Casino Evil

By

The Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ 169th Show!

By CAROLINE CRONIN

Every spring Harvard’s campus is home to an interesting cast of characters dressed in outlandish outfits and garish makeup. They hum show tunes while they strut about and practice walking in high-heels. These characters, or rather, these Harvard undergraduates, are the staff and cast of The Hasty Pudding Theatricals. This spring brings the 169th show to stages in Cambridge, New York, and Bermuda.

HPT 169: Casino Evil poster, courtesy of HPT production staff.

From February 3rd to March 5th, Hasty Pudding Theatricals (HPT) will put on a show at Farkas Hall that the group has been working on all school year. Beginning in the fall, the leaders of HPT organized auditions, chose writers, and conducted musicians in the endeavor of creating a comedic and musical success. The show has a different theme and specific plot every year, but clear tropes and themes are maintained annually that define the character of HPT that its audience members have come to love. A drag show with both ribald and satirical humor, it is a tradition to which fans keep coming back!

The title of this year’s show is Casino Evil and it follows the adventures of a closely-knit group of small town folk as they attempt to take on the corrupt casino owners down the road. Written by David Shayne ’19 and Jacob Roberts ’19 and with music composed by Fraser Weist ’18, the show nods to other culturally significant stories and music with its allusions to Prohibition-era mob bosses and 1970s top rock albums. The antics of Al Calzone and Bella Donna as they antagonize Hank Kupfs, Ruby Slippers, and Grannie Oakley unfold hilariously amidst well-timed musical and dance numbers. While sitting in the audience and keeping up with the ceaseless innuendo, it is easy to forget that the performers are also singers and dancers in addition to comedic actors – that is, until the big numbers of “Still Smoking”, “More than a Feline”, and others come and leave you singing along. The unforgettable end brought out a fun and psychedelic troupe of brides in lacey white minidresses dancing around stage and bestowing light blue garters generously upon the audience.

Even so, perhaps the most-loved feature of the show is its flexibility and dynamic relationship with the audience. While encouraging audience participation an any given night with older alumni, moms and dads, and Cambridge natives filling the red seats, the relationship is taken to a higher level on themed showings such as Ladies’ Night. This year, Ladies Night took place on Wednesday evening, February 21st, and hordes of female undergraduates flocked to Farkas to laugh, cheer, catcall, and support their male counterparts. Certainly, it is a unique experience provided here at Harvard.

Production stills, courtesy of HPT production staff.

Producers Natalie Kim ’18 and Adam Chiavacci ’18 manage the show’s financial success through the end of the on-campus performances and even through the longer tour. Over spring break, the Hasty Pudding company will travel to New York for three performances and then to Bermuda for three more. Ending there and beginning the process of turnover for next year’s show, HPT will enjoy break at the beach and be content in an accomplished tour. Until then, Cantseeno Evil is a can’t miss this February.

Caroline Cronin ([email protected]) loved her front row seat but honestly wasn’t sure where to look during the skirted high kicks!