While auditioning for the role of Benny “Kid” Paret, James Robinson asked, “Do you mind singing profanity on stage?” I answered “I can do it right now if you’d like.” Before singing in Champion I had never heard the term Maricon. I couldn’t believe its more insulting than the word faggot in Latin America. That one word acts as a sixth character in the opera. It was the 60s and being gay was unheard of, never mind being a gay champion Boxer! Benny forever sealed his fate with Emile Griffith by using deadly jabs of maricon at the weigh in. Both lives were forever changed and mine too.