They’ve decided to do something about it, unanimously agreeing to change the role of Mowgli to a girl for this production, which kicks off October 29 and runs through November 6.
“We feel it is imperative to give our girls the opportunity to see themselves portrayed onstage in a classic adventure story normally reserved for boys,” MTC Artistic Director Jasson Minadakis says of the move. “We doubly believe it is important for young boys to see girls in powerful hero roles this year as our national conversation is rife with bullying, sexism and gender discussion.”
MTC officials say that Banks was so moved by the artistic decision that he is going to work with his publisher to get the updated version of the script published as an alternative version for other children’s theaters.
Along with the production’s diverse cast, the gender change is about “actively promoting diversity and inclusion for our youngest theatre goers,” Minadakis says.
In addition to the inclusion of some girl power, the adaptation will feature structures that will be familiar to kids, particularly the use of “a half-geometric climbing dome (like the jungle gym in our very own Freeman Park) as a structure for our jungle characters to climb up/on/over/through,” says Minadakis. Here it is being constructed:
In addition, given the production’s opening around Halloween, MTC is hosting a Halloween costume contest, with children encouraged to dress up as their favorite jungle creature, with parents taking a photo of them at the theater and post to their own social media pages—either Facebook, Twitter or Instagram—using the hashtag #costumecontestMTC. After the production closes, MTC will identify which costume received the most “Likes,” and the winner will be announced and will receive 4 free tickets to come back and see The Snow Queen in December.