CAMBRIDGE, MA (April 16th, 2021) – The Hasty Pudding Theatricals, the oldest theatrical organization in the United States, announces VIOLA DAVIS as the recipient of its 2021 Woman of the Year Award. The Pudding is thrilled to present this honor to an award-winning actress in both film and television, who is known for breaking ground in Hollywood, most recently as the most Oscar-nominated Black actress in Academy Awards history.

The Woman of the Year Award is the Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ oldest honor, bestowed annually on performers who have made lasting and impressive contributions to the world of entertainment. Established in 1951, the Woman of the Year Award has been given to many notable and talented entertainers including Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson, Anne Hathaway, Kerry Washington, Halle Berry, and Katharine Hepburn.

In a historic and monumental year, the Woman of the Year Award will be presented remotely in a Zoom webinar on Thursday, April 22nd, 2021 at 9 pm EST. The webinar will begin with a short celebratory roast for Ms. Davis, followed by a moderated Q&A with pre-selected questions from the HPT community. The event will conclude with an acceptance speech by Ms. Davis, where she will officially receive her Pudding Pot. The entire event will last approximately thirty minutes and will be private to the Hasty Pudding company, alumni, and loyal patron base.

“We’re very excited to honor Viola Davis as our 71st Woman of the Year because of her immense impact in Hollywood, especially in such a historic and difficult year for the arts,” said event coordinator and producer Natalie Needle. “Viola has inspired our company with her incredible grit and determination, and we cannot wait to celebrate her successes, strong character, and wonderful talent, ” added president Jessica Moore.

Viola Davis is a critically revered, award-winning actress of film, television and theater. She is the first black actress to win two Tony Awards (“Fences” & “King Hedley II”), an Oscar (“Fences”) and an Emmy (“How to Get Away with Murder”). In 2012, Davis and her husband founded their production company, JuVee Productions, with its focus being on giving a voice to the voiceless through strong, impactful and culturally relevant narratives.



PRESS CREDENTIALING for the Woman of the Year event will be extremely limited. Please email if you are interested in attending the Zoom webinar with your organization and position. Space is not guaranteed, but we will get back to you if you can attend.

The Hasty Pudding Theatricals is unfortunately unable to put on a full show this year due to Massachusetts State and Harvard College COVID-19 restrictions. The Man and Woman of the Year Events are the only events that HPT is putting on in 2021. We hope to safely return to the stage in 2022. Please reach out to with any questions.


CAMBRIDGE, MA (February 3rd, 2020) – The Hasty Pudding Theatricals, the oldest theatrical organization in the United States, announces BEN PLATT as the recipient of its 2020 Man of the Year Award, and the youngest ever Man of the Year in the 54 years of the award. The Pudding is proud to present this honor to a Tony, Grammy, and Emmy award-winning actor and musician who has made a meaningful impact on Broadway, television, and film.

The Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ Man and Woman of the Year Awards are presented annually to performers who have made lasting and impressive contributions to the world of entertainment. The Man of the Year award was established in 1967. Its past recipients include, among others, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford, Justin Timberlake, Robert Downey Jr., Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Robin Williams.

The Man of the Year festivities, presented by RELATED, Equinox, and SoulCycle, will take place on Friday, February 7th, 2020. The Hasty Pudding Theatricals will host a celebratory roast for Mr. Platt and present him with his Pudding Pot at Farkas Hall, which has been the Pudding’s historic home in the heart of Harvard Square since 1888. A press conference will follow the roast at 8:30pm. Afterwards, the Hasty Pudding Theatricals will perform HPT 172: Mean Ghouls, our second-ever production featuring both men and women in the cast.

“We’re thrilled to honor Ben Platt as our 54th Man of the Year because of the incredible impact he has had on Broadway and in Hollywood at such a young age,” said co-producer Natalie Needle. “As our youngest Man of the Year, Ben has had a remarkable career as an actor and musician. We are also avid musical theater fans, so we are very excited for him to watch our production,” added co-producer Samantha Meade.

Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award winner Ben Platt is currently filming Season 2 of the highly popular Netflix series by Ryan Murphy, The Politician, which he both stars in and executive produces. Ben’s performance in Season 1 earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and the show received a nomination for Best Comedy. Additionally, Ben starred in the film, Run This Town, alongside Damian Lewis and Nina Dobrev, which premiered at last year’s SXSW Film Festival to rave reviews and will be released Spring 2020. It was recently announced that Ben will be starring alongside Beanie Feldstein in the film adaption of the Stephen Sondheim musical Merrily We Roll Along directed by Richard Linklater.

Ben is an Atlantic Records recording artist and dropped his critically acclaimed debut album, Sing To Me Instead, in 2019 along with a new single called “The Rain” which he debuted at last year’s US Open. He performed these songs and more to a sold out crowd in Radio City Music Hall, which was filmed for a Netflix special being released this spring. No stranger to the big screen, Ben is known for his role as Benji Applebaum in Universal Pictures’ smash hits Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2. He has also starred in Ricki and The Flash alongside Meryl Streep and in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, as well as guest starred in the Will & Grace reboot for NBC. He also filmed Broken Diamonds, directed by Peter Sattler.

Platt won the 2017 Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his performance as Evan Hansen, as well as the Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance, making him the youngest actor to win the coveted award. Additionally, Dear Evan Hansen won the Tony Award for Best Musical and the cast recording took home the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album, as well as a Daytime Emmy Award for their performance on The Today Show.

During Dear Evan Hansen’s off-Broadway run at 2econdStage Theatre, Ben was awarded an Obie and Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead, in addition to receiving nominations for the Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama League Award. The musical debuted at Arena Stage in Washington D.C. with Ben originating the role of Evan Hansen. Of his performance, the New York Times declared, “…marvelous young actor Ben Platt is giving a performance that’s not likely to be bettered on Broadway this season.” Deadline applauded it as a “movingly sensitive, career-making performance.”

Ben made his Broadway debut as Elder Cunningham in Broadway’s famed production of Book of Mormon. He first originated the role of Elder Cunningham to critical acclaim in the show’s Chicago production for which he won a Broadway World Chicago Award for Best Actor in a Touring Production. Ben sold out his first solo cabaret show at the popular New York City venue, 54 Below.

He has also starred in the following national tours: Caroline, or Change (directed by George C. Wolfe and Tony Kushner). Regional Credits: The Black Suits (Barrington Stage Company), The Power of Duff (New York Stage and Film, Stephen Belber), Dead End (directed by Nicholas Martin, Ahmanson Theatre), The Music Man, Mame, Camelot, and The Sound of Music (Hollywood Bowl, directed by Gordon Hunt). Concerts: I’m Here (solo show, 54 Below sold-out engagement), The Secret Garden (25th Anniversary). Workshops/Readings: Breaking Bobby Stone (directed by Peter Scolari), Murder at the Gates (directed by Peter Dubois, Steven Sater), Alice By Heart (Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik), Irma La Douce (directed by Rob Ashford, starring Katie Holmes), Bridges of Madison County (directed by Bartlett Sher, Jason Robert Brown).


PRESS CREDENTIALING is open for the Man of the Year event. An online application form can be found at and complete forms may be submitted to Please submit forms by Wednesday, February 5th at 5 PM.

TO PURCHASE TICKETS to the Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ 172nd production, Mean Ghouls, contact the HPT Box Office at 617-495-5205, email, or order online at The show will be performed at Harvard University’s historic Farkas Hall at 12 Holyoke Street from February 7th-March 8th. The company then travels to New York to perform at The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College on March 13th and 14th, followed by performances on March 18th- 20th at Hamilton City Hall in Bermuda.




The Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770’s philanthropic 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. The Institute comprises the Hasty Pudding Club (the oldest social club in the United States), the Hasty Pudding Theatricals (the third oldest theater group in the world after the Comédie-Française and the Oberammergau Passion Play) and the Harvard Krokodiloes (the foremost collegiate a cappella group in the United States). Over the last two centuries, it has grown into a premiere performing arts organization, a patron of the arts and comedy, and an advocate for satire and discourse as tools for change worldwide.


In 1795, twenty-one Harvard students crowded into a dorm room to celebrate the establishment of a new on-campus society. Members pledged to maintain the club’s secrecy and “to cultivate the social affections and cherish the feelings of friendship and patriotism.” Most importantly, they mandated that “the members in alphabetical order shall provide a pot of hasty pudding for every meeting.” With this ritual, the Hasty Pudding Club found its namesake, and the theatrical organization of today found its simpler roots.

The turn of the century saw the introduction of a new tradition into club meetings. In response to increased rowdiness and anarchy, a mock criminal court was improvised to try club members for “insolence” and “contempt of the club.” These trials were a great success, and the club constitution was amended to incorporate these dramatizations into every club meeting. Through the years, these productions became more elaborate, with the addition of costumes and eventually scripts.

In 1844, Harvard senior Lemuel Hayward broke with tradition and secretly arranged the production of a comedic opera, “Bombastes Furioso,” instead of the expected mock trial. Thus, the first Hasty Pudding Show was born, starting a tradition that has continued for 172 productions, interrupted for only four years by the two World Wars.

The modern Pudding Show has evolved into a spectacle beyond anything ever envisioned by the founders of the original secret society. Every year, HPT produces an original, entirely student-written and composed, pun-filled musical extravaganza. Undergraduates are now provided guidance by theatrical veterans, and sets and costumes rival those of many professional productions. The show runs for four weeks in Cambridge before an annual tour in New York City and Bermuda. Some of America’s most prominent personalities got their start in the Pudding, including Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, JFK, Jack Lemmon, Alan Jay Lerner, David Javerbaum, and Rashida Jones.

With the introduction of the Woman of the Year celebration in 1951, and the Man of the Year in 1967, the Pudding has gained an international audience— but remains at its heart an organization driven by the enthusiasm and exuberance of its undergraduate members.

The Pudding Show remains in its essence a no-holds-barred burlesque, now with Harvard students of all genders welcome as cast members on stage.