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Pudding Show Features Wild West Theme

Two undergrads pen 157th show entitled

By Kimberly A. Kicenuik, Crimson Staff Writer

Continuing its tradition of wacky and whimsical musicals, the Hasty Pudding Theatricals has released the script for its 157th production, a romping tribute to the Wild West.

The script, tentatively titled HPT 157: “Casino Evil,” was co-authored by John P. Blickstead ’06 and Margaret Shipstead ’05, novice playwrights well-versed in the Pudding’s style and history.

“I see this as a very ‘Pudding’ show,” said Blickstead, an Environmental Science and Public Policy concentrator who has twice acted in Pudding productions. “It’s bawdy, funny...and promises to be one of the edgier shows we’ve done,” he said.

Shipstead, an English concentrator who has yet to be involved in a Pudding production, said that the chaotic plot of the script is classic Pudding.

“The show combines pun humor, silly songs and all the traditions that keep bringing back the Pudding fan base,” Shipstead said. “But John and I put our personal stamps on the characters and humor of the show.”

Shipstead said that she and Blickstead collaborated throughout the entire writing process, which began last Spring with brainstorming and the penning of the first few scenes.

“We thought that the West was the best setting for this kind of show—full of fun stereotypes and groanable cliches, as well as plenty of opportunities for interesting colorful characters,” Blickstead said.

The action begins when the brawny Luke N. Forglory sets out in search of fame and gold in the old American frontier. Joined by his geeky Girl Scout sidekick, Wanda Buymycookies, Luke seeks the elusive Oregon Grail.

He then meets up with an Indian princess named Pocahotness and a horny buffalo named Alma Stextinct along the way. The treasure-hunters run into trouble, however, when confronted by the vicious Rey El Road, a railway tycoon who exploits the West of its resources and wants the coveted Grail for himself.

Though Blickstead has been a member of the cast for two years, this is the first time the thespian has tried his hand at writing. “This seemed like the time to write,” he said. “Maggie has experience with comic writing and I have experience pretending to be funny, so it was a good fit.”

But Shipstead said the impulse to write a script with Blickstead this year came from the encouragement of a psychic. “John doesn’t give himself nearly enough credit, which is fine because he’s pretty,” she said.

A final casting of the production and a rehearsal schedule will be finalized in the next few weeks by Theatricals’ President Matthew Ferrante ’05.

The Hasty Pudding Theatricals is the oldest collegiate theatrical company in the United States, with a history of comedic musicals that dates back to 1795. In addition to its nationally-recognized student-written burlesques, the company also honors two world-renowned celebrities annually as Man and Woman of the Year.

—Staff writer Kimberly A. Kicenuik can be reached at kicenuik@fas.harvard.edu.

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