Keenan hosts its 48th annual Revue to a sold-out Stepan Center

The men of Keenan Hall took the stage for the 48th annual “Keenan Revue” before a full Stepan Center on the weekend of February 22. The theme for this year’s Revue was “Et tu, Revuetè?: A Roman Revue,” a reference to a line from William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar that was expanded to include a broader Roman theme.

On the selection of the theme, Director Jack Lewis told the Rover, “The theme is something we discuss[ed] all the way back in October and November at our initial staff meetings with our 39-person staff … We really wanted to do something that wasn’t necessarily pop-culture themed” as “the past two years have been ‘High School Revuesical’ and ‘Back to the Revueture.’”

Lewis continued, “We thought we could integrate it into a ton of elements in the show … Here, because the Rome theme is so widespread, we could include Roman songs, toga costumes for everyone … there were just endless opportunities.”

Leading up to the show, Keenan residents participated in Rome-inspired promotional events, including a reenactment of the assassination of Julius Caesar in North Dining Hall, a chariot racing competition to earn tickets as prizes, and a day where the Keenan Knights wore togas to class.

Holy Cross senior Brian Murphy praised the theme, saying, “I like how the theme isn’t just a copy of something that already exists, like a movie. It feels like its own thing. The graphics and tickets were amazing, especially since they weren’t just a redone trademark that I’ve seen before. They made me excited to go to the show.”

Senior Mattie Lossing reflected on this year’s Revue, saying, “As someone who’s been to the last three Revues, this one was my favorite. They did a good job integrating the theme into the show with the costumes during performances and the songs that they chose. Whereas the last Revue didn’t really feel like High School Musical, this felt like a Roman Revue.”

The Keenan Revue draws in an audience of 6,000 students annually across all three nights. In previous years, tickets were sold in the LaFortune Ballroom, but due to the remodeling of the second floor of LaFortune Student Center and the construction of the PwC-funded Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, tickets for the show were distributed in the Dahnke ballroom for a second year in a row. All nights were sold out by the end of distribution.

Though all three shows have traditionally started at 7 p.m., the Saturday show began at 4 p.m. this year to avoid a time conflict with the Bengal Bouts finals.

Co-producer Domenic Fabe told the Rover, “We started the Saturday show early due to a conflict with the final round of Bengal Bouts. We as a Keenan Kommunity have a lot of involvement in Bengal Bouts,” including two Keenan residents who were scheduled to fight in the finals. Fabe continued, “After trying unsuccessfully to move the weekend during which the Revue would take place, it just made sense for us to move the start of the Saturday show that way we could guarantee the involvement of every Keenan guy across all three shows.”

The Revue is funded entirely by Keenan alumni, allowing tickets to be free for current students. In lieu of paying for tickets, attendees are encouraged to donate money to Dismas House, a non-profit organization that provides housing and educational opportunities for former prisoners, helping them transition back into society.

Junior Evan Hartman, who serves as Keenan Hall’s Dismas Commissioner, described the special relationship that Keenan has with Dismas House, stating, “Every week, Knights of Keenan Hall cook and serve dinner for the residents of the Dismas House. During dinner, we engage in dialogue and share our oftentimes different perspectives.”

Hartman described the experience as “incredibly rewarding,” as it provides “insight into the challenges faced by the formerly incarcerated.” Hartman continued, “It has also helped me to be more mindful of the difficulties faced by this disenfranchised demographic.”

Sophomore Thomas Mazzurana, who was a singer in the Revue’s band, reflected on his involvement, “It has been an incredible experience these past two years. I have been able to creatively express myself through music with the Revue Band.”

Speaking of the preparation for the Revue, Mazzurana told the Rover that rehearsals “start once the spring semester begins; these rehearsals take place on Saturday mornings and the early afternoon.”

Additionally, all students involved with the show must attend rehearsals during “Tech Week,” the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of the week leading up to the Revue, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. 

Fabe described Tech week, saying, “Tech week is always a grind. It’s a minimum 6-hour commitment for everyone involved with the show in any capacity and oftentimes even more than that for some people.” 

Fabe described the experience as a community-building exercise, with the opportunity for everyone to perfect their role, saying, “there are plenty of mistakes that occur along the way, but as the week progresses, we get more and more dialed in. With patience, the grind of Tech Week makes Thursday, Friday, and Saturday so much more worth it.”

After narrowing down the 70 original skits to the final selection used for the show, the head staff is “very proactive [in] reaching out to student groups,” to review each skit, according to Lewis. He continued, “We are really mindful of what exactly we want to present to them. We don’t want to often put them in a tough position where they have to axe a bunch of things.” Despite this mindfulness, Lewis recognizes the importance of reaching out to different cultural groups, because “it is 200 guys making a show and that’s not exactly the most diverse perspective.”

An event technician at EventSys, the audio visual production company responsible for setting up the show’s technical equipment, told the Rover, “I’ve been working long enough to remember a time before these skits had to be approved by all sorts of groups. Back then, the Revue was far more politically incorrect, and the students did not hold back.”

According to Lewis, however, the involvement of these student groups is vital to the Revue’s success, as “It’s always been our paramount goal to make the Revue a fun, accepting, and inclusive thing enough for everyone … so, the involvement from PrismND, Diversity Council, MSPS, and Res Life is absolutely critical. We wouldn’t have the Revue without them.”

Known for covering an array of contemporary campus issues, The Revue included satirical commentary on Fr. Jenkins’ retirement and selection as commencement speaker, the demolition of Fisher and Pangborn Halls, and the campus-wide electric scooter ban.

Another key staple of the Revue is the inclusion of targeted jokes against other dorms, often poking fun at a specific dorm stereotype. Among these jokes included lines such as, “Ryan’s personality is Canada Goose” in the skit “Super Smick,” a reference to Breen-Phillips Hall as “The white whale” in “Random Roommate,” and the line“She can barely see St. Ed’s Ken” in the Barbie spoof, “Trouble in the Dreamhouse”. 

Lossing appreciated the campus references, saying, “I think that the dorm humor and stereotypes are an important part of bringing the whole campus community together. They’re not always correct, of course, but sometimes I find myself agreeing with a line about Howard, and all I can do is laugh.”

A freshman in Pasquerilla West commented on the Revue in a more critical light: “I thought that the Revue fulfilled its purpose of being entertaining in an unhinged way. The production was impressive, the music was fairly well done, and the majority of the jokes landed. While I would not say that these things ‘make up for’ the shameless disgustingness, I think it is important to recognize what the performance’s aim was when reviewing the Revue.”

Mazzurana, reflecting on the significance of the Revue, told the Rover, “The Revue is one of a kind. It is an unmatched opportunity for the Knights of Keenan Hall to bond … Seeing the student body collectively come to Stepan and watch our production is incredible; hearing tremendous amounts of cohesive laughter not only makes me smile, but makes me proud to be a Keenan Knight. Long live the Revue!”

Jose Rodriguez is a senior studying computer science and theology. He served on the Keenan Revue staff for the past two years as a graphic designer. Jose wrote this article on his floor because his futon was being used as a prop for the Revue. Invite him to write on your floor by emailing him at

Photo Credit: Keenan Revue

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