Is 46 the New 26 for Ingenues?

Errico's imdb page.

Errico's imdb page.

In a recent New York Times article, actress Melissa Errico, a dazzlingly beautiful, smart and talented woman at 46 (and any age for that matter) gives a thoughtful look into what goes into being the ingenue of the stage, her experiences playing those innocent, wide-eyed roles (how do they fall in love so quickly?), and what it means to take it on it from the perspective of a mom in her 40s.  With it, she poses the ever-present question for aging women (that means, um, all women) in acting:

"The truth is that women in musical theater still tend to be segregated: romantic innocents or worldly dames. Where is the elusive middle? What roles are there for actually aging, still human women? Very few come to mind."

She might be right. It might be simpler to give people those clear cut roles (especially in musicals), as, gasp, audiences certainly couldn't handle the complexities of those non-dramatic middle years, could they?

Does anyone else's mind jump to Harold Hill's song deftly categorizing two types of women?  Well, I'll leave you with his words and preference below, and in the mean time, feel free to make your way to see 46-year-old ingenue, Melissa Errico, playing the role of Sharon in the revival of "Finian's Rainbow", beginning Oct 26 at the Irish Repertory Theatre.

Okay, take it away, Professor Harold Hill!

No wide-eyed, eager,
Wholesome innocent Sunday school teacher for me.
That kinda girl spins webs no spider ever--
Listen, boy--
A girl who trades on all that purity
Merely wants to trade my independence for her security.
The only affirmative she will file
Refers to marching down the aisle.
No golden, glorious, gleaming pristine goddess--
No sir!
For no Diana do I play faun.
I can tell you that right now.
I snarl, I hiss: How can ignorance be compared to bliss?
I spark, I fizz for the lady who knows what time it is.
I cheer, I rave for the virtue I'm too late to save
The sadder-but-wiser girl for me.
No bright-eyed, blushing, breathless baby-doll baby
No sir!
That kinda child ties knots no sailor ever knew.
I prefer to take a chance on a more adult romance.
No dewy young miss
Who keeps resisting all the time she keeps insisting!
No wide-eyed, wholesome innocent female.
No sir.
Why, she's the fisherman, I'm the fish you see?--PLOP!
I flinch, I shy, when the lass with the delicate air goes by
I smile, I grin, when the gal with a touch of sin walks in.
I hope, and I pray, for a Hester to win just one more "A"
The sadder-but-wiser girl's the girl for me.
The sadder-but-wiser girl for me.

The Music Man