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Revue to Showcase Keenan Heroes (interview)

Observer Scene | Thursday, February 5, 2009

On the opening night of the annual Keenan Revue, one can still find Musical Director Joey Kuhn hard at work on perfecting the final details of the famed sketch-comedy show.

“Everyone involved has been hard at work preparing for the show,” Kuhn said, “I didn’t know quite how much work I was getting myself into when I signed up to be the Music Director…the Revue has basically consumed my life for the last two weeks.”

Certainly, it’s been hard work put to good use. For 33 years, the Keenan Revue has been entertaining Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students with off-beat skits and unique song renditions. Funded by the generous donations of Keenan alumni and intermission collections from audience members, the Revue has become arguably the most popular dorm function on campus. Many still hold memories of past Revue’s fondly in their Notre Dame experience. Kuhn cites last year’s “Casper: The Overly Friendly Ghost” as one of his favorite skits. Many can also recall the famous hit “Talk Love with Dos Padres” from the 2007 revue.

This year’s Superhero-themed show, decided upon by the 20 members of the Revue staff, is guaranteed to be equally as entertaining. Although many themes were considered (including the aptly-titled “High School Revuesical”), the Superhero theme was the most popular idea.

“The main motivation [for choosing the theme] was that superheroes are very ‘in vogue,'” Kuhn said, citing the explosion of superhero movies in recent years. “The superhero theme made it easy to come up with an opening skit, T-shirts and programs.”

Preparing for the show has been no small endeavor. More than 60 skits auditioned for one of the 25 spots in this year’s Revue.

Selecting among skits is “a very long and arduous process” according to Kuhn, as is working with a live band for musical numbers. For the last week, practices have been held daily in Keenan’s basement.

“Rehearsals are always a little crazy, with people running around everywhere…but despite all the craziness, the show somehow pulls together in time,” Kuhn said.

For years, the Keenan Revue has premiered in O’Laughlin Hall on Saint Mary’s Campus. However, in 2003, the Saint Mary’s Board of Governance expressed concern over the use of O’Laughlin for the production of the Revue, citing the infamous nature of the show as offensive to many Saint Mary’s students. The controversy eventually passed and the show has continued the tradition of showing in O’Laughlin.

Kuhn offers this word of caution: “The Revue is not a show tailored to the easily offended, so leave your moral sensibilities at home and let yourself laugh a little!”

The audience can count on continuing to see notorious staples of the show this year, including the famed “Revue News” and controversial comedy skits.

“The musical numbers will span several different genres,” said Kuhn, who referenced classic rock and 70s funk musical numbers.

“Many of the skits will parody life at Notre Dame, although there are a few that have little or nothing to do with ND.”

Kuhn also encourages audience members to keep an eye out for “well-known, rising star-athletes” that make appearances throughout the Revue.

The 33rd Keenan Revue debuts tonight, in O’Laughlin Hall at 7 p.m. Ticketed admission is required.

Contact Emily LeStrange at elestran@nd.edu.