Photo Flash: Quest To Learn High Schoolers Meet Hasty Pudding Members and HEDWIG Creatives
On Sunday, May 18th, 15 high school students from the Quest To Learn school in New York City gathered at the Producers Club in the Theatre District, where they met members of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals: Jason Hellerstein, a junior majoring in Literature and President of the company for the upcoming year; Josh Friedman, a sophomore majoring in Psychology and the Producer of HPT167; Ally Covello, a sophomore majoring in neurobiology and member of the Hasty Pudding band (saxophone, clarinet, and flute); and Paris Ellsworth, a junior majoring in Psychology and cast member, who played Albanian psychic Macy Deadpeople in the Pudding's latest production, Victorian Secrets. They were soon joined by David Binder, the Producer of Hedwig and The Angry Inch on Broadway;associate producer Mark Berger, make-up artist and wig master Mike Potter, Barbara Crompton, Hedwig's company manager, and Sarah Marcus from Serino Coyne, the advertising agency for Hedwig.
For two hours, these seasoned professionals described their role, their background, demonstrated secrets of the trade (how to create wigs that can be changed in a matter of seconds), answered a myriad of questions, explained the finer points of Broadway financing, how to best promote plays to the target audience, and even shared surprising and lesser known anecdotes such as visits to the emergency room with injured cast members...
With a new appreciation for all the work that goes into putting a show together, the group then made its way to the Belasco Theatre to catch a matinee performance of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The show left the students in awe - they were raving about the music ("They're as good as any rock band!" "It was like being at a concert!"), costumes and wigs ("How did they do that?") and of course Neil Patrick Harris' and Lena Hall's tour de force Tony nominated performances as Hedwig and Yitzhak, respectively.
After the show, the group was treated to a rare behind-the-scenes look at the stage as it was being prepared for the next performance, and got to meet the band and Lena Hall for a Q&A about their background, how they made it to Broadway, how they developed their characters, and their overall experience with Hedwig. The day was coming to a close, and it was soon time to leave, but not before one last surprise: Neil Patrick Harris snuck up on the group for a quick hello and picture opportunity, leaving some of the students speechless.
Pumped, elated and buzzing, they left the theater, ready to go back and work on their own creative pursuits in their dedicated field of performing arts, after a few last souvenir pictures in front of the marquee.
The day was organized by The Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770 as part of their philanthropic work with the Arthur Miller Foundation and Institute of Play; in association with Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770's mission is to provide educational and developmental support in all aspects of the performing arts for the underprivileged, to encourage satire and comedy, and to cultivate young talent around the world. For more info on the Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770, visit www.hastypudding.org.