Why we were inspired to write Hack, Punt, Tool — a musical about MIT student culture

Hi everybody!

It’s the Hack Punt Tool team here.  We were asked to write a bit about our experiences as writers of a show about MIT.

Hack Punt Tool, for those unfamiliar, is an original musical written about the MIT undergraduate student experience, created by MIT students and alums.  Our adventure began after a performance of MTG’s 2011 IAP production of Jekyll and Hyde, when dRache (co-author) turned to Julie (composer) and said, “Man, wouldn’t it be cool if there were a musical about MIT?”  Julie said, “Actually… I’ve been wanting to write a musical for a while.”

The the first line was written in late January 2011, and the final piece was performed almost exactly 1 year later including full orchestrations, a modular set, intricately designed costumes, the works.  We held 3 readings, went through over 150 google docs of drafts, and shared 30-some sunrises together (more extensive chart here!).

Why did we pour so much of our souls into this show?  Well, frankly, we care a whole hell of a lot about MIT and we wanted to tell a story about what it’s like to be a student here.

There’s something inherently unique about the culture at MIT that causes otherwise normal people to abandon their sleep and sanity in pursuit of something they’re passionate about.  Being surrounded by a group of people who can all become passionate about something, whether it’s science and technology, or art and music, has a way of breeding these kinds of ideas. For us, Hack, Punt, Tool was one of those projects.   As hard as it was to write a full length original musical (and trust us, it’s nontrivial), the excitement we all felt for MIT student culture made it easy for us to keep up the energy for an entire year and make the show a reality.  Hack, Punt, Tool was truly a labor of love, and for many of us, it is still the most intense project we have ever worked on.

As we say in the show, “there’s more to MIT than earning your degree… There is more to life than tooling.”  MIT’s not just some soulless place of academic learning.  It’s a place to share life and work together to solve problems you care about with people who care about you.

That’s how we remember MIT, and we hope it continues to be a place like this.

If you are interested in learning more about the show, here are the links to the the HPT website (which has the script and score), the free-to-download soundtrack, and a captioned video recording of one of the performances.


On behalf of the Hack Punt Tool team,
dRache (co-author)
Julie (composer)
TaunTaun (co-author)
Zach (co-author)