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Where the Girls Aren't

Beautiful voices. Dance moves. Energy and charisma. Great legs. The women in this year’s Hasty Pudding theatrical have all the characteristics you look for in leading ladies. Except…. dude, these are dudes. The disturbingly attractive “women” on stage are cross dressers, decked to make any Pricilla Ball goer green with envy.

The Hasty Pudding troupe holds nothing back. And nothing seems beyond humor for them, at least not during this year’s production, “It’s a Wonderful Afterlife”, a racous and impressively professional song and dance show.

The storyline for this piece revolves around heaven and hell. Both final resting places are at risk of going bankrupt, and the “big landlord in the sky” is demanding this month’s karma payment or else all inhabitants will be smote. The problem: not enough new residents, as uncooperatively healthy mortals are living longer. Which brings about the first song, “Heaven Can’t Wait,” an entreaty to the audience to hurry up and die.

The other big problem arises as a pimp in hell, Werma Hozat, and Lilah Kedog, a British school mistress nun, plot to steal all the karma and sneak away to a little bungalow on the beach in Limbo. These and the other characters are great spoofs on classic stereotypes: the jock, the virgin, the rabbi, the accountant. Perhaps the most funny is Juan Than, the Mexican Chinese man who runs Hell’s Kitchen. The most endearing player is the cloud who can’t make himself into recognizable shapes.

These “kids” are all Harvard undergrads, and they are very talented. The acting and timing are polished, and the troupe’s voices across the board are very strong. At times you forget the non-sense they are singing about, like the song “Miso Soup for the Soul”.

Written by some witty Harvard undergrads, the humor ranges from sophomoric to sophisticated, from dirty bathroom jokes to sharpened comments on American culture. One character notes that “Virgins are like bubbles, one prick and they are busted.” While other lines touch on politics and business. One line that strikes home is the list of the deadly sins: “Pride! Envy! Gluttony! Wrath! Sloth! Lust! B-School!”

The show does help with a little life advice to ladies about love, men and sex, and the need for an experienced female mentor. The writers successfully answer one of the big questions on every woman’s mind.

“Why can’t I find a nice, sensitive, attractive man to date? Because they all have boyfriends already?”

Of course, all cross-dressing song and dance reviews need to end with the big dance finale, and this one does. Proving that white men can dance (even in high heels and mini-skirts), these thirteen boy/girls put on a good dance show. They really do display a wide range of talent, and they have a lot of fun up there on stage.

I recommend heading over to the historic Hasty Pudding theatre and watching “It’s a Wonderful Afterlife”. You will laugh and enjoy the respite from the serious world outside, just remember, the ladies are guys so don’t get caught checking out their assets.

March 3, 2003
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