There’s an old saying in theatre, “there are no small parts, only small actors”. But that’s not exactly true, is it? First of all, the expression itself was only made up to bullshit theatre divas into thinking their shitty parts were actually worth a damn. There are indeed small parts, small insignificant parts that no self-respecting actor would be caught dead playing. But there are also small actors. Not “small” as in petty or shallow (all actors are petty and shallow), but small as in little. The following are the five best parts for little person actors.
By Matt G of Matt and Kyle and Matt
1. A Munchkin from “The Wizard of Oz”.
On the set of the classic film, dozens of little people were cast to create the town of Munchkinland. At the time, a little person could go their whole lives without seeing another little person. So it came as no surprise that, when on set, upon meeting their diminutive cohorts, the little people erupted into a giant sex party. This legendary sexual controversy follows the Wizard of Oz to this day whenever the play is performed on stage. If a little person is lucky enough to be cast as one of the Lollipop Guild or the Lullaby League, there is an ever-present sexual tension among all the Munchkins just waiting to go off.
2. Butlers and Maids.
Somehow, it seemed charming and eccentric when Willy Wonka employed the vertically challenged to do his bidding, but imagine if it were the British upper crust enslaving the little people. What a scathing social commentary if a Production of Oscar Wilde’s “An Ideal Husband” cast only little people in the roles of the servants. Now that’s a play I’d want to see.
3. Gavroche in “Les Miserables”
Little people don’t often like being cast as children, but this is an exception. The pint-sized revolutionary is shot and killed on the Battlefield of the French Revolution but not before belting out a schmaltzy tune that leaves audiences breathless. There are only two recorded instances where little people were cast as the lovable teen, both to critical acclaim.
4. Puck in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
Not enough directors cast a little person in the role of Robin Goodfellow, the shrewd and knavish elf, which would lend the production a healthy dose of whimsy. If the director is set on having a tall person in the role of Puck, then why not cast everyone else as little people?
In fact, the closest anyone had come to casting a little person in the famous role was the Warner Brothers 1938 version of the play, where a young Mickey Rooney was cast (Mickey is 5’1”, just a hair taller than official little person status) and that film won the Oscar for Best Picture. Imagine what it might have won had the actor been just a few inches shorter. Which Brings me to number 5…
5. Mickey Rooney.
Although there is nothing in development, it’s only a matter of time before the celebrated actor’s life is turned into a rousing Broadway play. Casting a little person in the role would emphasize the many height-related challenges the actor faced throughout his career: having to play leprechauns, pygmies and circus performers over and over, even into his late sixties. The play would also chronicle his many tumultuous relationships, depicting his eight wives and their marital difficulties (his wives were all at least 4 inches taller than him).
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