Though there were plenty of skirts and heels in the parade that wound through the streets of Cambridge Thursday afternoon, Ren’eacute;e Zellweger, honored as the Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ Woman of the Year, was the only actual lady of the bunch.
The actress rode to the New College Theater, where she was roasted by the troupe and presented with the Pudding Pot, the trophy each year’s honorees receives, in the back of a silver Bentley convertible, accompanied by the troupe ‘-‘- all Harvard men ‘-‘- dressed in drag. Despite the 13-degree temperature, Zellweger and the troupe smiled and waved to attendees along the route.
The Hasty Pudding, a Harvard theatrical group, honored their Woman of the Year this week; the Man of the Year honor will be given to James Franco next week, before the opening of their annual all-male drag show.
Since its inception in 1844, the Hasty Pudding has presented its student-written ‘drag’ show every year, except during both World Wars, according to its website. This year marks its 161st anniversary.
While exiting the Bentley, Zellweger entertained the crowds.
‘Ladies first!’ Zellweger yelled, as she signaled the drag-clad men to exit the car before she disembarked and vanished through the gauntlet of cops into the theater.
The Hasty Pudding’s website said the troupe chose Zellweger because of the honors she has received ‘nearly every major accolade in the industry, among them an Academy Award, three Golden Globe Awards, two SAG Awards, a BAFTA Award and a Broadcast Film Critics Award.’
‘She’s talented,’ Karen Cross, of Jamaica Plain, said. ‘And she’s a big name.’
Cross said had the choice been someone not as famous, she would not have traveled the distance from Jamaica Plain to Harvard.
Alicia Zitka, the current Miss Massachusetts, told the Daily Free Press that she attended the event ‘to support the Hasty Pudding theater group, of course.’
Attendees said they enjoyed the spectacle of more than 20 men dressed in drag, as well as police cars and fire trucks escorting a celebrity through the streets.
‘It is a fun event, a time to also make fun of an amazing individual’s accomplishments,’ Tyler Goin, a Harvard senior, said.
Goin, who attended last year’s event where Charlize Theron and Christopher Walken were both honored, said that he was excited for the event.
‘Our son is a stagehand for Hasty Pudding,’ Bobby Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick was with his wife Margaret and said they were excited to see the parade and roasting. In the past they had attended the event ‘only on television, where it was warm,’ Fitzpatrick said.’
Those who did not hold tickets to the roasting, like Goin and the Fitzpatricks, said they came to the parade for different reasons.
‘I am here to get Ren’eacute;e Zellweger’s signature for my book,’ Dean Blake said.
Blake said he has been collecting autographs for over 20 years.