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Legally Blond: USU professor smooches student in stage drama

November 19th, 2012 Posted in Arts and Life

By Heidi Smith

LOGAN—“Legally Blonde: The Musical,” which concluded its performances last week, made some Utah State University students uncomfortable.

One scene in particular has caused some controversy on campus. Kayli Jackson, a USU student who is starring as the lead Elle Woods in the drama about a sorority girl in law school, kissed her real-life USU teacher Richie Call onstage. Call is a visiting professor in the Theatre Arts Department.

“I wouldn’t say it’s unethical, but it is definitely not the best practice,” said Alanna Hill, assistant director of Student Involvement and Leadership at USU. “As a professional that works with students I would never put myself in that situation.”

Some students who attended the musical were surprised to find out that Call was Jackson’s professor.

“I feel like that parallels the whole storyline of the musical really well,” said Trent Morrison, a USU student who attended the musical. “It’s strange that he plays her professor on stage and is also her professor in real life. I personally would feel really uncomfortable about that.”

Students from the Theatre Arts Department said the onstage kiss was nothing out of the ordinary. But outside the department, some students felt it was inappropriate.

“I’m really surprised the department would allow that,” Morrison said. “I don’t know how it couldn’t be awkward with your teacher after that. It just seems very scandalous to me.”

Theatre student Katie Francis was in a similar situation when she was required to kiss Call onstage for her performance in “Big River” earlier this semester.

“If I had to kiss my physics teacher that would be ’way different than having to kiss a theatre teacher,” Francis said. “The theatre department is different in that way.”

Francis says her relationship with Call remained unchanged after their onstage kiss. “Richie conducts himself with such professionalism,” Francis said. “He has a really good relationship with his students.”


  1. One Response to “Legally Blond: USU professor smooches student in stage drama”

  2. By S. Wilson on Nov 29, 2012

    So in other words, the assistant director of Student Involvement and Leadership at USU, and others, can not distinguish between reality and theater? This was an onstage/in-character/drama, that included a kiss that has aroused perplexion, concern and discomfort. Therefore if she pulled a gun to shoot him on stage/in-character, as part of the dramatic work, they would all go running and screaming from the theater, calling the police as they had just witnessed a crime?
    These people seem to be unable to differentiate between reality and fantasy. They are not discussing what the dramatic piece has to say about, or reflect on, the real relationships that occur between faculty and students, but instead confuse the two? What a pitiful and sorrowful state of mind and education must prevail passing itself off as education. I hope this is not reflective of the ability and state of education across the country. Or else the verbal assaults and concern over Bert and Ernie’s living condition will indeed become something to worry about.

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