The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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People sit inside of Redhawk Coffee on Meyran Avenue.
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People sit inside of Redhawk Coffee on Meyran Avenue.
The best cafés to caffeinate and cram for finals
By Irene Castillo, Senior Staff Writer • April 22, 2024
Fresh Perspective | Final Farewell
By Julia Smeltzer, Digital Manager • April 19, 2024

A Tab Bit of Tea | Feeling “So Much Better” with Legally Blonde

A Tab Bit of Tea is a biweekly blog about Elizabeth’s adventures in the art and entertainment world.
A+Tab+Bit+of+Tea+%7C+Feeling+%E2%80%9CSo+Much+Better%E2%80%9D+with+Legally+Blonde
TPN File Illustration

Sororities, Ireland, and LOTS of pink!! It can only mean one hit musical — Legally Blonde.

For the past four weeks, the Musical Theatre Club at Pitt went through the process of rehearsing, teching, and performing this show, as a completely student-run production. You may have seen the promotional posts or even the show itself, but I have an inside scoop as I was a part of the process myself. 

Two of my best friends were the director and co-music director for the show, while many other friends were a part of the cast. I heard the early conversations at the very start of this process in August, to the post-show blues just a week ago. There were ups and downs, a bitterly gruesome rehearsal schedule, and the cast shenanigans, but I was there to aid my friends every step of the way. 

I remember that the very beginning of this process was less about what the show would be, but more so about if the show could even happen. Due to scheduling conflicts, the Musical Theatre Club found themselves in a tight position as it was nearly impossible to find a 6-week block of time during the semester to rehearse for the show. The question of if the show could even happen was on the table. 

As the largest and most involved MTC production of the year, the annual book musical has always been an incredibly important and integral part of the club. Thus, it was hard to imagine a future where the musical didn’t exist. However, our fearless director, Ty’Mariya Moss, came up with a solution after much deliberation. She proposed condensing the usual 6-week process into one that would last four weeks. Personally, I have never seen a full-book musical rehearsed in just four weeks, but Ty’Mariya was sure it could be done. And spoiler — she was right.

This was just one of the first trials and tribulations the club was faced with. After just a handful of rehearsals, a friend of mine found herself promoted from a mere cast member, to the co-music director. While quite the gifted musician, she hadn’t played piano in a while but took on the challenge anyway. And for the next four weeks, she acted double duty, both on stage and off. If anything, I learned very quickly that my friends are the most capable and brave women I know. They saw the challenges ahead, and even though they were unsure, they knew no one was going to do it for them, and for the sake of the club, they took on unimaginable feats. 

Oddly, I found myself accidentally thrust into this musical by sheer whimsy and weaseling. I had always wanted to work on an MTC musical, but had previously been busy during past productions. But seeing my friends every day talk about rehearsal or the latest “tea” with the show did give me a little bit of FOMO. I wanted the inside jokes, and I wanted to be in that room, so I got to scheming how I could get there.

I resolved to find the job on the show with the lowest stakes and lowest commitment. So I chose to be the sound designer. Normally, a sound designer on a professional musical would have a plethora of actual work to do, but this was a student musical on crunch time, so we were picking up whatever we could find. My job simply involved moving performance tracks from the supplier to the computer in the theater. A simple drag-and-drop task. The club was not looking for complexity, just someone to get the job done that would save them a few hours of labor, and I was that someone. 

However, I should have known that some tasks are much easier than they seem. Dealing with a few days of back-and-forth account sharing, password resets, and emails to administration, I jumped through a few more hoops than anticipated. My hour task quickly became 3 days’ worth. But after the small ordeal, my job was technically done. Of course, I wasn’t going to stop there. I had my in, I was officially a part of the show. And so I went to rehearsal and started getting to know everyone.

The week of rehearsals before the performances begin is my favorite. The show is nearly complete at this point, and so I get to watch those last steps before everything is ready to take off. And watching my friends sing and dance and make witty comebacks at unlikeable characters is one of the truest joys of my life. Even better is sharing the company of the wonderful cast, creative team, and crew in the audience. I love hearing the same joke for the 8th time, looking over at my friend in the seat next to me and laughing my head off. The joy that show tunes and group dances bring me is unparalleled. I think I always end up channeling an alternate version of myself that was a performer in another life. Whatever magical spell comes over me in a rehearsal room is infectious and the atmosphere is something I crave over and over again, which is what I felt on this show. 

The show was filled with new faces, people doing and trying things that they never had before, and everyone knocked it out of the park. I couldn’t have been more proud of the team. The best part of bringing along new people to theatre is seeing the new ideas that they produce. I did this show two years ago, so it’s hard to get that version out of my head. However, this production breathed new life. The characters felt more modern, and the designs more contemporary. I really learned to fall in love with this production. 

Some of my favorite things about this production were the small easter eggs placed around the show. For instance, the lights become a rainbow color palette for the song “Gay or European,” and they rep green and orange hues for “Ireland.” The Redbull cans in Elle’s room were the personal contributions of the club’s Designer in Residence. These small details are my favorite aspects to point out to friends. They are the personal touches, the details of life that make the show what it is. It’s not just any production of Legally Blonde, it’s the MTC version, and they truly made it their own. 

I feel so lucky that I was able to be a part of this production. I got to laugh every night and hang out with my friends. I even ended up doing more than the bare minimum for my job. However, the greatest part was creating something that we were not only proud of, but also one where we truly got to enjoy and laugh along.