Hasty Pudding Theatricals

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For other uses, see Hasty pudding (disambiguation).
The Hasty Pudding Lobby

The Hasty Pudding Theatricals, known informally simply as The Pudding, is a theatrical student society at Harvard University, known for its burlesque crossdressing musicals. The Hasty Pudding Theatricals was best described by John Wheelwright in 1897 as a "kindly association of men of all ages in a gay evening of simple enjoyment". [1]


Formed in 1795 as an artistic-minded fraternity, the Pudding began hosting mock trials of such phenomena as timely Harvard presidents and the study of mathematics. The Pudding put up its first full performance, of a well-known tragic burlesque entitled Bombastes Furioso, on December 13, 1844. It has performed a production every year since, except twice during World War I and twice during World War II. After a period of producing popular comedies written by established playwrights, the Pudding began to write its own shows, starting with a production of Dido and Aeneas written by Owen Wister in 1882.[2]

Previous members of Hasty Pudding have included Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, Oliver Wendell Holmes, William Randolph Hearst, lyricist Alan Jay Lerner, Oscar winner Jack Lemmon, humorist Andy Borowitz, artist Henry Ives Cobb, Jr., and former Massachusetts governor William Weld.[3] In 1948, Felisa Vanoff (1925–2014) became the first female choreographer of the company.[4][5]

Although the cast remains all-male (with female parts performed by actors in drag), women participate in the productions as writers, composers, orchestra, and members of the business staff and tech crew.[2] Each spring, the Pudding's Theatricals holds a 5-week run in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and then tours to New York City and Bermuda.[6]

The Pudding's long history has served two seemingly contradictory functions. On the one hand its deliberately retro theatrical trappings (all-male cast; all-live pit orchestra with no computers or synthesizers; silly plots full of crude jokes, low production values, collegiate humor and anachronistic puns) seem to preserve a museum-piece approach to musical theater.[2]

Yet the Pudding has served for decades as an incubator of new talents: Pudding graduates are leaders in the fields of writing, directing, and performing in theater, television, movies and the other arts. The last three winners of the prestigious annual Ed Kleban Award for achievement in lyric writing have each been Pudding graduates. Pudding librettist Mark O'Donnell won a Tony Award in 2003 for co-authoring the book for Hairspray. He also co-authored the book for the Broadway musical Cry-Baby; its lyrics were penned by fellow Pudding alum David Javerbaum, who has won eight Emmy Awards as head writer for The Daily Show—which also featured comedian Mo Rocca, a former Pudding librettist and President. Pudding Actor Jerry Colker won the Drama Desk Award for authoring the book for the Off-Broadway musical Three Guys Naked From the Waist Down. Actress Rashida Jones (seen in Parks and Recreation, The Office, Boston Public, and the film I Love You, Man) co-composed the score of the show during her senior year. Paris Barclay wrote two Pudding shows and later won two Emmys for directing NYPD Blue. Pudding actor and composer Laurence O'Keefe wrote the music and lyrics for the Off-Broadway show Bat Boy: The Musical; and he and his wife, Pudding librettist Nell Benjamin co-wrote the score to the Broadway musical Legally Blonde. Pudding bookwriter Mark O'Keefe co-wrote and co-produced the movies Bruce Almighty and Click.

Origins of name[edit]

The name comes from a Colonial era (originally British) dish called hasty pudding, a kind of porridge made from cornmeal with molasses, honey or other ingredients, a New World cousin to the Italian polenta; called "hasty" because it is cheap and easy to make. It is not clear whether the dish was originally a staple or a dessert, but it is now served for dessert at the banquets thrown by the Pudding, such as opening night celebrations and the annual 'roasts' for their Man/Woman of the Year (see below).

Honorary awards[edit]

The society is notable for their annual selection of famous entertainers as Woman of the Year (since 1951) and Man of the Year (since 1967). These awards are usually treated with great seriousness by the honorees, who, since the unanticipated personal appearance of Jane Fonda to accept her award, always attend the awards ceremony, and are treated to a celebratory "roast," and a parade.

Below is a list of those who have received the award:[7]

Men and Women of the Year[edit]

Year Women Men
2014 Helen Mirren Neil Patrick Harris
2013 Marion Cotillard Kiefer Sutherland[8]
2012 Claire Danes Jason Segel
2011 Julianne Moore Jay Leno
2010 Anne Hathaway Justin Timberlake
2009 Renée Zellweger James Franco
2008 Charlize Theron Christopher Walken
2007 Scarlett Johansson Ben Stiller
2006 Halle Berry Richard Gere
2005 Catherine Zeta-Jones Tim Robbins
2004 Sandra Bullock Robert Downey Jr.
2003 Anjelica Huston Martin Scorsese
2002 Sarah Jessica Parker Bruce Willis
2001 Drew Barrymore Anthony Hopkins
2000 Jamie Lee Curtis Billy Crystal
1999 Goldie Hawn Samuel L. Jackson
1998 Sigourney Weaver Kevin Kline
1997 Julia Roberts Mel Gibson
1996 Susan Sarandon Harrison Ford
1995 Michelle Pfeiffer Tom Hanks
1994 Meg Ryan Tom Cruise
1993 Whoopi Goldberg Chevy Chase
1992 Jodie Foster Michael Douglas
1991 Diane Keaton Clint Eastwood
1990 Glenn Close Kevin Costner
1989 Kathleen Turner Robin Williams
1988 Lucille Ball Steve Martin
1987 Bernadette Peters Mikhail Baryshnikov
1986 Sally Field Sylvester Stallone
1985 Cher Bill Murray
1984 Joan Rivers Sean Connery
1983 Julie Andrews Steven Spielberg
1982 Ella Fitzgerald James Cagney
1981 Mary Tyler Moore John Travolta
1980 Meryl Streep Alan Alda
1979 Candice Bergen Robert De Niro
1978 Beverly Sills Richard Dreyfuss
1977 Elizabeth Taylor Johnny Carson
1976 Bette Midler Robert Blake
1975 Valerie Harper Warren Beatty
1974 Faye Dunaway Peter Falk
1973 Liza Minnelli Jack Lemmon
1972 Ruby Keeler Dustin Hoffman
1971 Carol Channing James Stewart
1970 Dionne Warwick Robert Redford
1969 Carol Burnett Bill Cosby
1968 Angela Lansbury Paul Newman
1967 Lauren Bacall Bob Hope
1966 Ethel Merman
1965 Lee Remick
1964 Rosalind Russell
1963 Shirley MacLaine
1962 Piper Laurie
1961 Jane Fonda
1960 Carol Lawrence
1959 Joanne Woodward
1958 Katharine Hepburn
1957 Carroll Baker
1956 Peggy Ann Garner
1955 Debbie Reynolds
1954 Shirley Booth
1953 Mamie Eisenhower
1952 Barbara Bel Geddes
1951 Gertrude Lawrence

List of annual productions[edit]


  1. ^ "An Illustrated History of the Hasty Pudding Club Theatricals". Hasty Pudding Club. Retrieved 2014-12-14. 
  2. ^ a b c "History". Hasty Pudding Theatricals. Retrieved February 6, 2010. 
  3. ^ "History". Alumni. Retrieved February 6, 2010. 
  4. ^ Dagan, Carmel (10 June 2014). "Felisa Vanoff, Dancer, Patron of the Arts, Dies at 89". Variety. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  5. ^ Brown, Emma S. (25 June 2014). "Obituary: Felisa Vanoff / Groundbreaking dancer and choreographer, June 11, 1924 – May 29, 2014". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "Past Show Titles". Hasty Pudding Theatricals. Retrieved February 6, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Past Men and Women of the Year". Hasty Pudding Theatricals. Retrieved February 6, 2010. 
  8. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-21339611#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa
  9. ^ "Past Show Titles | Hasty Pudding Theatricals". Hastypudding.org. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°22′21.2″N 71°7′5.2″W / 42.372556°N 71.118111°W / 42.372556; -71.118111