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viewpoint

Legally positive

| Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The same song has been stuck in my head for about three weeks now, and it’s one you might not be familiar with unless bubbly show tunes saturated with pink and infused with smiles and jazz squares are your kind of thing. Not that they’re necessarily my kind of thing, but I’m not sure any healthy human being could resist the temptation to sing along to all the candy-coated cuteness of “Legally Blonde: The Musical’s” chipper melodies and peppy dance numbers.

And with a number like “Positive” — the tune that’s been coursing through my head as of late — there’s really no harm done. “Keep it positive as you drag her to the floor,” Elle Woods’s sorority sisters sing to her after she finds out her ex-boyfriend has a new girlfriend. “Keep it positive as you pull her hair and call her…” well, a word The Observer probably won’t print.

Okay, maybe violence and name-calling aren’t exactly positive. But the idea of staying positive, and the bright melody, are nonetheless beneficial. We’re reaching that point where Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) starts hitting hard and Valentine’s Day/Single Awareness Day (also SAD…) is lurking. We’re all back in the swing of things, and stuff starts getting real — do you have an internship yet? Better, a job offer? You’re only a sophomore? Too bad, you should have it figured out by now.
This near-daily dose of pink and pep has been good for me. I’m working with the Pasquerilla East Musical Company (PEMCo) as publicity director for their upcoming production of Legally Blonde. Re-entering the theater world has been a long time coming for me. Back in the day, my middle-school credits included, I kid you not, Coach Bolton in “High School Musical,” for which I wore a mustache made of real human hair.

Commitments and a lack of confidence in my own vocal chops led me to leave the “chapel of the arts,” as “High School Musical’s” Ms. Darbus would say, but a piece of my soul always craved the perfect combination of escapism and reality I found in musical theater. Coming back has taught me there’s a lot more to a two-hour musical than meets the eye; every minute detail matters in a manufactured world.

Theater just makes me happy. Being a part of it again has filled a void in my heart that races when I see an exquisite tap number, that thrives on expressionism and that stops when I hear someone nail the highest note of a song.
Being on the stage isn’t my calling, but maybe being on the team is. I don’t have everything figured out, but helping create a full-scale production has introduced me to some crazy possibilities that are available in the real world. Even if Elle Woods’ Harvard is the stuff of fantasy, someone has to make that come to life on stage, and see it happen. That someone might as well be me.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Lesley Stevenson

Lesley Stevenson is a senior news writer for The Observer after previously serving as News Editor and an Assistant Managing Editor. She is a senior from Memphis, Tennessee, studying Film, Television and Theatre (FTT) and American Studies and living in Breen-Phillips Hall. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @lcstevenson, and visit her website at lcstevenson.wordpress.com

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  • A Casual Observer

    I’m “legally positive” that the purpose of this article was to gloat. Seems like Ms. Stevenson has a solid future in not-so-humble bragging ahead of her.