The 34th annual HBS Show, The Phantom of Baker Library, hit the stage in Burden in late April with a cast of fifty students and a support crew of some thirty more in writing, production, music, choreography, marketing, and board oversight. A month before showtime, director Kent Bennett (HBS ’08) talked about the ins and outs of carrying on a School tradition.

What’s the plot of the Show?

This year, our lovebirds are Stanley Morgan (Matt Mindrum, MBA ’07) and Shanghai Sheraton (Claire Farley, HBS ’08), a high-profile “celebutante” whom the phantom kidnaps. The School’s reaction to Shanghai’s disappearance lets us poke fun at the administration — a recurring theme!

How are things going so far?

Great. The biggest challenge will be combining the acting, singing, and dance elements, which we’ve been rehearsing separately so far. As much as I’ve tried to connect the various groups and lay out a vision for every scene, it’s inevitable that everyone will have a slightly different idea of what it’s going to look like. Also, some of our actors love to dance, and some of them are terrified of it, but if they’re in a scene with dancing, they’ll have to be moving in some sort of coordinated way. Everyone is going to be fine. They just don’t know that yet.

How is the Show funded?

Ticket sales and some corporate sponsorships. The Show is essentially a nonprofit that is self-funded every year. We’re hoping to sell 2,000 tickets at $30 each. That’s close to our $70,000 operating budget. This year, we had some savvy negotiators who bargained with our lighting and sound vendors and managed to get a 10 percent reduction in price. Another difference is that we’ve moved the stage curtain back to improve the sightlines from the sides of the auditorium. I hope our marketing department does a good job of filling those extra seats.

Do you have a background in show biz?

I loved the movies when I was growing up in Virginia, and was naive enough to think that I could move out to Los Angeles and start writing scripts. After I worked at Bain for several years, a friend and I did just that. We sold a television pilot, “The Club,” that will never see the light of day. But we also sold a small-budget film called The Closet that’s tentatively scheduled for production this fall, although it’s hard to say what will happen. That’s been part of the fun of working on the Show — actually seeing something come to life.

Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 2008, Section F
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