A Short History of the HBS Show

While most of the student body has been busy over the past several months reading cases, attending Euro parties, and traveling the world, over 80 student members of the HBS Show have been working hard to write, produce, and perform this year’s HBS Show: Mean Girls [& Boys].  The show runs four nights, with section-suggested nights for attending: Thursday, April 18 at 7:00 PM (ECs), Friday, April 19 at 4:30 PM (NE, NF, NI), Monday, April 22 at 7:00 PM (NB, NC, ND, NJ), and Tuesday, April 23 at 7:00 PM (NA, NG, NH). Students can choose to attend any of the shows, as the section / EC allocation is only a suggestion by the HBS Show team. Sections with the highest ticket sales will be awarded VIP seating each night.  Visit www.hbsshow.org to purchase your tickets.

The HBS Show is one of the largest events on campus each year. It is performed over four nights to sell-out crowds and is one of the biggest displays of MBA talent in the country.  Last summer, a team of ECs developed the concept for this year’s show, and the full script was written this fall.   In the meantime, auditions were held to cast student actors, dancers, singers, musicians, and crew.  Rehearsals have filled the calendars of these students all spring.  Hundreds of hours have been dedicated to carry on the tradition of the HBS Show.

HBS Show History

The history of HBS Show is long and storied.  In the winter of 1974, HBS students were suffering from the usual case overload and career uncertainty when second-year student Joe Parish decided to produce a show. After all, the undergrads had the Hasty Pudding, the Law School had its Parody, and the Medical School had a satire as well. The result was a collection of 16 skits featuring popular music with altered lyrics mocking life at HBS. Not yet recognized as an official organization, the production borrowed money from the Student Association to buy one light and print tickets. The Show was performed in Baker 100, sold out both nights, and established itself as an annual event.

Over the years, the HBS Show has evolved from an informal collection of skits to the major theatrical production it is today. The Show introduced its first two-act production in 1983 and followed with its first completely original script in 1988. Whereas the first Show required only three weeks of preparation, this year’s performance requires over three months of rehearsal and almost a year’s worth of planning.

The content of the HBS Show, however, has remained relatively consistent, satirizing some aspect of life at Harvard Business School. Familiar targets have included the recruiting process, the case method, professors, and the administration. In addition, case protagonists have often made cameo appearances. Erik Peterson would be a millionaires if he was paid royalties every time his name was mentioned on stage. Other noteworthy characters have included Luke Skydecker (Moscow on the Charles, 1985), the evil Gwenneth Starr (BGIE Nights, 1999), Dot Cahm and Darth Venture (StartUp Wars: The Venture Menace, 2000), Ben E. Hana (Upside Story, 2001), and Larry Summers and Rob Kaplan (The Phantom of Baker Library, 2007).

This Year’s Show 

This year’s show is based on the movie Mean Girls.  Thanks to a GEO office mishap, new RC Kati (Sarah Minkus, OE) arrives to HBS in October – over a month late! Kati comes from Canada, where she has spent the last four years running her family’s maple syrup business.

Upon entering her new Aldrich classroom, she’s shocked at what she uncovers…a strange reality where fully-grown students play games, plan theme-parties, and have developed an inexplicable affinity for their section alphabet letter. Kati is so proud to be attending The Harvard Business School, but as a new student, she can’t help but wonder: will she ever fit in?

Kati initially makes friends with a lovable band of outcasts,  but soon she finds herself trapped between two sides of Section K, when Reggie George (Jim Kuerschener, OB)- the unofficial ruler of the section- decides to take her under his wing.

What was once a small show has grown into one of the most recognized showcases of MBA artistic talent in the country. Don’t miss this twice-in-an-HBS-student-life opportunity as the HBS Show returns to Burden Auditorium to welcome an audience of over 1,600 students, young professionals, families, and business leaders! 


April 7, 2013
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