Keenan Tradition Makes 47th Annual Debut

The Keenan Revue raised the curtain to a sold-out crowd for its 47th annual performance the weekend of February 23. The men of Keenan Hall performed their music and comedy show to a packed Stepan Center. The theme for this year’s production was “High School Revuesical.” 

The Keenan Revue is one of the best-attended student-run events on campus. This year, nearly 5,000 tickets were sold, with about 1,600 students attending the show in person each night it was performed. Additionally, those who weren’t able to get tickets could watch a live-stream from anywhere on campus.

In addition to providing a weekend of entertainment for the Notre Dame tri-campus community, the show also raises money to support Dismas House, a transitional home for individuals recently released from incarceration, with whom Keenan Hall has a long-standing partnership. 

Some of those who saw the show for the first time were surprised at the scale and professional quality of the event. Ryan Murray, a freshman in Alumni Hall, said of the experience, “It was larger than life, way bigger than I expected. The production was well done, and the skits were creative and entertaining. I could tell they had been putting a lot of hard work into it.”  

The Revue traditionally includes a fair bit of raunchy humor, featuring two strip-tease acts and a number of suggestive skits, but some viewers thought the show was particularly sexually charged this year. Kyle Elliott, a resident of Alumni Hall, said, “Crude humor has its time and place, and the Revue is the perfect opportunity to make those sorts of jokes, but I think they could have had fewer. As a viewer, I was expecting them in every skit, and that took away from the shock value.” A senior resident of Stanford Hall seconded that point, saying, “This was the raunchiest Revue I’ve seen in my time here.”

Nevertheless, the Revue is about far more than bawdy jokes and shocking antics. The show parodies popular culture, features several talented musical acts, and pokes fun at various dorm communities and campus-wide events at Notre Dame. Freshman Guy Maiorano thought the jokes were funny and in reasonably good taste, saying, “I thought most of them landed well, and it’s good for the campus to make fun of things, understanding that everything is done in good humor and we can all laugh together.” Another freshman viewer, Alex Schumann, wished the show hadn’t singled out some dorms more than others, saying, “They went a little heavy on BP and a few other dorms. They could have spread it out more to be more well-rounded.” 

Murray thought the Notre Dame-specific humor helped the student body feel more united, saying, “I think it’s great to have such a unique tradition to showcase the talent of Keenan Hall residents and bring the campus together.” 

The Revue also unites the Keenan Hall community. Keenan rector Bobby Nichols said while thanking the men of his dorm for their dedication during the performance, “This show brings the community together in otherwise impossible ways.” Keenan off-campus senior Josh Gilchrist added further detail, saying, Every year, I’ve looked forward eagerly to the many sweaty hours spent in the Keenan basement and in the beautiful Stepan Center putting on the Revue. No other student tradition on campus gets that many people together.” [Editor’s note: Josh Gilchrist serves as executive editor for the Rover]

Gilchrist spoke of the importance of the Revue for Keenan Hall, saying, This combination of crass humor, surprisingly professional production, and fraternal community is a unique and special expression of Notre Dame tradition. Despite the arguably questionable morality of much of the Revue, I hope that this event that bonds the Keenan Knights and allows campus to laugh at itself never goes away. 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 (especially if you have chocolate chip cookies).

Photo Credit:  Promotional Material for Review

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