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Thursday, June 20, 2024
The Observer

'High School Revuesical': Keenan Hall hosts 47th annual Revue

“I think that we are going to find ways to disappoint our parents that nobody thought was even possible.”

That is how Sammy Kacius, a senior in Keenan Hall, describes the 47th annual Keenan Revue.

Kacius is the director of the Revue, which will kick off Thursday in the Stepan Center and run until Saturday. The Revue is Keenan Hall’s signature event, and this year, the theme is “High School Revuesical.”

“It just felt like the theme to do,” Kacius said of the “High School Revuesical” decision. “You get all the character tropes that you can put in there, you get the music — everything about it is just so revue-able.”

The decision process for the theme begins in the fall semester, when the Revue staff posts pieces of paper around the dorm for Keenan residents to write ideas on. The staff then selects the final theme from the crowdsourced list.

Bobby Nichols, the rector of Keenan Hall, said the theme decision isn’t just about what is funniest.

“The theme doesn't necessarily matter [in the show] beyond the theme skit,” Nichols explained. “What really matters is: How do we market it? What's the logo going to look like?”

After the theme is decided, the rector, director and executive producers finalize music and host skit try-outs. Any member of Keenan Hall can write a skit and pitch it to the Revue staff. After skit callbacks, the script is finalized and each role is cast. 

Nick Slusher is one of two executive producers for the show, and he said his role is slightly different from the directors.

“The director is very much in charge of the show itself — the comedy, the way the skits are laid out, the blocking, all that good stuff,” Slusher said. “The producers are more in charge of the logistics — behind the scenes stuff to make sure that the show is running smoothly.”

Tickets for the show were distributed last Monday in Dahnke ballroom. Alumni entirely cover the cost of the show, so students were given tickets for free — with a limit of 2 tickets per student ID. 

“We are expecting about 1,600 people a night,” Slusher said. The Revue staff reserves seating for Keenan residents and VIP audience members — alumni and families of performers — before distributing the remaining tickets to students.

Instead of charging for tickets, Keenan collects donations for Dismas House, a local nonprofit that provides transitional housing for people recently released from incarceration. Nichols said a group of five to eight Keenan residents volunteer at Dismas House every Monday, and members of Dismas House will be at the Revue to introduce themselves.

“We really want to see them as an integrated part,” Nichols said. “Our hope is that, whatever money that you thought was going to be spent on a ticket, donate that to Dismas House.”

Kathryn Muchncick | The Observer
Kathryn Muchnick | The Observer

The Revue moved into the Stepan Center on Monday for tech week. Rehearsals run from 5 to 11 p.m. every day until opening night last night.

“Tech week is a magical, weird, somewhat tiring time,” said Beri Tangka, the other executive producer. “I think it’s just finally seeing what happens when all of these parts come together.”

Nichols said that although he helps to choose the directors, producers and how to navigate SAO, the Revue is run almost entirely by the students. 

“My role is, I think, just to accompany the guys,” Nichols said. “I really will defer to Sammy, Berry and Nick — as directors and producers — to make the decisions.”

Nichols takes the script to various campus organizations, including Residential Life, SAO, PrismND, Diversity Council and Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS), to make sure that none of the jokes cross a line.

“Our goal really for all of the skits and the process is that … we make a show that's welcoming and inclusive to all,” Nichols said. “We won’t hold back on jokes, but … we don't want anybody to feel slighted or upset.”

The vast majority of Keenan residents are involved in the Revue, according to Nichols. The Revue staff note that it is central to Keenan culture.

“I’ve never seen another event at Notre Dame that gets people as immediately into it as the Revue,” Kacius said.

Music director Mike Hanisch said the Revue makes every resident of Keenan feel like they are essential to the dorm.

“The Revue is a great place to just all have a common goal, bring what you have to the table and really feel like collectively, you've created something — which just makes you feel so much closer to everyone involved,” he said.

The music team has been rehearsing every Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. this semester. Hanisch said he is excited for the Notre Dame community to see the “depth of talent” in the band this year.

“We have a couple of freshmen on guitar who are going to blow people away, I think, especially alumni coming back,” Hanisch added.

Tangka said that this year’s Revue will be another step back to “normal” after the show was hosted in the stadium in 2021. As of now, he’s looking to the future of the Revue.

“I really like the place that the Revue has in the culture of the tri-campus community and what we can do to sort of comment on things and suggest new, fresh ideas and just make everything a little bit sillier,” he said.