Highly popular student show returns in full force
Among Notre Dame’s many historic traditions, few student-run events can boast the professional quality of the Keenan Revue. First performed in 1976, the two-hour long music and comedy show performed by the men of Keenan Hall returned for its 46th annual installment this year from February 10-12.
The Keenan Revue generates some of the highest turnout of any student-run event on campus. This year, it sold about 6,000 total tickets for the three nights it was performed. Performed live in the Stepan Center, all benefits went to support Dismas House, a local charity for those recently released from incarceration.
The show lived up to the students’ enthusiasm, especially among the freshman and sophomore classes. Due to COVID-19 policy, last year’s show was performed in a modified fashion in the football stadium, and this year’s performance was the first time the classes of 2024 and 2025 were able to experience the Revue in its fullness.
A freshman resident of Alumni Hall went into the show unsure of what to expect, but by the closing act he was blown away by the skill and humor of the performers. “That was absolutely amazing,” he said as he left the building. “I’m really glad I decided to go.”
This year’s production featured elaborate lighting, sound, and even smoke effects—none of which were prominent at last year’s outdoor performance. The performers also kept the audience captivated through exceptional talent, singing, dancing, and acting..
The revue is known for its raunchy humor, particularly its two strip-tease acts. Some students thought this part of the show went too far. A resident of Alumni Hall who asked to remain anonymous said the stripping felt “uncomfortable” to watch, and that he wished the dancers wouldn’t have removed quite so much clothing.
Others, such as a sophomore resident of Pasquerilla West, didn’t mind the routine at all, saying it was “funny” and that the bit was more about its own absurdity than the stripping itself.
Ultimately, the show is built around much more than this shock-value comedy. It features musical acts, pop-culture parodies, and creatively lampoons many parts of the Notre Dame community, such as campus dining options, the Career Center, University President Fr. Jenkins, and several dorm communities.
Business graduate student and Alumni Hall Assistant Rector Austin Graber was amazed by the professional quality of the show. As a graduate student, he had never heard of the Keenan Revue until this year, but was delighted by the performance.
“I was blown away,” he said. “It was showcasing very bright and talented individuals at Notre Dame coming together to put together a good show. For them to be able to put together two hours of good comedy was amazing, and I really enjoyed watching it.”
In addition to being a source of weekend entertainment for the student body, the Keenan Revue also helps build community among the men of Keenan Hall. As sophomore resident Alex Wasinger put it, “The Revue is one of my favorite parts of Notre Dame. It really shows the brotherhood that Keenan develops between its members as we work together to put on a professional-grade production.”
Robbie Frei, a senior in the dorm, echoed that sentiment: “At the end of the day, everyone has their favorite skits, but the best part about the Revue is building friendship. There are so many incredible people in the dorm I just wouldn’t have known otherwise.”
Much like the university itself, Keenan Hall prides itself on its rich tradition and strong community. Nothing expresses this quite like the Keenan Revue, which combines goofy college humor with the genuine brotherhood and professional effort required to put on a well-run performance.
To quote Robbie Frei once more: “There’s nothing at Notre Dame quite like the Revue. It’s been such a joy to always have this to look forward to each February, and I will miss it dearly. Long live the Revue!”
Jack McEnery is a sophomore PLS major with Digital Marketing and Theology minors living in Alumni Hall. He can usually be found reading in the PLS lounge while consuming copious quantities of caffeine, and is quite comfortable collecting questions, concerns, or chocolate chip cookies from anyone. You can email him at email@example.com (especially if you have chocolate chip cookies).
Photo credit: Keenan Revue on Twitter @keenanrevue