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MIT student blogger Anna H. '14

Hack Punt Tool: The Musical by Anna H. '14

Now, the music can be yours.




and you should be too.


Because the soundtrack to Hack Punt Tool, a musical about MIT students by MIT students that was a huge success last winter, has finally been released!

A little bit of background, in case you missed the excitement last year: a few members of MIT’s Musical Theatre Guild decided that they wanted to write a musical, so they did. It was named for three words of MIT lingo – hacks refers to the “anonymous technological pranks” set up all over campus, like turning the Green Building into a gigantic tetris game, or putting a police car or a telephone box on the dome. To “punt” is to put work aside in favor of doing something fun – or more simply to not do an assignment, or not study for a test. One might do that because one is “hosed” (way, way too freaking busy). To “tool” is to slave away at problem sets or studying.

For a much better (and more musical) introduction to hacking, listen to the opening number.
The main character: Billy Rogers (Trevor M. ’15), a freshman who arrives at MIT determined (like all MIT freshmen are) to be super hardk0re. In fact, he’s SO DETERMINED to be hardk0re that he sings a song about it, to the chagrin of a frenzied, stressed-out pre-med named Conner Burton, played by yours truly.
As part of their quest to be hardk0re, they get involved in a hack: a plan to construct something on the dome.
They have to deal with the bad guys: the campus police (“CPs”) who, led by Sergeant Bruce E. Sprinkles (played by French House’s Luis O. ’13! Yay! :D) are determined to stamp out this precious part of MIT culture once and for all. They sing two of my favorite songs ever (warning: explicit language, in case the title didn’t make that clear.)

The attempted execution of the hack is accompanied by epic music (like all real hacks):
The central message of the musical can be summed up by the phrase “There’s More to Life Than Tooling”. And, yes, there was epic rooftop singing involved, particularly in the finale:
While you listen to all that, and download the rest of the album, think about the work that went into making it. Of the seven writers, four were full-time undergraduate students at the time the musical was written. And by full-time, I really mean full-time. I lived with Julie (music) and Daniel (lyrics) in French House (they have since graduated and moved away, much to my distress), and I can testify that laws of space and time don’t apply to either of them. Julie was in her senior year, writing her thesis in Mechanical Engineering, singing in concert choir, building a lathe, and building robots. Daniel was a junior UROPing in an inorganic chemistry lab (his supervisor won the Nobel Prize in 2005, nbd), acing five classes as usual, fencing two hours a day five days a week, and dating me; I’ll let you speculate on the relative time consumption and difficulty of each of those activities.
Less than a year after Julie first proposed the idea, there were auditions. There was a trailer. There were hours and hours of rehearsal, packed into the crazy four weeks of MIT’s Independent Activities Period. The actors and actresses simultaneously took classes on classical mechanics, programming, electrical engineering, chocolate fabricating, and goodness knows what else.
Before anyone could possibly feel prepared, it was showtime – and by the last night, we sold out. The Musical Theatre Guild made something like $3000. It was one of our most successful productions, ever. I’m not surprised :)