This year’s HBS Show was phenomenal. Admittedly, as a first year student, I do not have a frame of reference with regard to previous shows, but I can’t imagine a better performance.
This was an extremely professional production, pooling the talents of 60+ HBS students over several months of effort. The talent ranged from writing, acting, singing, dancing, lighting, directing, producing, comedy, music, art (for the set, program, costume design, etc.), and even impersonations.
Laughter flowed from the audience endlessly, as all things HBS turned into one giant satire mixed in with a love story and Napoleon Dynamite/Dr. Evil/Back to the Future twist. I mean, what’s a play without a loveable nerd, a scheming villain, and a little time travel?
The show started with the previous dean, Kim Clark, receiving the call from BYU. Then, the song and dance got going right away with a rousing chorus “BYU Idaho!” Next, we were all taken back to those early days at HBS when the main characters were introduced as they started the fall semester.
“In the RC!” took us through some our most memorable cases and concepts. “Making Connections, Bonding with Sections, In the RC” will be stuck in your brain for awhile, or maybe the tune you can’t get out of your head is “I’m a Name Dropper” sung by Patrick Bosworth playing Hugh Jeego IV. Patrick played the part to a tee and his hog-ridin’, straight-talkin’ companion Beth-Anne Phetamine was played fabulously by Ellen Dobrin. Matt Mindrum as Mike Rochip was completely in character with the quintessential squeaky voice and tip-toe dork stance. Finally, Christa Bowdish perfected her eastern European accent and sang beautifully as Ivana Greenkard, especially in her solo performance of “In My Dreams.”
Another highlight of the show was getting to see caricatures of an ensemble of case protagonists: Arthur Dief (Tobi Hartmann), Donna Dubinsky (Hope Carlson), Rob Parsons (Sandy Scott), Erik Peterson (Michael Lester; young Erik Peterson played by Charles de Segundo), Tony Sarto (Charles de Segundo), Jack Thomas (Sharmil Modi), Lt. H.G. Woods (from the H.M.S. Thetis played by David Burt), and even Martha Stewart as a potential candidate for dean (Susan Bernabucci).
A crowd favorite throughout the performance was David Burt, who played both Rick Ruback and Kim Clark, in addition to other characters. Additional faculty/staff impersonations included Professor Clayton Christensen (Michael Horn), Director of Admissions Brit Dewey (Becky Novotny Bullard), Professor Frances Frei (Maya Bourdeau), and Professor Robert Merton (Nikhil Kacker). The killer trio included Harvard President Larry Summers (Dylan Bourguignon) and his female entourage including Sapphire (Margarita Golod) and Skye (Sandra Nudelman).
The music was an integral part of the show, creating the suspense, the excitement, and accompanying the dance sequences and clever lyrics throughout. Great thanks to those in the orchestra pit: Linda Boudiab, Yoram Bouskila, Juan Carlos Galdos, Wesley Goodpaster, Joe Landon, Michelle Lee, Lauren Scopaz, Alfonso Serrano, and Richard Spady.
Dancers, singers, and student characters included almost all of the cast members as many actors filled several roles. Additionally, these included Soura Bhattacharyya (Dancer, Singer, Tech Media Guy), Amy Hsiang (Choreographer, Dancer), Jamie Linden (Ben Ebriated, Student, Eighties Guy), Zori Miltcheva (Singer, Dancer), Chris Tan (Tech Media Club Guy), and Eric Young (Outsourcing Club Guy). Our furry panda friend Sim-Sim, emphasizing HBS diversity extending to even non-human students, was played by Jiao Zhang.
My personal favorite dance sequence was the hip-hop dance scene featuring Tim Butler (Ameet Shah) rapping “The Choice is Yours” with dancers Amit Goyal, Tina Lai, Sharmil Modi, and Pouyan Salehi.
The show was also jazzed up with intermittent “breaking news” reports from the quirky, slightly neurotic news anchor Tish Justin played by Kirsten Hassert, who might I add put Courteney Cox (the news anchor in the movie “Scream”) to shame!
Robodean, played by Pascal Ambrosi, was like RoboCop meets Terminator and resembled a Robo-Dolph Lundgren (from “Rocky IV”). With the robotic voice and mechanical body movements, I was convinced he was not human. And his conniving mastermind Erik Peterson, played by Michael Lester, was downright scary (as all villains should be).
Behind the scenes, there were many people working to make this show possible (many of whom were in front of the scenes, too). Thanks to the creative staff, administration, production staff, and board of director members: Westin Kriebel, Ildiko Ring, Michael Horn, Hope Carlson, Becky Novotny Bullard, Amy Hsiang, Tina Lai, Greg Marsh, Holly Persinger, Sophie Craig, Alice Wu, Mark Sensinger, Lara Nasquashbandi, Hyunjee Kim, Sophie Craig, Theresa Rohrbeck, Alex Seiler, Susan Bernabucci, Lauren Moses, Fay Xing, Jules Kent, Rissa Lawrence, Ajmal Ahmady, Ward Bullard, Jules Kent, and Anita Pritchett.
And most importantly, there wouldn’t have been a show without a script. Christian Charnaux and Greg Lau were the lead writers of the play and contributing writers included Charlie Graham, Alejandro Paiuk, and Annoel Yabes-Lau.
By the end of the show, I had had a transformational experience and I learned some very important lessons-love is blind, HBS is number one, and according to Sue Yerpantzoff (played by Heidi Kuglin), to avoid a 3-speak frequently!
Special thanks to all of the students and partners who worked so hard to create this production, and for so kindly entertaining your HBS friends.