An Original Musical By MIT Students

Author Archive

HPT Album Now Available on Spotify, iTunes, etc!

Original Cast Album Cover

Hi Hack, Punt, Tool fans! Happy November 1st! We hope that you managed to avoid the Novembat this year.

We’re excited to share with you all that the Hack, Punt, Tool Original Cast Album is now available on Spotify, iTunes, Pandora and YouTube Music!

We hope you had a great Halloween! Happy listening,

-HPT Writers

HPT Revival and Original Cast

Hi everybody,

A lot of the original HPT cast and crew came to see the revival production this IAP!   I asked cast and crew members who shared the same role to get together for a picture. Please enjoy the results!


Tess:  Allison Schneider and Ellena Popova

Corot1    Corot2

Corot: Daniel Gonzalez and Kim Dauber at opening-night Uno’s dinner.


Electra: Kristina Kim and Pauline Varley


Tensor:  Hiccup and Steven Keyes engaged in a game of cat’s cradle.


Faraday:  Alejandro Vientos and Lian Guertin ready for a nap.


Piston: Caroline Aronoff and Allan Sadun


Cops: The Pachino’s: Sami Luis (in spirit, via phone) and Jessica Noss; The Kalf’s:  Taylor Sims and Emily Rosser;  The Claw’s: Noah McDaniel and Rob Morrison; The Sprinkle’s: Jacob Miske and Luis Orrego


Hacksemble: (back from 2017 cast)  Marian Heman-Ackah, Sarah Goodman, Zixi Liu, Max Beeman, Natasha Stark, Sammy Luo, Luke Sciarappa, Alex Martirosiam; (front from the 2012 cast): Jessica Noss and Sally Guthrie


Directors: dRachel Bowens-Rubin, Krista Sergi, Kirsten Olson, and Carrie Fowle

Music Directors

Music/Orchestra Directors: Julie Henion and Kyle Saleeby on the dome.

Ropes Technicians

Rope Technicians: Itaru Hiromi and dRache Bowens-Rubin harnessed in.

Review and Production Photos

We got a great review in the Tech!  Check it out here:

We also have some fabulous production photos taken by Lenny Martinez.  Album is here:

There are only two more performances!  Reserve tickets online.


Tonight’s Show Cancelled

Hello everyone,

As some of you may be aware, MIT is closed today due to the snow.  Unfortunately, this means that our Thursday evening performance is cancelled.  There are still seats on Friday and Saturday that you can reserve.

We are exploring the possibility of adding a matinee on Saturday.  If we decide to do that, we’ll let you know!


E25 Hack

The 2017 showing of Hack, Punt, Tool opened last Friday!

Over the weekend, hackers honored the opening of the show by turning the windows of E25 into a stoplight, reading the letters “HPT.”  The hack was a tribute to the 2007 traffic light hack which inspired the name of the show.


Photo Credit to Tristan Honscheid


HPT – Behind the Scenes Video

Hey all,

Less than a week until Hack, Punt, Tool opens!  Want to know more about the show?  Take a look at the video below!

Reserve Tickets Here



Ticket Reservations are Open!

Hey everyone! I’m excited to let everyone know that ticket reservations are open, and we open this Friday night!

Show times are:
Friday, February 3rd, 8PM
Saturday, February 4th, 8PM
Sunday, February 5th, 2PM*
Thursday, February 9th, 8PM
Friday, February 10th, 8PM
Saturday, February 11th, 8PM

Reserve a ticket here!

*The matinee on February 5th will be followed by a talkback with the writers and revival creative team.

And now, a fun treat from rehearsal last week:


Revival Version – Script and Score

Hey Hack, Punt, Tool fans!

The writing team has spent some time this fall making a few updates to the script and score of the show, and we now have a Revival version!  The new version corrects some typos, updates a few lyrics here and there, and clarifies the Kepler character arc during Act II.  We are pleased that we were able to significantly improve the flow of the show with pretty minimal changes.

Without further ado, here are the script and the score!

In other news, there is a cast now!  If you’ve seen any MTG shows lately, there are some familiar faces, and new ones too!  I will be posting another blog post within a week announcing the cast!  Stay tuned,


Audition Times & Writer’s Note

Hi everybody!

Audition times for the upcoming production of Hack, Punt, Tool have been announced! They are the following dates (email with any questions or to request alternative times):

Wednesday 12/7, 8-10 PM in 50-201

Thursday 12/8, 8-10 PM in W20-407

– Callbacks will be on Saturday, 12/10 3-7 PM in 50-201

We also are excited to share the “note from the writers” that we’ve added to the new version of the HPT script. We are excited to see a fresh production!


HPT is back this IAP!

MTG will be performing Hack Punt Tool again this coming IAP!  They are currently recruiting a producer and directorial staff (director, music director, vocal director, TD, set designer, choreographer) Please email if you are interested. Deadline to apply is Friday, Nov 25th.

We’ve cleaned up the script in a couple of places, and we are excited to see what a new group of students does with the show.  I’m proud to say that with minimal changes, we’ve fixed the things that always bothered me in Wank-Wank-Wank and the Kepler-Corot arc!

The show dates will be Feb 3-4 and 9-11 @ 8pm and a Sunday matinee on Feb 5th @ 2pm at the MIT student center. There will also likely be a talkback after the matinee. Mark your calendars, and keep checking in as we get closer to the show.

More bituminous coal is a comin’!


HPT YouTube Release

Hack Punt Tool is now on Youtube, complete with captions! Share with your friends, family, and frosh:

To celebrate the release, we had a played-from-youtube screening on September 11, 2013, (exactly 1 year and 7 months after HPT’s last stage performance). Over 50 people came to 6-120 for the premier!  The audience included the writers, cast members, old friends, and new frosh. Some awesome people even dressed up for the occasion:


Trevor (Billy) in his regular MIT student wear, Aschneid (Tess) in hacking mode, Rosser (Kalf) posing as Story Jack, and little squishible Novembat (made by Rosser).

DVDs of the performance had been made and distributed to the cast and crew, but after a viewing to Tauntaun’s grad school friends in Lisbon, we quickly realized the benefits of adding captions. It took us about 6 months to pull together the captions and get the videos to youtube, but we think the effort was well worth the result.  Hope you enjoy!

From Tauntaun:

Having been away from MIT for almost a year now, it made me immeasurably happy to see so many old friends together in the same room again. And it was amazing to look around the lecture hall when song came on and to hear not only familiar voices but also brand new voices singing along with vigorous energy. Sure, the lyrics are scrolling along the bottom of the screen, but how did everyone know the show so well?

Listening in on conversations going on around the room, it was clear that many people had developed quite an attachment to the characters and the story of Hack Punt Tool. Call me sappy and sentimental, but I definitely got a bit teary-eyed hearing a group of frosh arguing over whether Corot was justified in his actions towards Kepler, or whether Billy and Tess were *technically* breaking the November rule during Platonic Friends Again, or some other detail of the show that they were critiquing or comparing to their own lives in a genuine and whole-hearted fashion. It both amazes me and makes me super happy that something I helped create is taking on a life of it’s own and connecting new people to an old tradition, where the most important lesson is to work hard on projects you love with people you care about. It reminds me that no matter where I go, MIT will always be home.

So thank you to everyone who have put in countless hours to breathe life into this story, and thank you to everyone who have loved the story enough to give it continued vigor. I really hope we can tell another story together sometime 🙂

From dRachel:

I’m currently working as a researcher in the EAPS department, so I’ve been at MIT since HPT ended.  It continues to surprise me when I overhear people who weren’t involved with the production sing the songs or quote something from HPT.  On occasion, I’ve heard people adopt the language and names that we came up with for HPT to describe a thing or problem. When we started writing, I had some idea about how the show could influence the MIT community, but I wasn’t expecting it to pick up nearly as much as it has.

I’m super happy that something I helped make is being enjoyed long after the production was completed…it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and have an even greater appreciation for MIT.

Who knows, maybe there will be another play or musical from the HPT team in the future?  I’m keeping my fingers crossed, because I would love to work on another project with a team as amazing as this one was.

Serious thanks to all who were involved with the writing and production, and to the old and new Hack, Punt, Tool fans!

Cast Album is Released!

Blog post below.  If you’re only looking to download the album, jump to the bottom for the link.

Wow, amazing that we’re finally able to release the Cast Album.  It’s been a long process for us, I never really expected the album to be such a big job.  It seemed like after writing a musical, releasing an album would be a piece of cake.  Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not…. lol.

Fun factoids:

Number of recording channels:  15  (9 instrumental and 6 vocal)

Total file size of recorded Audacity projects:  30.26 GB

Approximate man-hours spent Mixing and Mastering: 350±50 hours

Number of Song Drafts: 185

Final Album Length: 1:13:05

We originally recorded the album on February 19th, while the music was still fresh in everyone’s minds shortly after the show’s closing.  We were lucky enough to have enough equipment owned by the guild and its members to be able to set up and record the entire session ourselves.  We ran the recording session on MIT’s Kresge mainstage.  It was a grueling all day session, with equipment setup from 8 to noon, recording for about 6 straight hours, and equipment teardown for another 2 hours.  Here’s a fun little peek into the recording session that Daniel Sngiem recorded:

After the recording session, we began mixing and mastering the songs, learning a lot about music production as we went.  All of the recording and nearly all the mastering was done in Audacity.  Many months went by of trying to make progress, but unfortunately, jobs and classes got in the way for everyone.  We were still making progress, but slowly.  Finally at the end of the summer, we set a goal of the end of September for release, and seems that deadlines really do drive progress, as here we are today with a completed album.  It’s been a journey for us, another fun chapter in the life of HPT, and one that we hope you will enjoy!  You can download the album at  Check it out!  And if you like it, share it with your friends and family!


P.S. – Keep an eye out for a new lyrics page over the next three days!

Cast Album Release Date Announced – September 29th

Hello Hack, Punt, Tool fans!

You haven’t heard from us in awhile… but this post brings good news!  The cast album is nearly ready, and will be released on Saturday, September 29th.  We have been tooling furiously over the past several months to mix and master the album and bring you the best possible final product.  Keep an eye on the website for the link to the album!



Where with the album be available?

We will be posting the album for download on  At this time it will not be available anywhere else.

How much will it cost?

The album will be available for free or for a donation.  All donations go to support the MIT Musical Theater Guild.

Can I get a physical CD instead of a download?

We will not be making CD’s.  We hope that those who are technologically savvy can help those who are not by burning them CD’s.



13 Days until Release!


Script & Score Released

HPTFinalScript and HPT PC Score – 2-16-12 are now available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)  license.

Links to them are also on the The Story and The Music pages.

Rachel’s Thesis

Writer and Co-Director Rachel Bowens-Rubin has been working hard on her thesis since Hack, Punt, Tool ended, and she has proof!

Just look at this cover page!  But there are probably a few things that she should change once she can get HPT off her mind.


Is it the end, or just the beginning of… Hack, Punt, Two‽‽‽‽‽‽‽

At 6AM on Sunday, February 12, 2012, Rachel Bowens-Rubin announced her intention to write another musical.  See how the other writers respond (and the context) here:


Blocking Distraction Tango

Watch choreographer Danbee Kim and assistant choreographer Cynthia Lu block Distraction Tango:


Danbee’s Script

Danbee Kim (Choreographer, Writer) spent a lot of time with post-its and pencil, mapping out details of the show like platform arrangements and changes inter- and intra-scene.

Oh, I guess some of it probably involves choreography of people too.

Publicity Designs

Three poster designs, followed by three postcard designs:

(Click to see full size versions)


Counterbalance Rappel

Before we blocked the counterbalance rappelling scene, I organized a “learn to rappel” session with a few of the cast and friends.  Among the cast (and dir staff) that came were Dgonz (Corot), Miles (Kepler), Jen (hacksemble), Molly (hacksemble), Jonny (Ryan), Caroline (Piston), and Tauntaun (writer and choreo).

Here’s a picture of Jen’s first descent!

Since before auditions, I was thinking of organizing a session like this so that the actors who played Kepler and Corot could gain more experience doing ropework.  By my rappelling luck, we ended up casting dgonz as Corot, who has a fair amount of experience rappelling (in fact he helped me instruct the session with Jonny), and Miles as Kepler, who is an amazing secret ninja and picked up on everything really quickly. By the end of the night, Dgonz and Miles attempted something beyond a usual intro to rappelling skill… a real counterbalance rappel!

For those of you unfamiliar with counterbalance rappelling (and who didn’t understand the explanation in the show), in a counterbalance rappel the anchor is set up such that the rope is not tied off to anything.  Instead it’s wrapped around an object such that if you pull on one side of the rope, the rope comes off, but if you pull on both sides together the rope stays.  [Quick aside: I’ve used this technique once in real life in a canyon to rappel off a giant sandstone archway. My counterbalance partner was Itaru (secondary writer and unofficial ropes technician)]

Miles was completely up for trying the counterbalance rappel and eventually convinced Dgonz to do it (which is ironically opposite of their characters in HPT).   As they were descending, they sang “Counterbalance” which sounded incredibly beautiful echoing through the many stories of the staircase.  Check out the video!

Double thanks to Dgonz and Jonny who helped me rig and instruct.

-Rachel Bowens-Rubin ’12ish (Co-Director and Writer)

Webmaster’s note: This was performed with permission from MIT’s EHS department and the manager of the building.


Zach’s Still In Shock

Oh man… it’s the second weekend of “Hack, Punt, Tool,” and I’m still kind of in shock that we actually wrote a musical. I mean, yeah, I remember all the days/dawns/nights/timeless-zones, but there’s some small part of me that is almost unwilling to believe that we actually made this thing. When I was little, musicals were always associated with strange clumps of words: Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Gilbert and Sullivan, Rodgers and Hart, whatever. Musicals were these ready-made things that people performed. No one actually wrote them. I certainly never would write one. I guess it’s happened though, but it feels so impossible that I’ve helped create one of these things. I guess nothing’s impossible.*

*perpetual motion machines, Carnot engines, whatever.

-Zach Barryte ’12 (Writer)

HPT In Sala

This covers almost every moment of Hack, Punt, Tool in Sala, from the beginning of Put-In to Opening Night, other than long boring patches at night that were edited out, a number of camera crashes, and a few times that people were working and the camera didn’t get started.

Both time lapses were taken using a Canon A495 mounted on a GorillaPod Joby with an external power supply (total cost <$100 from Amazon).  The A495 was running CHDK open source firmware and the Ultra Intervalometer script.  Images were then renamed sequentially using a simple .vbs script. After iPhoto/iMovie miserably failed to build a time lapse from even a few thousand images (and I had tens of thousands) I used Time Lapse Assembler on OS X to create the movies, and edited the Sala movie using iMovie.

The whole process was relatively straightforward, but there were a few hurdles:

  1. The camera would sometimes run for days with no problems, and sometimes turn itself off every few seconds.  I haven’t identified whether this is an issue with the Ultra Intervalometer script, with the CHDK beta version running on the camera, a problem with the physical power supply, or something else.
  2. The Ultra Intervalometer script uses a simple timing loop that is configured for a different camera model, and I didn’t take the time to experiment and tweak it for the A495, so an interval of “10 seconds” ended up being more like 15 seconds.  Not a big deal for this project.
  3. Dealing with about 50,000 individual files is not convenient on any OS, even if they’re each a small 640×480 image.  On OS X, simple “move” operations are very slow in the Finder, but using the terminal or a bash script is much speedier.  iPhoto isn’t real happy about importing more than a few thousand images at a time, and may crash, or think it has succeeded but have some blank images.  And iMovie is great for making a time-lapse from a handful of photos… but even a thousand makes it bog down to unusability, even on a modern high-end iMac.  Time Lapse Assembler had no trouble with the same task.
  4. Several parts of the process would probably be much easier with a dedicated device like a Brinno TLC200, which was announced in early January but isn’t available yet.

-Alex Flagg French ’05 (Technical Director)

In the MTG Set Shop

A time lapse movie covering almost every moment that we spent working on HPT in the MTG Set shop.  You should start to see some familiar pieces coming together.



-Alex Flagg French ’05 (Technical Director)