The Harbus Interviews the Co-Producers of the HBS Show

The Harbus interviewed the co-producers of this year’s HBS SHOW, the largest student-event on campus. Frank Andrasco and Jeff Gatto started putting this year’s show together last October. The Show premieres Wednesday, March 28, and runs through the 31st.

What does your job as producer involve?
FRANK: The producer’s role in the Show is essentially to make everything else happen. The director has a vision for the Show and we help to make it happen. This includes all aspects of the production: fundraising, ticketing, lighting, sound, special effects, stage, sets, props, and all the equipment we need to do all these things. Since we’re completely transforming Burden to a Broadway-quality theater (as best we can), there is a ton of equipment involved. We handle all the production people that don’t appear on stage but are necessary for the Show to go on. Being the interface to the HBS Administration is also a vital role, particularly because of the huge commitment of facilities and services the Show requires.

JEFF : The job really varies from day to day Just today, we carried in about 1500 pounds of sound equipment into Burden, and then talked about ticket policy (while trying to catch our breath).

How did you get the producer role?

JEFF: Each fall the Show Board solicits applications for producer and director. This year there were 3 applicants, with Frank and I appling as a team. The job has really become too big for one person, and we saw Anthony Marino (last year’s producer) really struggle to stay sane.

FRANK: By accident…
How many people are involved in putting the show together?

FRANK: The cast and crew total around 150 people this year.

JEFF: At least. When you count everyone from the social chairs who help promote the show, to the ushers the night of the show, it seems like half of the campus is involved. We had over 50 extras show up for just one of the video shoots (Thanks OB!).

JEFF: This year, 5 treatments were submitted. Each one contained a plot overview, about 10 pages of dialogue and some sample songs. We then had a meeting with the top three writing teams to discuss their ideas further. We chose the final team based on the strength of the team and on how funny their ideas were, and we haven’t been disappointed. If they make the audience laugh half as much as they crack themselves up, we’re all set.

How do you pick the actors and actresses and dancers?

FRANK: We audition all the talent in January, having people act, sing, and dance for us. Then we put their names in a hat and…

JEFF: That’s why Frank’s on the production side. We have everyone who wants to apply come in for a general audition. Over 150 people tried out for singing, dancing, or acting. Then we called back those that displayed the most talent to try out for specific roles. I was just amazed by the depth of talent we found. One of our leads had a recurring role on a sitcom before HBS.

How long has the show been going on at HBS?

JEFF: The Show began 27 years ago, although it has varied from musical extravaganza to simple variety show.

FRANK: This Show seems like it’s been going on FOREVER, I mean… oops!

Who comes to the Show?

FRANK: We generally sell about 2400 tickets, which includes many partners, friends, faculty, and administration. We also give a special invitation to alumni in the area for Saturday night’s performance. We believe the HBS Show has the largest alumni draw of any event on campus, except of course the class reunions. We generally get about 1/3 of the faculty, and I’d really like to see the rest of them come too. Hear that Professors?-I’m sending you a special welcome. Come join us while we’re are poking fun at our lives and your cases.
Tell us about this year’s show.

FRANK: Well there are some bad guys, and some good guys, and then some really bad guys. Then comes the epic struggle between man and his environment. At the end, the bad guys turn out to still be bad, but the good guys end with better costumes.

JEFF: Between the acting, the dancing and the singing, there’s something for everyone. Besides, we make fun of all of the stuff that makes HBS HBS. If you don’t laugh at Beth Ferguson’s outfit, Hillary Schubach’s interruptions, or Johnny D’Agostino’s threats, you must be from Wharton. It’s also a chance to just sit back and appreciate how quickly the time flies by, and how much we’ll miss it after we leave.