January traditionally brings many changes to the HBS campus. Students dig out their warmest scarves and snuggest hats. Lips begin to chap, the heater is left perpetually on, and the thickest down coats are pulled out of the closet. While most students are hibernating curled up in their winter caves, a few brave HBS students are casting aside their inhibitions, tapping into their creative souls, and lining up to audition for the ultimate self-confidence test – The HBS Show.
The show itself occurs in the late spring but preparations actually begin early in the fall when the production committee first comes together to jump-start its creative juices and begin the long planning process necessary to bring the show together. While the show’s script is a carefully guarded secret until the curtain rises, it is during this early planning period that the production committee designs the basic structure and content of the show that they hope will leave a lasting impression for years to come.
The first step for most students however begins with the actual audition, which can be a harrowing event for some, but at the very least is consistently memorable. This past week hopeful auditioners participated in one or all of the three dancing, acting and singing auditions that were held across campus. Significant time and effort was invested by each participating student in preparation, allowing them a rare opportunity to demonstrate that apart from their ability to calculate NPV and craft the perfect brand message, they also have significant talent in the performing arts. For the singing auditions, students were allowed to bring their own prepared material, while for the dancing and acting auditions students were asked to follow a choreographed piece and participate in a pre-chosen role-play.
For those who have less experience performing, auditioning is a great opportunity to try something new, but for some can produce a great deal of anxiety. Several HBS show hopefuls I spoke with declined to be interviewed, explaining, “I haven’t told anyone I’m auditioning, including my mother, and I’d rather have fewer people know in case I do not get picked.” The Harbus did however catch up with plenty of students happy to share what it is that inspires them to unleash their creative talents and devote a significant part of the second semester schedule to The HBS Show:
Thel Bellerand, who has a long history of participating in the performing arts, jumped at the chance to be a part of the HBS show and participated in all three of the acting, singing and dancing auditions. Thel considered it a great opportunity to meet new people and take part in his first musical. “I love to sing – I am in HOTS here at HBS – so performing is a favorite activity of mine. The show is particularly cool because you get to meet so many people outside the classroom and have fun together putting on a great production. I have also always dreamed of being a Broadway star so this gives me a little taste of stardom,” explained Thel.
Thel, who did not feel tense during the audition, reflected “They put me at ease immediately and made it a fun event. I had been a bit worried but it wound up not being bad at all”
There were also several students who had no background whatsoever in the performing arts but nevertheless rolled the dice and dove into the audition process. I caught up with Cindy Helen Brea as she exploded out of the dance studio, breathless and excited from her very first dancing audition. Cindy Helen, a first year, had heard about what a great experience The HBS Show is from her friends and decided to give it a shot. “I was nervous but they were great at making me feel immediately comfortable and turning it into a fun event for all,” explained Cindy Helen.
In addition to students, partners also participate in the HBS show. Rebecca Nadauld, who has been dancing and performing since the age of four, heard about the show from the HBS partner’s club and saw it as a great opportunity to get more involved in the HBS community and to get back to her artistic roots. Rebecca auditioned early for the role of choreographer and is now part of a team of four choreographers managing the various dance numbers for the show. While she was initially very nervous about auditioning, Rebecca has found the team very gracious, enthusiastic and welcoming. “Now that I am part of the HBS Show Team and have read the script, I am very excited to be a part of something where people have put in so much effort to make it happen. There are very talented people putting a lot of effort into this project and it really shows! It’s going to be great!” gushed Rebecca.
For those who are selected as part of the cast and crew, they can expect to spend extensive hours practicing, practicing, and practicing across the course of the semester, with an intensive period of preparation immediately before the show in the late spring. The show, which takes place April 1st through 5th, is sure to be another not-to-miss event. And keep an eye out for rising talent Thel, Cindy Helen and Rebecca, on the way to their next stop – “Star Search”.
This article is part of a continuing series following The HBS Show.