HBS Musical Parodies Student Life

Students and faculty collaborate on annual tradition

This past Friday, the cast of the 38th annual Harvard Business School Show—an original musical entitled “Somewhere Over the Footbridge”—parodied the life of Harvard MBA candidates in their final show after four days of performances.

A tradition since 1974, when business school student Joe Parrish first created a show comprised of skits mocking life at the Business School, the annual performance has evolved into a multi-act original musical, replete with dance sequences and parodies of contemporary pop songs.

The plot of this year’s show centered on four incoming students of the HBS Class of 2012 as they navigate their way through “Crimsonland” after one of the four poisons their Scorpion Bowl at the Hong Kong Restaurant.

As the show progresses, the audience learns that the mastermind behind the evil plot is Jeffrey Skilling, the HBS graduate and former president of Enron, who is attempting to discredit Dean Nitin Nohria and replace him.

Making their way along the “Crimson Brick Road,” the students, each paralleling one of the original characters from the Wizard of Oz, complete challenges to acquire the three attributes the Business School most values: intellect, courage, and heart.


Michael D. A. Son, the show’s director, said that the behind-the-scenes work, though time-consuming, was just as enjoyable as the show itself.

“It was a huge leadership and management challenge, but I enjoyed myself immensely,” he said. “We harnessed every possible faculty we could: great actors, great musicians, and great designers.”

During the length of the musical, the performers sang and danced to a number of contemporary songs whose lyrics were tweaked to include numerous self-deprecating jokes.

The Oz classic “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” was altered to include the lyrics “Somewhere over the footbridge/Way up high/There’s a land that I heard of/Home of the suit and tie.”

Smriti Mishra, a Business School student in attendance, said that she thought the show was “absolutely phenomenal,” and noted the professional quality of the student-run production.

“The acting, the dancing, the music, the set, the lighting—everything was just awesome. And the choice of songs to parody was perfect,” she said.

Although the theme for next year’s show has yet to be decided, Son said he hopes that it will come together as well as this year’s show.

“The show started as disparate sketches, and it slowly became a Broadway-style musical. Hopefully we can continue in that direction next year.”

—Staff writer Matthew M. Beck can be reached at