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[[quoteright:300:[[Theatre/PeterPan1954 http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cathy_rigby_peter_pan.jpg]]]]

->''"Remember when you were a kid, and you saw the legendary TV musical version of ''Theatre/{{Peter Pan|1954}}'', and Peter was striding around the stage declaring, 'I WON'T grow up!'? Remember what you thought, in your innocent, naïve, trusting childlike way? You thought: 'THAT'S not a little boy. That's obviously middle-aged actress Mary Martin making a fool of herself.'"''
-->-- ''Creator/DaveBarry Turns 40''

This is a role that, for whatever reason, is played by an actor of the opposite gender. Some common reasons for this involve a gender imbalance in the supply of actors:
# Theater troupes may be all male, usually because the MoralGuardians have decreed that women should not go on TheWickedStage; such troupes will use this trope by necessity.
# Community and school theater companies frequently have more women than men. Many plays (especially older ones) have more male than female roles. Cross-casting is one possible solution, though GenderFlip or ActingForTwo may also be used. Similarly, sketch comedy groups are frequently all male, so female roles are often handed to men; it helps that many cultures find men dressed as women inherently funny.
# Certain university drama groups only use male actors, a tradition that began as a necessity in the days when women could not be students. This tradition is rapidly declining.
# If the role is to be a sufficiently young child, the actor's gender matters much less. In particular, infants are frequently used in film and television without regard to gender. (The parents are responsible for having to explain to their son why he was on national television wearing a pink dress and bows in his hair as a baby).

Other common reasons are varied:
# In any kind of production with a lot of difficult singing, the roles of young boys are frequently played by women. Good boy sopranos can be tough to find, especially if you also need them to be able to act; they also have a very specific vocal timbre which may not be compatible with the production's overall aesthetic (e.g., in {{Opera}}). Not to mention if they are close enough to adolescence a boy's voice may change completely by surprise, overnight. Compare the high proportion of young boy characters in animation played by adult women.
# Early opera also has a number of roles written for castrati-- men who underwent castration ([[GroinAttack usually involuntarily]]) to prevent their voices from changing. Since this isn't done anymore, modern productions of such roles fall under this trope by necessity.
# The director is making a political statement, ''e.g.'' about gender.
# {{Transgender}} and other gender variant characters are commonly played by actors who have the right body shape rather than the right gender, as there often isn't a more suitable actor available.
# The role calls for a young-looking/undersized person, but due to DawsonCasting the body size might not be right. The inverse is sometimes true.
# Very frequent when animals are used in films, especially if the species show little sexual dimorphism.
# In the Victorian/Edwardian era, when decent women were not supposed to show their legs in public, {{Fanservice}} was one reason why actresses so often found themselves costumed as boys.
# As a joke, often involving [[TheCameo cameo appearances]] by well-known actors or actresses playing roles of the opposite gender.
# The pantomime traditions of the Main Boy (the main male character being played by a woman) or the Pantomime Dame (a peripheral female character being played by a usually LargeHam male) are coming into play.

In Western theatre and opera, a male character intended to be played by a female performer is commonly referred to as a "pants," "breeches," or "trouser" role.

Love scenes involving these characters are a notorious source of HoYay.

Compare CrossDressingVoices, which is the voice acting equivalent. In a common CastingGag, you can often expect crosscast roles to cause RecursiveCrossdressing. Contrast with GenderFlip, in which a character is reimagined or rewritten to be the opposite gender, but the actor plays a character of their own gender.


!!!In fiction

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''Manga/BokuraNoHentai'', the DistantFinale shows that Tamura's first acting role as an adult is in a play where he plays a female character. He was always in his element [[{{Crossdresser}} dressed in female clothes]] as a teenager.
* ''Manga/CardcaptorSakura'':
** The main character's class held a production of "Sleeping Beauty". Because the roles were hidden by a cover and required each member of the class to write their name in the blank slots, when the teacher removed the cover they discovered that - basically - Sakura had cast herself as the Prince, Syaoran as the Princess, and Takashi as the Queen - making for a slightly awkward production, especially for Sakura's brother Touya (who of course noticed this well enough). In a halfway example, Tomoyo was cast as the narrator, which is traditionally given to a male actor (but not strictly).
** In the anime, this also happens to Touya's class production of "Cinderella" in which he plays the title character and a girl in his class (who has a crush on him) plays the prince.
* In the anime adaptation of ''Manga/DNAngel'' the school play is done with entirely male actors and an all-female production team. The excuse the ladies give for this decision is to respect Shakespeare and his all-male acting troupe; the ''real'' reason is that they [[YaoiFangirl want to see]] the male lead and his AmbiguouslyGay [[TheRival rival]], cast as the female and male leads respectively, share romantic scenes together.
* In ''Manga/DaaDaaDaa'', the infant Ruu is cast as a baby princess in the main group's play. Keeping his gender concealed is no issue. Keeping his ''psychic powers'' concealed, on the other hand...
* In ''Manga/KOn'', the main characters' class puts on a production of ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'' for their school festival. As it's an all-girls school, the male parts are played by girls.
* Several of the productions from ''Anime/KaleidoStar'' feature females in male roles. Ana especially tends to play male characters.
* In ''Manga/MonthlyGirlsNozakiKun'', Kashima often cross-casts as the PrinceCharming in school plays, in a clear reference in {{Takarazuka}}'s ''otakoyaku'' roles.
* One episode of ''Anime/MichikoToHatchin'' has the duo meet a man who is famous for playing female roles. His son permanently crossdresses, in hopes of becoming a good actor like his dad.
* In ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'', Akane has been stuck playing Romeo in {{school play}}s because she was the only one athletic enough for the role. Finally, she gets a chance to play Juliet, but there's still a problem casting her love interest....
* In ''Manga/WanderingSon'', the school holds a play where all the girls play the male parts and the guys play the female parts.

* In a ''Series/{{Glee}}'' fanfic named "[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6975337/1/Defying-Gravity Defying Gravity]]", Kurt plays Elphaba in a community theater production of ''Theatre/{{Wicked}}''.

* ''Film/AlexanderAndTheTerribleHorribleNoGoodVeryBadDay'': Emily portrays Franchise/PeterPan for a school play.
* In ''Film/EscapeFromNewYork'', male inmates perform in drag in a stage musical in Manhattan prison.
* In ''Film/FarewellMyConcubine'', the actor who plays the concubine in the titular ShowWithinAShow is a [[CampGay very effeminate gay man]].
* ''Film/FloatingWeeds'': Sumiko, the lead actress in a kabuki theater troupe, plays a male bandit during the show. The troupe has several male actors, so apparently they just feel like she's best at it.
* In ''Film/MadchenInUniform'' when the girls do a play at their all-girls school.
* In ''Film/OutrageousFortune'', Shelley Long's ambition was to play Theatre/{{Hamlet}}. (Sarah Bernhardt was the first, or at least most famous early, example of a woman playing Hamlet actually happening.)
* In ''Film/WildChild'', Freddie tells Poppy that he was [[Literature/AlicesAdventuresInWonderland Alice]] in the school play. "All boys, before you look at me weirdly!"

* Jack Aubrey of Patrick O'Brian's ''Literature/AubreyMaturin'' series proudly mentions having played Ophelia--or, at least, one-third of Ophelia--as a midshipman. It was a shipboard production so they naturally didn't have any women; of the midshipmen, one was considered pretty enough to be Ophelia, another had an appropriately-pitched speaking voice, and Jack could carry a tune.
* ''Literature/ABrothersPrice'' has an all-female opera ensemble performing a play about the civil war, including a sad monologue by a man involved in said war. He is played by a woman. Not the usual lack of men in unpaid theatre - men simply have GenderRarityValue.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** Lieutenant Blouse in ''Discworld/MonstrousRegiment'' mentions he "got a huge round of applause as the Widow Trembler in ''[[TheJoyOfX 'Tis Pity She's A Tree]]''", at his all-boys school.
** Similarly, Lady Sibyl mentions in ''Discworld/TheFifthElephant'' that she won much acclaim playing the romantic lead in a dwarfish opera at her school. This is somewhat of a double example, as a) it was an all girls school, and b) dwarfs are remarkably ambiguous about their biological sex. On the other hand, it might not be this trope at all, considering that it is not known what the sexes of the dwarves involved were. Their gender, on the other hand, was "dwarf", as they're a one-gender race by tradition.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'' has a convoluted example when George Michael tries out for ''Theatre/MuchAdoAboutNothing'' to get closer to Maeby; she ends up playing Beatrice, and he ends up understudy to STEVE HOLT's Benedick. Then Tobias ends up directing the play, and when Maeby quits, Tobias suggests that he will play Beatrice. By the end of the episode, Maeby and STEVE HOLT are still playing Benedick and Beatrice, only each one is playing the other gender.
* In ''Series/FullHouse'', Rebecca played Romeo in a school play at an all-girls school.
* In one flashback on ''Series/{{Highlander}}'', it's shown that in 1663, Duncan played Kate a production of ''Theatre/TheTamingOfTheShrew''.
* ''Series/GilmoreGirls'': Paris plays Romeo to Rory's Juliet for a class project after the boy who was supposed to be playing Romeo gets expelled at the last minute. Dean is... [[GirlOnGirlIsHot intrigued]].
-->'''Dean:''' So, did you and Paris actually kiss, or was it, like, a stage thing?\\
'''Rory:''' A lady never kisses and tells.
* ''Series/HomeAndAway'' took it all the way, with Annie playing Romeo and then-boyfriend Romeo as Juliet. The director was trying to make a statement of some sort.
* ''Series/HomeImprovement'' played with this in that it wasn't the joke itself, but rather just an excuse for Jill and Wilson (who both had experience playing Juliet) to fight over who would help Randy practice the "Romeo" role. Jill also mentions having played Othello, to which Randy quips that she was probably [[SarcasmMode a very convincing black man]].
* Sophie of ''Series/{{Leverage}}'' plays Willie Loman in ''Death of a Salesman''; she's so GiftedlyBad that Nate doesn't realize that she's playing him as a man, leading to a particularly cringeworthy ComplimentBackfire.
* ''Series/MarriedWithChildren'': Griff once played Dorothy at a school play version of ''Film/TheWizardOfOz''.
* ''Series/SesameStreet'' examples:
** Bert once had to fill the role of a princess in the production of a story called "The Magic Apple". [[HoYay And the groom was Ernie]]. Bert is extremely reluctant to play this part in the sketch.
** Bert is again dragooned into playing a woman in ''Film/AMuppetFamilyChristmas'', when the ''Sesame'' gang performs an enactment of ''Literature/TwasTheNightBeforeChristmas''. Bert plays "Mamma in her kerchief" while Ernie is "I in my cap".
* Played with on the ''Series/ThirtyRock'' episode "Secret Santa":
-->'''Liz Lemon:''' Yeah, I did plays in high school too. I was John Proctor in ''Theatre/TheCrucible.''\\
'''Nancy:''' You went to an all-girls school?\\
'''Lemon:''' No.
* ''Series/ParksAndRecreation'': Jerry played [[Franchise/PeterPan Tinkerbell]] at his all-boys school.

* In ''Theatre/TheCatAndTheFiddle'', [[CommediaDellArte Pierrot]] in the ShowWithinAShow is played as a trouser role by Odette.
* ''Theatre/MButterfly'' has this as a plot point: a foreigner visiting the all-male Chinese opera mistakes performer Song for a woman, which he [[FemmeFataleSpy uses to his advantage]]. The playbills of most productions try to hide the fact that the character is played by a male actor, so {{the reveal}} is shocking.
* In ''Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'', Christine gets relegated to the role of the Page Boy rather than the lead as the Phantom insists.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/JadeEmpire'' female roles in plays are played by men, or at least "[[RecursiveCrossdressing women who have the courtesy of pretending to be men pretending to be women]]," as in old China. In one side quest the player character is roped into filling in for an actor playing "Lady Fourteen Flowers".
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfHeroesTrailsInTheSky'' has an extended sequence wherein the leads are made to act in a school play. The play's director, for her own amusement, has decreed that all roles in the play will be this, leaving Estelle as the dashing red swordsman while [[{{Bishounen}} Joshua]] is forced to play the damsel princess.
* One of the Pokestar film in ''VideoGame/PokemonBlack2AndWhite2'' has a Pokemon example. The [[spoiler:Ledian]] which fights you with humans from Timegate Travelers saga is referred as female in script, but her sprite is that of a male.

* In ''Webcomic/BadMachinery'', Lottie gets the part of Blake in her (mixed) school's production of ''Theatre/GlengarryGlenRoss''.
* In ''Webcomic/CucumberQuest'', Sir Bacon gets cast in the part of Witch-Queen Xylophonia... And he's [[http://cucumber.gigidigi.com/cq/page-427/ pretty good]] [[http://cucumber.gigidigi.com/cq/page-429/ at it]], getting a [[http://cucumber.gigidigi.com/cq/page-446/ standing ovation]] at the end of the play.
* The main cast of ''Webcomic/FauxPas'' are mostly animal actors. Randy, a male fox, has been cast as a vixen at least twice, once as "Miss April" in a wildlife calendar, and another time in a car ad that involved a lot of makeup and tacky jewelry. Though, his girlfriend Cindy filled in for him at one of the car ads, and she kind of acted as his "stunt double" in a schlocky low-budget sci-fi flick.
* One class assignment in ''Webcomic/{{Precocious}}'' involved the kids spending some time as each other, drawn randomly. Naturally, some kids end up taking the role of opposite-gender kids. Three of the girls often wear dresses or skirts--Autumn, Tiffany, and Yvette. Jacob drew Autumn to study, while Roddy ended up as Tiffany. NO mention is made by anyone about them being in girl's clothing. (Yvette's role was taken by Kaitlyn. The other girls who were played by boys--Dionne and Ursula--usually wear pants.) Tiffany herself looks just odd in Bud's vest and shirt, though.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'''s last episode before the GrandFinale, the Gaang go and see a play based on the entire series up to that point. In a reference to Peter Pan, they find Aang (the lightly-built, hyperactive twelve-year-old) is played by a petite woman. While Aang (and the rest of the group) is disappointed with the entire portrayal of him, the casting choice is what confuses him the most. On the other hand, Toph (a little blind girl, but BoisterousBruiser and ArrogantKungFuGuy nonetheless) absolutely ''loves'' the fact that her part was played by a giant, muscular man.
* In ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'', Terry takes Bruce to a musical production about Batman. Robin is clearly being played by a woman ([[MythologyGag and wearing the original bare-legged Dick Grayson costume from the comics]]).
* In the "U.S. Acres" sections of ''WesternAnimation/GarfieldAndFriends'', Wade's usually a victim of this in the fairy tale-themed episodes. This may be because, there's no one else around to fit the role of TheIngenue and the only main female character, Lanolin, is more suited for characters like Disney/{{Mulan}}. Wade's most known example of this trope is in "Snow Wade and the 77 Dwarves".
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'', Peggy mentions that she played Danny Zuko in the high school production of ''Theatre/{{Grease}}''.
* In the WesternAnimation/MickeyMouse [[WesternAnimation/ClassicDisneyShorts short]] "Mickey's Mellerdrammer", which is about Mickey and the gang performing in a play based on ''Literature/UncleTomsCabin'', Mickey himself not only plays the title role of Uncle Tom, but he also plays Topsy.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' episode where the protagonists put on a pageant for [[YouMeanXmas Hearth's Warming Eve]], all the historical figures are portrayed by the (all-female) main cast. At least one role, Commander Hurricane, is heavily implied to have actually been a stallion, not a mare. And any of the others could have been, even Prince/ss Platinum. This being a very old pageant and one that's performed all over at this time, there were probably male ponies somewhere playing all of the historically female roles as well.
** The book ''Literature/TheJournalOfTheTwoSisters'' confirms that Commander Hurricane is indeed the only stallion of the founders.
** ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirlsForgottenFriendship'' also confirms that Clover the Clever is male.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''
** In one episode, Marge is auditioning in a musical based on ''Theatre/AStreetcarNamedDesire'' for the role of Blanche [=DuBois=], and at the auditions learns that Ned Flanders is there as well. Flanders reveals that he's actually been in a play of ''Streetcar'' before, and the role he played was Blanche [=DuBois=], adding "One of the benefits of going to an all-male acting school."
** In another episode, Martin Prince gets the role of UsefulNotes/LizzieBorden for a school play.
* ''WesternAnimation/VeggieTales'': ''Lyle the Kindly Viking'' has Mr. Lunt as Ophelia when the veggies put on "Omlette".
-->'''Mr. Lunt:''' ''[offstage]'' No! I don't want to [go out in a dress]! It's ''embarrassing!''\\
'''Archibald:''' ''[offstage]'' No, it's tradition! In Shakespeare's time all the roles were played by men!\\
''[shoves Mr. Lunt--clad in a pink dress and medieval headdress--onstage]''\\
'''Mr. Lunt:''' (...I still think we're going to get [[MoralGuardians letters]] about this.) It is I, the fair Ophelia.\\
'''Jimmy Gourd:''' ''[completely thrown]'' Wha ... what news, f-fair Ophelia? I b-beseech thee ... milady ...

!!!In real life

* In 2018, American female country singer Reba [=McIntryre=] was cast as Colonel Sanders, the mascot for Kentucky Friend Chicken, who is portrayed as a SouthernGentleman.
* The infamous Japanese live-action commercial for ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast'' (the one with the rapping) had Link played by a 16-year-old schoolgirl. Due to Link's [[{{bishonen}} soft features and slight build]], this is actually less jarring than you'd think.
* The Taco Bell chihuahua was actually played by a female dog.

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The LiveActionAdaptation of ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' [[WTHCastingAgency infamously]] cast a ten-year-old girl as Negi. This was the least of its problems.

* Many early kung fu movies featured women playing male characters. For example, Creator/ChengPeiPei made her debut playing a male in the 1963 film ''The Lotus Lamp''.
* In the Swedish comedy film ''Film/TheAdventuresOfPicasso'', Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas are played by the British comedians Creator/BernardCribbins and Creator/WilfridBrambell, respectively.
* In ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartII'', Creator/MichaelJFox plays [[ActingForTwo most of]] [[UncannyFamilyResemblance the members of Marty's future family]], including his daughter.
* Stephen Chow's ''Film/CJ7'' features a girl in the role of ''his son''.
* ''Film/CloudAtlas'', in which most of the cast play multiple roles, has several examples. For instance, Creator/HugoWeaving plays a fat, haughty nurse who looks like [[http://cinema.perm.ru/images/base/CINEMA_PERM_RU_KADRY_OBLACHNYI_ATLAS_23048.jpg this]].
* Jaye Davidson plays the [[spoiler:transgender]] woman Dil in ''Film/TheCryingGame'', and convincingly passes as female both in- and out-of universe.
* In ''Film/DarkCity'', Mr. Sleep is a child with the male honorific "Mr.", however he is played in closeups by a girl, and in the long shots by her fraternal twin brother. Of course, the ''character'' doesn't have to be male - the strangers may not have paid any attention to gender.
* ''Film/BladeRunner2049'' uses this in a complicated, spoilerific way to ''invert'' this and play it straight at the same time for a double-whammy of plot-twists. Officer K, in his childhood FakeMemories, is played by a boy in flashbacks - [[spoiler: but although the events he's remembering are actually real, they're not ''his'' memories. They're the childhood memories of the woman Ana Stelline, played by Carla Juri.]]
* In 1913 short ''Film/TheEvidenceOfTheFilm'', the role of the messenger boy is played by an 11-year-old girl, probably to make the character look even younger, possibly because the girl in question (Marie Eline) was a famous child star of the day.
* Mr. Jacobi's son Ismael in ''Film/FannyAndAlexander'' is played by a woman. There's no obvious reason for this, but since Ismael is a mentally disturbed character who appears to bring about someone's death just by thinking about it, it may be for general creepiness.
* In ''Film/TheGamersDorknessRising'', Gary's actor plays [[DeepImmersionGaming his character, the sorceress Luster]] as well, though there is also a female Luster who swaps in for the [[CrossPlayer "oh yeah, my character is supposed to be a woman, isn't she"]] moments.
* In ''Film/TheGoldenChild'', Jasmine (credited as J.L.) Reate plays the title character.
* All versions of ''Film/{{Hairspray}}'' feature a man as Edna Turnblad (the drag queen Divine in the original 1988 film, and Creator/JohnTravolta in the 2007 film of the musical).
* In the ''Film/HarryPotter'' films, Hedwig was always played by a male owl. This is due to the fact that Creator/JKRowling [[ArtisticLicenseBiology didn't realize that only male snowy owls are pure white]]. That is to say [[AWizardDidIt non-magical snowy owls]].
* In ''The Hole'' [[note]]The 2009 Creator/JoeDante film, [[SimilarlyNamedWorks not]] [[Film/TheHole the 2001 British film]][[/note]], Annie Smith is portrayed by male actor Quinn Lord. Annie is the ghost of a little girl and has a deliberately UncannyValley appearance, so cross-casting the role may have been a way to add something else slightly "off" about her face and movements.
* ''Film/ImNotThere'' is about six different versions of Music/BobDylan. One of them is played by Creator/CateBlanchett.
* In ''Film/JackAndJill'', Creator/AdamSandler plays both the main character and the character's sister, leading to bizarre DressedInDrag jokes despite Jill's character being biologically female.
* [[spoiler:The castrated boy Eli]] in ''Film/LetTheRightOneIn'' is played by Creator/LinaLeandersson. The audition for the role was open both to girls and boys.
* ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' required large numbers of competent equestrians as extras to play the Rohirrim and other mounted soldiers. The riding clubs of New Zealand and Australia were able to provide sufficient numbers of horses and riders... but a large number of these riders are women. Thus, many "men of the West" are actually women wearing fake beards.
* In Creator/EddieMurphy's ''Film/TheNuttyProfessor'', Murphy plays [[UncannyFamilyResemblance most of his family]], including the main character's mother and grandmother.
* Eddie Murphy did it again when he played Rasputia in ''Film/{{Norbit}}''.
* In ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'', Jack the Monkey was played by a female monkey named Crystal.
* In live-action footage of the witch from ''Film/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarves'' the witch is played by Don Brodie and Moroni Olsen. This was done to give her a more aggresive masculine feel.
* Alistair Sim as Miss Millicent Fritton in the original ''Film/StTrinians'' series. Rupert Everett as Miss Camilla Fritton in the remake.
* In ''Film/StarWars'', the male alien Greedo was played by several actors, one of whom is the female Maria De Aragon.
* The toddler son of the protagonist in ''Film/TheTollOfTheSea'' was played by a girl.
* In the CultClassic film ''Film/TroubleInMind'', (male) baby Spike was played by (female) Caitlin Ferguson.
* In ''Film/TheYearOfLivingDangerously'', actress Linda Hunt plays a male photographer named Billy Kwan. This was a "body type" example; the character is a dwarf, which limited the pool of available candidates to the point that the director decided to go for the best actor regardless of sex or ethnicity. She won an Oscar for it.
* Posthumous example in ''Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly'', with the bones of Arch Stanton being those of a Spanish actress who wanted her skeleton to be used for movies, so she could continue acting after her death.
* In the Soviet musical adaptation of ''Literature/MaryPoppins'' Miss Andrew is played by a man (Oleg Tabakov).
* ''Film/NothingButTrouble'': Creator/JohnCandy plays both Dennis Valkenheiser and his sister Eldona Valkenheiser.
* ''Film/{{Hook}}'': "Gutless", the bearded pirate who was put in "the boo box", was actually played by renowned actress, Creator/GlennClose.
* The lead from ''Film/CatsAndDogs'' is a male puppy played by multiple dogs, both female and male. This isn't uncommon for animal characters, however not much effort was made to disguise this. The puppy noticeably changes sexes between scenes.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Series/{{Lassie}} was usually played by a male dog, as the males of "her" breed have a longer, more luxurious "summer coat" than the females.
* The aliens in the first ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Original Series}}'' pilot were played by women, but had male voices. This has been repeated in a few of the spin-offs as well.
* ''Series/LivAndMaddie'' featured a broad arc centered on Liv starring in a film adaption of the comic book series ''Space Werewolves''. The protagonist is male, but the producers saw one particular episode of her former show and loved it so much they changed the role into a female just for her.
* ''Series/ThirtyRock'' also used this with Creator/MargaretCho's recurring role as [[UsefulNotes/TheRulersOfNorthKorea Kim Jong-il]] in Seasons 5 and 6.
* Happens all the time in ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'', because the troupe is all male, but also played for comedy. They do have access to real actresses, such as Carol Cleveland, when they need to have an actual woman (though one sketch had Cleveland playing a male explorer).
* ''Series/TheKidsInTheHall'', another all-male troupe, does this also. However, it should be noted that they do not play the crossdressing for comedy. They state that they try to play the women as real as possible and let the humor come from the writing.
* And ''Series/TheLeagueOfGentlemen'' also does this, for the same reasons as ''Series/TheKidsInTheHall'', although men-playing-women was never part of the joke. (Except with Barbara, of course.)
* ''Series/ABitOfFryAndLaurie'' engaged in this on occasion; the "man playing a woman" was occasionally part of the joke, but only to the extent that Creator/HughLaurie and Creator/StephenFry make for absolutely ''ridiculous'' women.
* The Canadian sketch comedy series ''Codco'', although a mixed-gender troupe, saw all of its actors sometimes play cross-gender roles. The show's most famous bit involved Canadian television journalist Barbara Frum, as played by Greg Malone in drag. One recurring sketch, "The Byrd Family", actually featured all five actors simultaneously playing across gender. This was continued to a lesser extent on the spinoff ''ThisHourHas22Minutes'', with Cathy Jones appearing as Joe Crow, Mary Walsh appearing as Dakey Dunn, and both playing two of the Quinlan Quints. (Rick Mercer and Greg Thomey did not cross-dress, although later cast addition Gavin Crawford did celebrity impersonations including Canadian journalist and commentator Chantal Hébert.) As with ''The Kids in the Hall'', however, the crossdressing was never the joke in and of itself.
* ''Series/WhoseLineIsItAnyway'' has the disadvantage of not even being able to rely on costumes. [[ButtMonkey Colin]] usually gets stuck playing the woman.
* ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' and ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' series often have male stunt actors portraying the female heroes while in costume, even without taking into account the times when ShesAManInJapan. Motokuni Nakagawa has even earned the nickname of "Mr. Pink" for being in the costume for [[Series/GekisouSentaiCarranger Pink Racer]], [[Series/SeijuuSentaiGingaman Ginga Pink]], [[Series/RescueSentaiGoGoFive Go Pink]], [[Series/MiraiSentaiTimeranger Time Pink]], and [[Series/GoGoSentaiBoukenger Bouken Pink]]. Easily the longest-running of these is Yūichi Hachisuka, who's played three male rangers as well as females from [[Series/DengekiSentaiChangeman Change Phoenix]] to [[Series/TokumeiSentaiGobusters Yellow Buster]]!
* Many a woman in ''Series/LittleBritain'' is portrayed by the two male lead actors. Since most of them are supposed to be rather... unique in appearance it's not much of a stretch.
* In ''{{Series/Sh15uya}}'', protagonist Tsuyoshi is played by actress Saya Yuki.
* A recent Taiwanese game show modelled after ''Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader'' gets slightly derailed when one of the schoolboys goes into an extended rant about being cast as ''Cinderella'' for a school play. [[ThrowItIn It made it into broadcast.]]
* ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'', of course, is a comedy troupe with both men and women. There have been both male cast members playing female characters (such as Creator/DanaCarvey's "Church Lady" character) and female cast members playing male characters (such as Rachel Dratch playing Literature/HarryPotter and Creator/AmyPoehler playing Kim Jong Il).
* Like other sketch shows, ''Series/AllThat'' featured a handful of these, most prominently Katrina Johnson as Presidential candidate H. Ross Perot.
* The AmbiguouslyGay title character of the ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' short ''Film/MrBNatural'' was clearly played by a woman, leading Tom and Crow to debate the character's actual gender.
* ButchLesbian "Walter" from German series ''Hinter Gittern - der Frauenknast'' (Behind bars - the women's prison) has a twin brother Andreas, played by the same actress, who's apparently indistinguishable from her without his beard. Which they used in one episode to change roles, allowing her to escape and him to get closer to several female prisoners.
* The classic Israeli children television show ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083427/ At Fistuk’s]]'' featured a puppet named Rega‘ that [[BecomeARealBoy turned into a boy]]... played by an [[DawsonCasting adult]] woman. It’s as jarring as it sounds, even for preschoolers.
* ''Series/FrenchAndSaunders'' has a genderflipped example of the all-male comedy troupes; they do have two male comics on hand if required, but obviously the title duo has to play the main characters, even if they're doing a parody of ''Film/ThePhantomMenace''.
* ''Series/{{Friends}}'' had Chandler's father (who is either a transvestite or is transgender; the show was never clear) played by Kathleen Turner (voice of [[Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit Jessica Rabbit]]).
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' occasionally has female or male aliens and robots played by actors of the opposite gender, but are often in full-body suits making it easier to get away with. Examples include Daz Parker as the Wooden Cyberman in ''The Time of The Doctor'' or Paul Kasey and Alan Ruscoe as the Susannah Constantine and Trinny Woodall androids in ''Bad Wolf''.
* Averted in ''Series/OrangeIsTheNewBlack'': male-to-female {{transgender}} inmate Sophia is played by Laverne Cox, who is transgender in real life. (In flashbacks taking place before her transition, Sophia is played by Cox's twin brother.)
* Israeli satire show ''Eretz Nehederet'' had Tal Friedmann, a man, play women regularly, to the point that Orna Banay, one of the two actresses on that show left in frustration over him getting all the good roles for women. Ironically, Banay rose to fame partially by playing a man and briefly playing one on ''Eretz Nehederet'' herself.
* Another Israeli satire show, ''Nikuy Rosh'', did this on occasion, featuring both men playing women and women playing men.
* In the ''Series/EnemyAtTheDoor'' episode "The Jerrybag", baby Erich is played by a female infant.
* ''Series/{{Baskets}}'' has Christine Baskets, mother of the titular character played by Louie Anderson.
* In ''Series/{{Monkey}},'' the 1978 TV series adaptation of ''Literature/JourneyToTheWest,'' the role of Tripitaka was played by Masako Natsume, although [[BaldWomen shaving her head to fit the role of a young monk]] helped her look the part a bit more, as Tripiaka/Sanzo was often portrayed as a beautiful young man. This made her the only female actress in the main cast, although whenever Buddha appeared he adopted an explicitly female form (commented on by Monkey) played by Mieko Takamine.

* An almost OmnipresentTrope in many branches of FolkMusic is to not alter the lyrics of traditional songs [[TheCoverChangesTheGender to fit the sex of the person singing them]]. This often leads to female vocalists singing from a male perspective and vice versa. Some non-traditional folk songs have kept with this tradition, such as "North Country Blues" by Music/BobDylan.
* Positive K [[TalkingToHimself voiced both]] the HopelessSuitor and (thanks to pitch-shifting software) the target of his misguided affections in "I Got A Man".
* Grace of Music/GraceAndTony sings from the perspective of male serial killer William Hare in "Invitation to an Autopsy".
* In the video for Music/VanCanto's [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aeaz4s7q0Ag "Badaboom"]], female singer Inga Scharf plays the role of Music/OzzyOsbourne in two brief scenes.
* Music/GeorgeFredericHandel's {{oratorio}} ''Solomon'' has the part of King Solomon written as a ''female'' voice, specifically an alto part originally written for one of Handel's favourite mezzo-sopranos, Caterina Galli. In theory a male counter-tenor might be able to sing it, but it's really a woman's role.

[[folder: Opera & Theatrical Productions]]
* Ancient Greek plays were performed entirely by men. Indeed, whether women were allowed to even watch plays is a matter of debate.
* All traditional kabuki theatre, due to a 1629 ban on female actors. This effectively created an entire industry of GenderBender "actresses" (see Wiki/TheOtherWiki on ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oyama_(Japanese_theatre) onnagatta]]''). Note that when Kabuki first appeared in the early 1600s it was female only, and had females playing male roles. Either way, it's an example.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noh Noh theater]] used male actors in all roles from the beginning. A few females have begun to act in Noh in recent years, but even today it's most common to find an all-male cast.
* Creator/WilliamShakespeare wrote all of his plays for all-male companies; thus all of his female roles are intended to follow this trope. Most modern productions ignore this entirely. This is presumably [[RecursiveCrossdressing why]] there are so many plays in which a female character has to [[SweetPollyOliver pass as male to get something done or to make a particular point.]] Some modern companies, for example the Los Angeles Women's Shakespeare Company, perform with entirely female casts to balance the scales of karma. Edward Hall's Propeller company, however, still goes the all-male route.
* Subverted by Shakespeare's contemporary Ben Jonson's play ''Epicoene''. The title character is played by a boy, but presented as a woman for the whole play- until the characters [[UnsettlingGenderReveal learn otherwise]]. That is, Epicoene in the world of the play really is a boy, but only the protagonist knows this until the end. Awkwardness ensues.
* ''Theatre/GreaterTuna'' has usually two males play all the roles.
* Some, but not all, modern productions of ''Theatre/{{The Importance of Being Earnest}}'' cast a man as Lady Bracknell.
* Numerous ballet productions in 19th-century Europe had the male roles be played by crossdressing women, for two reasons: firstly, due to changing ideas about gender, ballet was viewed as being too feminine for men to participate in, leading to a shortage of male dancers, and secondly, the male audience-members of the time ''really'' dug the GirlOnGirlIsHot. Contrariwise, Mother Ginger in ''Theatre/TheNutcracker'' and Widow Simone in ''Theatre/LaFilleMalGardee'' are traditionally danced by men.
* Cherubino in Mozart's ''Theatre/TheMarriageOfFigaro''.
** And a great deal of other pages and young boys: Tebaldo in ''Theatre/DonCarlo'', Oscar in ''Un ballo in maschera'', Smeton in Donizetti's ''Anna Bolena'', Siebel in ''Theatre/{{Faust}}'', Stefano in ''Romeo et Juliette'', Urbain in Meyerbeer's ''Les Huguenots'', etc.
* Octavian of Richard Strauss' ''Theatre/DerRosenkavalier'' is a young man, who at one point disguises himself as a woman; his part is played by female singers.
* ''Theatre/PeterPan1904'': The title role is traditionally played by a woman onstage. Curiously enough, J. M. Barrie himself wanted the role of Captain Hook to be played by the same actor as ''Mrs.'' Darling, rather than Mr. Darling.
* ''Theatre/PeterPan1954'': The title role is traditionally played by a woman onstage. The only male actor to have played Peter Pan on Broadway is Jack Noseworthy, who understudied the role as part of ''Jerome Robbins' Broadway''.
* In ''Theatre/{{Hairspray}}'', Edna is always played by a man, the part having been originated by the 300-pound drag queen Divine. TheMusical helps enforce this by writing Edna's song parts in the [[LarynxDissonance baritone range]].
* In stage versions of ''Theatre/{{Chicago}}'', the character of [[spoiler:Mary Sunshine]] is usually played by a man in drag, whose gender is revealed as a plot surprise. The movie cast a woman in the part, probably because there was no way to keep the twist from being obvious. (This was also not the case in the original non-musical play.)
* In ''Theatre/AvenueQ'', Gary Coleman is usually played by a woman because it is difficult to find a small enough man with a high enough voice. Also, puppet characters may sometimes be performed by a human of the opposite gender as the person who performs a puppet isn't necessarily the one providing the voice, as each puppeteer voices at least two puppets. The trope also comes into effect (sort of) with puppets who are performed by more than one person. For example, Nicky is, most of the time, performed by a male (who provides the voice, controls the head and left hand) and a female (who controls the right hand).
* In ''Theatre/AmericanIdiot'', one of the people that temporarily played St. Jimmy while Billie Joe Armstrong was away was Melissa Etheridge, whose performance was noted for being seductive and highlighting the androgynous nature of the character. Casting a woman as this role, which had previously been played by two men, also made sense, given the fact that [[spoiler:St. Jimmy is actually an illusion of Johnny's psyche, and therefore doesn't technically have an actual gender.]]
* The Japanese musical theatre troupe {{Takarazuka}} is an all-female troupe, and inevitably they play a lot of [[{{Bifauxnen}} male]] [[{{Fanservice}} characters]]. It's usual particular cast members who get the male roles, and they tend to get a large fan following usually ''mostly'' consisting of straight women.
* In {{pantomime}} any middle-aged or older woman (the "pantomime dame") will be played by a man in drag. In addition the young male hero (the "principal boy") is traditionally played by a woman although it's not that uncommon for them to be played by a male instead.
* Caryl Churchill's play ''Theatre/CloudNine'' has lots of cross-gender (and cross-ethnic) casting in the first act, to emphasize the disconnect between the character's feelings and their outer show. And some in Act II for RuleOfFunny.
** Having Cathy (a small girl) played by a grown man in the second act also serves as a metaphor for colonialism, which is a major theme of the show: Cathy is immature and out of control, and because she is actually a full-grown man, her misbehaviour is more of a threat than her identity suggests. It's funny, but it's not quite RuleOfFunny.
** There's also Betty, a [[HystericalWoman high-strung]], [[GoodAdulteryBadAdultery cuckolded]], [[EvilMatriarch lady of the house]], who's deliberately played like an over-the-top man in drag a la Creator/MontyPython to show the absurdity of [[UsefulNotes/VictorianBritain Victorian gender roles]]. In the second act she's played straight by a woman and pretty much realized she'd been forced to play a caricature most of her life.
* In some Chinese traditional opera troupes, there are no actresses, so all of the female roles are played by men. (''Film/FarewellMyConcubine'' is the story of such a cross-dressing actor.)
* Kim's son Tam in ''Theatre/MissSaigon'' has been played by both boys and girls, as the primary requirements for the role are 1) look Asian, 2) be short enough to pass for two years old, and 3) do what the director tells you to.
* The Theatre/SeraMyu has many male characters played by women (Prince Demand, Blue Saphir, Hawk's Eye, Fisheye, Jedite, Kunzite). The fact that ''Manga/SailorMoon'' Creator/NaokoTakeuchi was a fan of Takarazuka Revue (and used it for inspiration for Sailors Uranus and Neptune) and many actress came from or went to the Revue probably helped as well.
** The 2013 Sera Myu revival La Reconquista is now an all-female cast, with a former Takarazuka Revue actress playing Tuxedo Mask, the male lead.
* Creator/CirqueDuSoleil examples:
** In ''Theatre/{{KA}}'', the twin protagonists are [[HalfIdenticalTwins opposite-sex fraternal twins]], but identical female twins are cast in the roles.
** ''The Beatles LOVE'' casts a man as Her Majesty to give her a caricatured appearance.
* Creator/TeamStarkid loves this trope, but it's never used for any serious reason.
** [[Literature/HarryPotter Draco Malfoy]] [[PlayedForLaughs in]] ''Theatre/AVeryPotterMusical'', played by Lauren Lopez.
** [[spoiler:Dolores Umbridge]] in the sequel, is played by Creator/JoeWalker. [[spoiler: Dean]] is another crosscast role, played by the person who played [[spoiler: Bellatrix]] in the first musical.
** Crabbe in both musicals--which gets lampshaded.
--> '''Goyle:''' We hate nerds!
--> '''Crabbe:''' And girls!
** ''Theatre/HolyMusicalBatman'' has Lauren Lopez playing one of these roles again, this time as Commissioner Gordon and minor villains Calendar Man and Evil King Arthur. Meredith Stepien also plays the Riddler. Numerous roles are also crosscast in the last scene when [[spoiler: the whole Justice League]] joins in with the last musical number.
* The Witch in ''Theatre/HanselAndGretel'' (the Humperdinck opera) is often played by a tenor in drag, mainly for the laughs. It was originally a mezzo-soprano role. Hansel is a typical trouser role.
* It is very common for the title character in ''Theatre/TheNutcracker'' to be played by a woman (a notable example being the 1989 Bolshoi recording, in which the role was danced by Marisa Okothnikova). Because, ya know, the [[IncrediblyLamePun nut]][[GroinAttack cracker]] jokes weren't easy enough already.
* In the televised Creator/CBeebies 2010 panto, the old woman Twanky is played by a male and the young boy Aladdin by a female. Both fairly traditional, but it does mean that [[ParentalBonus the grownups get to watch]] the LesYay between Aladdin and Jasmine.
* In many productions of ''Literature/AChristmasCarol'', Tiny Tim is cast as a trouser role. The Spirit of Christmas Past was originally depicted as AmbiguousGender, but is often portrayed as or at least played by a woman. Occasionally, even Christmas Present gets cross-cast or gender-flipped.
* In ''Theatre/DieFledermaus'', the part of Prince Orlofsky is almost always played by a woman.
* In ''Theatre/TwilightLosAngeles'', all of the roles are played by Anna Deveare Smith.
* Romeo in Bellini's ''[[Theatre/RomeoandJuliet I Capuleti e i Montecchi]].''
* Isolier in ''Le Comte Ory''. Isolier is the Count's romantic rival, and is played by a mezzo.
* 90% of Music/GioachinoRossini's heroic leads are trouser roles for contralto or mezzo-soprano: Tancredi in ''Tancredi'', Falliero in ''Bianca e Falliero'', Malcolm in ''La donna del lago'', Arsace in ''Semiramide''. Even his Othello was at one point sung by Maria Malibran.
* Some Russian composers were fond of this as well: Vanya and Ratmir in Glinka's ''A Life for the Tsar'' and ''Ruslan and Lyudmila''; the shepherd Lel in Rimsky-Korsakov's ''The Snow Maiden'', the minstrel Nezhata in ''Sadko'', the Page in ''The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh''.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlotte_Saunders_Cushman Charlotte Cushman]] became known for playing Romeo, with the role of Juliet in at least one production being played by her sister.
* Traditionally, Mrs. Luce in ''Theatre/LittleShopOfHorrors'' is played by the actor who played Orin, who also plays many other minor roles.
* The Duchess in the Royal Ballet's 2011 ''Theatre/AlicesAdventuresInWonderland'' is played by a man.
* The role of Edwin Drood in the musical ''Theatre/{{Drood}}''. Announced by the Chairman as being played by the "famous male impersonator, Miss Alice Nutting."
* Several recent productions of ''Theatre/KingLear'' have had the Fool played by an actress, sometimes using a puppet.
* Cross-casting is a contractual obligation in ''Theatre/TheMysteryOfIrmaVep''. There are four male characters, four female characters, and two actors who each portray two female characters and two male characters. The licensing contract requires two male actors or two female actors.
* Intiman Theatre's 2012 SettingUpdate of ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'' had three of the male roles played by women, notably Sampson (Tsige "Ziggy" Tafesse), the Prince (Hannah V. Franklin), and the apothecary merchant (also Tsige Tafesse).
* In ''L'Aiglon'', by Edmond Rostand, the titular role (UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte's 20-year-old son) was created in 1900 by Sarah Bernhardt. Doubles as DawsonCasting since she was in her mid-fifties.
* The 1998 Encores! production of ''Theatre/LilAbner'' had Marryin' Sam played by actress Lea [=DeLaria=].
* The part of the bearded GrandeDame Baba the Turk in ''The Rake's Progress'' was once played by John Ferrante.
* The Cat in the Hat in ''Theatre/{{Seussical}}'' has often been played by female performers, going back as far as Andrea Martin (of ''Series/{{SCTV}}'' fame) in the Toronto workshop; Rosie O'Donnell and Cathy Rigby both stepped into the role during the unsuccessful Broadway run.
* Some productions of ''Theatre/TheSleepingBeauty'' will have Carabosse danced by a male performer, including the 1982 Kirov production. Another production had the role danced by none other than Frederick Ashton.
* Miss Trunchbull in ''Theatre/{{Matilda}}'' is traditionally played by a male, and thus has a [[EvilSoundsDeep baritone-range voice]].
* In ''Theatre/BarrelRollsAndBrokenDreams'', Fox is played by a female, thus making the subplot where Slippy does not know that he is a male more amusing.
* In ''Hornsmoke: A Horse Opera'' by Peter Schickele, Cornetta Bone, the only female role, is expected to be performed by a male cornet player, which explains the low range of the performer's brief (and out-of-character) vocal part.
* VisualKei band Disacode frontwoman Akira played Uesugi Kenshin in the stageshow adaptation of ''VideoGame/SengokuBasara''.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Voice and motion-capture for ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 4}}'''s version of perennial companion male dog Dogmeat was provided by River, a ''female'' German Shepard.
* ''VideoGame/{{Roundabout}}'' uses this as part of its surreal comedy and low-budget feel of the cutscenes. Protagonist Georgio is played by a woman, but the game treats him as male in-universe.

[[folder:Web Video]]
* Creator/MaxLandis' ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=VYvMOf3hsGA Wrestling Isn't Wrestling]]'' retells the first 20 years of Wrestling/{{Triple H}}'s Wrestling/{{WWE}} career with a predominantly-female cast, headed by Chloe Dykstra as Triple H. Male wrestlers like Triple H, Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker are played by women, and the only featured female wrestler, Chyna, is played by a man (Sam Witwer). All other parts are played by their sex.
* ''WebVideo/StarWarsUncut'': Sometimes Luke, Han, Vader, and others are female, and sometimes Leia is a guy.
* ''WebVideo/LouderWithCrowder'': Usually Not Gay Jared will be the one cast in a female role, but Crowder himself also portrayed Ana Kasparian in Radio/TheYoungTurks parody.