Photo Recap: The 70th Annual Hasty Pudding Theatricals Woman and Man of the Year Awards

Elizabeth Banks and Ben Platt received this year’s honors.

Elizabeth Banks looks at the camera as she rides in a convertible with two members of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals.
Elizabeth Banks smiled and waved to the crowd along the parade route.
Photograph by Harvard Magazine/KD

The Hasty Pudding Theatricals (HPT) presented their 2020 Woman and Man of the Year Awards to Elizabeth Banks and Ben Platt: the former a three-time Emmy nominee, writer, director, and producer; the latter, the youngest recipient of the Man of the Year Award and one Oscar away from being the youngest EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) winner ever.

Banks arrived at Harvard on January 31 for a parade along Massachusetts Avenue from Bow Street to Holyoke Street. She was escorted by exuberantly costumed HPT members, who were joined by a small contingent from the University Band, the Harvard Cheerleading team, and The Harvard Undergraduate Drummers. As the motorcade made its way down Mass. Ave., students leaned out of their dorm windows to cheer and watch the festivities.

The Hasty Pudding parade began on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Bow Street.
Photograph by Harvard Magazine/KD

During the Pudding’s traditional roast of the honored guest, Banks sang “Ice, Ice, Baby” with a sock puppet, dueled with Beezel the Cat (from Movie 43, in which she starred and directed), read a dramatic monologue depicting a doctor trying to cure a patient in need of a “cultural awakening,” and took a bite of a burger before kissing an image of her Wet Hot American Summer co-star Paul Rudd.

At the press conference, Banks spoke of her homecoming to Massachusetts, saying that lots of family members had attended the parade, and pointing out her father, who was in the back of the room taking photos. She also expressed the joy she feels as an actor, director, and producer when working with women she admires. “For women in Hollywood, it’s important to have a support system behind you,” Banks said. “I’m happy to co-own my production company [Brownstone Productions] with my husband.”

Elizabeth Banks answers questions at the press conference following the traditional roast.
Photograph by 
Harvard Magazine/KD

Following the press conference, Hasty Pudding Theatricals members previewed a few scenes from their 172nd production, Mean Ghouls.

Platt arrived at Harvard last Friday for an evening roast, press conference, and the premiere of Mean Ghouls. HPT co-producers Samantha Meade ’21 and Natalie Needle ’21 mentioned Platt’s many accomplishments, including his collaboration with Lin-Manuel Miranda on “Found Tonight,” part of the #Hamildrop series of tracks that raise money for the March for Our Lives Initiative.

Meade and Needle observed that Platt to date has played an “anxious weirdo” in all of his major roles (Pitch Perfect, Dear Evan Hansen, and The Politician). They also claimed he wasn’t as much of an “Honest Man” as he touts in his song bearing that title. Platt then told how, at a summer camp, he stole his bunkmate’s copy of the sixth Harry Potter book and wrote his last name in the volume to claim it. He then “baptized” a pretend Mormon—a reference to his role in The Book of Mormon—and he confronted characters representing the different EGOT awards, telling “Oscar,” “We’ll meet in a couple years.”

“It’s been a real privilege to spend time here today,” Platt said at the end of the roast. “I haven’t spent much time on any college campus, really, to the chagrin of my parents.” (He dropped out of Columbia after six months to pursue his acting career.)

Ben Platt answers questions at the press conference following the traditional roast.
Photograph by 
Harvard Magazine/KD

At the press conference, Platt said he’d like to be back on Broadway as soon as possible. He likes to switch back and forth among television, movie, and theater roles, but feels most comfortable in the theater.

A 2017 New York Times profile about Platt reported his pre-performance rituals before each Dear Evan Hansen show, including a dance party with the cast in his dressing room. This magazine asked him about his favorite hype songs to listen to before a performance. His reply?

Anything Beyoncé, the Maggie Rogers album Heard It In a Past Life is a really good soul-filling music, the new MUNA album, “Toxic” by Britney Spears, and if I’m warming up I like to sing from Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years or The Bridges of Madison County.

Ben Platt stayed for the premiere of Mean Ghouls, which plays at Farkas Hall through March 8, before moving on to New York and Bermuda.

Ben Platt kisses his pudding pot…
Photograph by 
Harvard Magazine/KD

…and is kissed by cast members of HPT”s Mean Ghouls.
Photograph by 
Harvard Magazine/KD


Read more articles by: Kristina DeMichele

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