The Hasty Pudding lobby

Hasty Pudding Theatricals is a student theatrical society at Harvard University known for its annual burlesque crossdressing musicals as well as its Man and Woman of the Year awards.[1] The Pudding is the oldest theatrical organization in the United States and the third oldest in the world.[2] Its annual production is a musical comedy that often touches on topical social and political issues.


Hasty Pudding Theatricals was formed in 1795 as a social club for Harvard College students to cultivate the social affections and cherish the feelings of friendship & patriotism. On December 13, 1844, the Pudding put on its first full performance - William Barnes Rhodes’ burlesque opera Bombastes Furioso. After a period of producing popular comedies by established playwrights, student members of the Pudding began to write their own shows, starting in 1882 with a production of Dido and Aeneas by Owen Wister.[3] The event was interrupted for 2 years during each of the World Wars and the fifth time came in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Women played a role in the company for many years, primarily as costumers. In 1948 Felisa Vanoff became Pudding’s first female choreographer,[4][5] and in 1978 Diane Nabatoff became its first female producer. In 2009 Megan Amram and Alexandra Petri became the first all-female team to write the musical comedy. The technical crew, band, and business staff has been co-ed for many years.

Notable alumni

Origins of name

The Hasty Pudding name comes from a Colonial era (originally British) dish called hasty pudding, a kind of porridge made from cornmeal with molasses, honey or other ingredients. It is not clear whether the dish was originally a staple or a dessert, but it is now served for dessert at the banquets thrown by the Pudding, such as opening night celebrations and the annual 'roasts' for their Man and Woman of the Year.

Honorary awards

Main article: Hasty Pudding Man of the Year

Main article: Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year

The society is notable for their annual selection of famous entertainers as Woman of the Year since 1951 and Man of the Year since 1967. These awards are usually treated with great seriousness by the honorees. Since the unanticipated personal appearance of Jane Fonda to accept her award in 1961, always attend the awards ceremony, and are treated to a celebratory "roast," and a parade.


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The Hasty Pudding Theatricals has adopted many significant symbols. It has two official logos: The first is a sphinx holding a pudding pot, and the second is a pudding pot depicted hanging over a fire. Its main colors are deep blue, crimson, green and yellow. The shade of yellow used by the club is an ode to the color of traditional hasty pudding. The Hasty Pudding Theatricals, Hasty Pudding Club, and Harvard Krokodiloes are all organizations of the Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770 and share the same meeting space and social events on Harvard's campus.

Concordia Discors is the official motto of the Hasty Pudding, literally meaning: Discordant Harmony, or organized chaos, in English.


  1. ^ Yano, Christine R.; Akatsuka, Neal K. Adolph (2018-08-09). Straight A's: Asian American College Students in Their Own Words. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-1-4780-0209-3.
  2. ^ "Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770 | Hasty Pudding Theatricals". Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  3. ^ a b "History". Hasty Pudding Theatricals. Retrieved February 6, 2010.
  4. ^ a b Dagan, Carmel (10 June 2014). "Felisa Vanoff, Dancer, Patron of the Arts, Dies at 89". Variety. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  5. ^ a b Brown, Emma S. (25 June 2014). "Obituary: Felisa Vanoff / Groundbreaking dancer and choreographer, June 11, 1924 – May 29, 2014". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  6. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Dean Norris On Playing Hank On "Breaking Bad" | CONAN on TBS". YouTube.
  7. ^ "History". Alumni. Retrieved February 6, 2010.

42°22′21.2″N 71°7′5.2″W / 42.372556°N 71.118111°W / 42.372556; -71.118111