Cohen Chosen Pudding Composer Again

'Unusual' repeat selection reflects talent

For the third time in four years, Michael A. Cohen '99 will be composing the score for the annual Hasty Pudding Theatricals show.

In a decision made on Oct. 21 and announced yesterday, Cohen was selected to set the Pudding's 151st show, entitled "I Get No Kick From Campaign," to music.

"We're very excited to have him back," said Matthew J. Lutch '99, chair of the board responsible for the selection process. "Mike is very, very talented."

Being chosen for the third time is "pretty damn unusual," according to Lutch. "It doesn't happen too often," he added.

"It's a very impressive accomplishment," said Hasty Pudding press manager Colleen A. McGuinness '99.

The process of selecting a composer for the show began in September. Prospective composers spent four weeks putting existing lyrics to music, meeting each week with board members for critiques.

On the final night of the selection process, the board and a professional music supervisor listen as a male singer performs each composer's work.

Then, Lutch said, the group discusses the merits of the different compositions are discussed and come to a final decision.

"They came by my room with champagne to inform me that I had been selected," Cohen said.

Both Lutch and Cohen noted that the selection process was particularly competitive this year.

"It was a really tough decision this year. There was a lot of amazing talent in the field of applicants," Lutch said.

"I had no doubt that two or three of the other composers could also have written great shows," Cohen said. "It was truly an honor to be chosen."

Cohen, a psychology concentrator who lives in Mather House, offered some thoughts on his continued success.

"My strengths are coming up with catchy melodies and placing them in a coherent, strong structure. Ideally, people should be able to hum along to my songs as they leave the theater," Cohen wrote in an e-mail message.

"I also am good at writing very hastily (pun intended)," he added.

Although currently waiting to hear from several law schools, Cohen is also exploring the possibilities of a career in musical theater. He has applied to the University of Southern California program in Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television, from which three past Pudding composers have graduated.

"Ideally, I would then score films or television shows," Cohen said. "And who knows, maybe I'll end up composing musicals in the future as well."