The Show Must Go On: The HBS Show 2004

The HBS Annual Show (Show) has become a time-honored tradition and an essential component of the HBS experience. It is held every year at the end of the term in April, with the entire HBS community including the students, professors, staff, significant others and anybody who can trace the remotest link to the school, coming together to witness this grand finale of the academic year. This time around, the HBS Show will be held for four days on April 21st, 22nd, 24th and 25th at Burden Auditorium.

The format of the HBS Show changes from year to year depending on the team of students which is responsible for creating it – sometimes it is an outright musical, sometimes it has more of a slapstick element and at other times, there is a predominance of situational comedy. However, the principle underlying every Show remains the same every year – it is held at a time when the academic pressures have just ended, the students are feeling more relaxed and the crises of last term no longer seem like the end of the world. The Show therefore provides the perfect opportunity for HBS students to let their hair down, laugh at themselves and the mishaps of the ending academic year.

For example, the HBS Show 2003 lampooned stereotypical HBS characters – there was the Baker Striver with his super-aggressive style of class participation, Ivana Job who was obsessed with getting her resume in front of the people that matter, Mary Rich whose sole purpose in coming to HBS was to find a life partner with a six figure salary and Hunter Drawers who was the kind of guy every mother warns her daughter about!

Though the next HBS Show will be held in 2004, the preparations for it are already in full swing – a fact which was clearly evident in the last Show meeting which was held on November 12th in the Hamilton Lounge and was open to all students. The HBS Show Board, which consists of students who were involved in the previous year’s Show, was present in full strength at the meeting. This year, the Board members are Carolyn Weinberg, Pawel Swiatek, Susan Bernabucci, Billy Gonzalez, Gordon Liao, Anna Dedousis Wallace and Rebecca Nadauld.

The HBS Show Board is responsible for selecting the Director, Producer and Writing team who, in turn, will be responsible for organizing the current academic year’s Show. This year, the Board members completed this task in September through a two-step process which was followed for each position – in the first round, they short listed applicants on the basis of their written applications and in the second round, they interviewed the short listed applicants to zero in on the final choice. For the HBS Show 2004, the Producer is Laura Franses, the Director is Jaya Tandon (myself) and the Writing Team consists of Larry Wasserman, Jarred Kennedy, Marc Teillon and Emily Stone.

At the meeting, several important issues were discussed and decided. The all-important question of the budget and its sources and uses was discussed. The HBS Show is always produced on a large scale and is completely self-financed by ticket sales and corporate sponsorship. This year the planned budget is approximately fifty thousand dollars and the hunt for corporate sponsorship is already in full swing.

During this meeting it was determined that the selection for the various positions in the Show will be done by the usual method, that is, through the application and interview process. Between November and December, the Director will select the Acting Director, Vocal Director, Music Director and Lead Choreographer and the Producer will select the Assistant Production Manager, Stage Manager, Set Designer, Set Construction Coordinator, Lighting Designer, Sound Designer, Props Manager and Costume Manager. The students chosen for these positions will then choose their assistants in coordination with the Producer and Director.

The application forms will be finalized and emailed to the HBS student community by November 20th, and the last day for the students to send in their filled application forms was set at November 25th. The invitations to interview will be sent out by December 1st and the actual interviews will occur in the first week of December. It was decided that the Director will send out notices for acting auditions in January when students come back after the holidays and the script, which is currently half-way written, is more or less ready to roll.

Finally, it was decided that for the first time, a website about the Show will be set up. This website is projected to fulfill a number of functions. It will inform the HBS community about the progress of the Show, the prices of the tickets and will also provide the facility to purchase tickets online.

By the middle of January, the foundations are expected to have been laid – the production and creative teams will be in place, the sets will be constructed, the script will be ready. According to the HBS Board, by early Spring the activity will reach a crescendo – with rehearsals in full swing, songs being set to music, dances being set to the songs, lighting patterns being planned and publicity to sell tickets at its highest peak – and by the start of February and until April 22nd, 2004, each and every member of the unit will find that his or her life is now a four letter word – Show.

December 1, 2003
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