest question given the Mary Martin reference... but an honest answer is that in England in 1904, most boys roles were played by women, a tradition that started initially because of the strict British child labor laws.

At the time of the first production of PAN, there had been several stage hits, such as LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY which all featured female stars playing young boys.

It's perhaps interesting to note that in the original production, Michael was also played by a woman as were most of the lost boys.
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hannahshule
Broadway Legend
joined:1/24/05
In england where it premiered in 1905-ish, the ingenue lead was most times played by a woman. When it came to America, Maude Adams played it, and except for the 2003 movie, it's been played by a woman ever since.
~And let us try, before we die, to make some sense of life~
stonewall2
Broadway Star
joined:9/12/04
It is awfully hard to "fly" a 200 pound man, but I don't see any reason why a younger guy-or boy- couldn't play the role........
"I'm mad, you're mad. we're all mad"... The Cheshire Cat
Plum
Broadway Legend
joined:3/4/04
Isn't Peter prepubescent? Easier to have a woman in the role than to hire a boy and worry about when his voice will change.
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Michael Bennett
Broadway Legend
joined:3/16/05
Well not "ever since"...the show had several productions in London with a male lead, but not until the 1980s. It would be interesting to see a boy do the play on Broadway, but not the musical. Those songs in the Mary Martin version would sound awfully queer sung by a guy.

And Peter probably is prepubescent but he's usually played by post menopausal women. Go figure.

Updated On: 6/18/05 at 04:00 PM
Thenardier Profile Photo
Thenardier
Broadway Legend
joined:3/23/05
Considering "Lovely Lady" (wasn't the name of the song) would be weird by a guy.
Marquise Profile Photo
Marquise
Broadway Legend
joined:6/1/04
he's a sissy-boy. that's why he's always played by a girl.
Thenardier Profile Photo
Thenardier
Broadway Legend
joined:3/23/05
Thenardier Profile Photo
Thenardier
Broadway Legend
joined:3/23/05
CapnHook Profile Photo
CapnHook
Broadway Legend
joined:5/12/03
My goodness! No one knows where to address the Peter Pan questions around here. Tsk tsk.

1) Mary Martin, God rest her soul, is no longer with us. She originated the role of "Peter Pan" in the Charlap/Leigh/Styne/Comden/Green musical on Broadway in 1954. In 1955 it aired on television and was VERY high in ratings. This was a LIVE telecast. There was such demand for it, they did another LIVE telecast in 1956. Still more demand. In 1960, where the show had been closed on Broadway for a while, Mary Martin reunited the cast and did another broadcast, this time in color.

2) The role has been played by women for several reasons:

a) Due to child labor laws, children seldom worked in major stage productions - at least not in large roles. And Peter Pan/Wendy/Michael/John are HUGE roles.

b) It would be quite uncomfortable for a male to fly - especially with those primitive harnesses. Still, males did fly. It just hurt more than with a female.

c) It became a tradition. Women have traditionally played "Peter Pan" for 100 years. There have been males in the roles, both in professional and regional productions.

d) A woman is more lightweight.

e) A woman looks more like a little boy than a fully grown man.

3) Maude Adams was the first AMERICAN Peter Pan. The first Peter Pan ever was Nina Bouicault in London on December 27, 1904. Maude Adams originated the role on Broadway on November 6, 1905.

4) Visit http://www.peterpanfan.com/new/home.php for more Peter Pan information.
"The Spectacle has, indeed, an emotional attraction of its own, but, of all the parts, it is the least artistic, and connected least with the art of poetry. For the power of Tragedy, we may be sure, is felt even apart from representation and actors. Besides, the production of spectacular effects depends more on the art of the stage machinist than on that of the poet."
--Aristotle
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joeybiltmore1
Leading Actor
joined:2/22/05
Also, there's something creepy about a male Peter Pan saying "Oh, I know lots of fairies. But most of them are dead now".
Thenardier Profile Photo
Thenardier
Broadway Legend
joined:3/23/05
"Oh, I know lots of fairies. But most of them are dead now"

Sounds like something Harvey Fierstein would say during the "Looking back" section of the Tony's.

Cap'n - I was joking. Look at the link all the way at the top.

November 6, 1905 - a day before my birthday!
Updated On: 6/18/05 at 04:09 PM
CapnHook Profile Photo
CapnHook
Broadway Legend
joined:5/12/03
The Charlap/Leigh/Styne/Comden/Green musical was written with Mary Martin in mind. The songs were for her. They knew her voice - therefore it wasn't written so that a man could sing them, but so that Mary Martin could sing them.

There are other Peter Pan musical adapations, one by Stiles & Drewe (Honk, Just So, Mary Poppins) and another by Piers Chater-Robinson.

The orignal play was entitled "Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up." A new adaptation of the play is entitled "Peter Pan: A Fantasy In Five Acts" by John Caird.

FYI: The novel PETER & WENDY was written SIX YEARS after the play. Most believe the novel came first.
"The Spectacle has, indeed, an emotional attraction of its own, but, of all the parts, it is the least artistic, and connected least with the art of poetry. For the power of Tragedy, we may be sure, is felt even apart from representation and actors. Besides, the production of spectacular effects depends more on the art of the stage machinist than on that of the poet."
--Aristotle
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CapnHook
Broadway Legend
joined:5/12/03
Thenardier - and deprive myself of sharing my wealth of Peter Pan knowledge? HAH!
"The Spectacle has, indeed, an emotional attraction of its own, but, of all the parts, it is the least artistic, and connected least with the art of poetry. For the power of Tragedy, we may be sure, is felt even apart from representation and actors. Besides, the production of spectacular effects depends more on the art of the stage machinist than on that of the poet."
--Aristotle
Thenardier Profile Photo
Thenardier
Broadway Legend
joined:3/23/05
I am sorry.

If I wanted to give you a heart attack, I'd say my friend was in the movie, Hook....but you probably only care about the musical.
CapnHook Profile Photo
CapnHook
Broadway Legend
joined:5/12/03
I care about ALL incarnations of the story.

Friend in the film? That's it? Hah!
"The Spectacle has, indeed, an emotional attraction of its own, but, of all the parts, it is the least artistic, and connected least with the art of poetry. For the power of Tragedy, we may be sure, is felt even apart from representation and actors. Besides, the production of spectacular effects depends more on the art of the stage machinist than on that of the poet."
--Aristotle
Thenardier Profile Photo
Thenardier
Broadway Legend
joined:3/23/05
Sorry - what, were YOU in the movie?
CapnHook Profile Photo
CapnHook
Broadway Legend
joined:5/12/03
I didn't ACT in it, no.
"The Spectacle has, indeed, an emotional attraction of its own, but, of all the parts, it is the least artistic, and connected least with the art of poetry. For the power of Tragedy, we may be sure, is felt even apart from representation and actors. Besides, the production of spectacular effects depends more on the art of the stage machinist than on that of the poet."
--Aristotle
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BroadwayGirlWicked
Broadway Star
joined:6/7/05
LOl and in the new movie the guy looks like a girl!its because we live in a society controlled my sexist people!
_CORRIE_--Most annoying member of 2005- AVATAR- Credit: copyright GregoryJbara.com-- DONT PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT NOT EVERYONE USES PUNCTUATION?
Tenorific2
Leading Actor
joined:2/16/05
Scott Leiendecker played "Peter" in a recent production that used the MM score. I also believe a recent production in England, with Craig Purnell as Captain Hook, and some guy whose name I can't remember as Peter. It can be done, but people don't seem to want to do it.

Wasn't MJ supposed to play him? God help us!!
Thenardier Profile Photo
Thenardier
Broadway Legend
joined:3/23/05
Wasn't MJ supposed to play him? God help us!!

That still isn't a guy playing Peter.

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