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‘Revue’s Clues’ prepares to provide hilarity

| Thursday, February 12, 2015

The 39th annual Keenan Revue — a beloved though historically controversial staple dorm event — opens Thursday night at the Stepan Center.

Residents from Keenan Hall perform at last year's "Keenan Revue" in Stepan Center. This year marks the Revue's 39th anniversary and will take place this weekend.Emma Farnan | The Observer
Residents from Keenan Hall perform at last year’s “Keenan Revue” in Stepan Center. This year marks the Revue’s 39th anniversary and will take place this weekend.

Directed by senior Briggs Hoyt, this year’s Revue bears the title “Revue’s Clues: A Private Investigation,” although senior Mattie Conaghan, one of the show’s head writers, claims there will only be “20-30 seconds” of references to “Blue’s Clues.”

According to the show’s producer, senior DJ Valenti, the Keenan Revue began in 1976 after the death of a classmate of the Keenan Hall residents who founded the Revue.

The student passed away after falling asleep in the snow after a night of drinking, Valenti said.

“[The Revue] started out in Washington Hall as a variety show. After [the student] died, it was Keenan’s way to provide something to do on the weekends that didn’t involve drinking,” Valenti said. “Apparently the first show was just miserable. They had seats for all the administrators saved in the front row, but none of them showed up. But then it got a really good review, because it showcased all the talent in Keenan that nobody knew about. So then they asked them to do the same show in the spring, and they called it ‘The New Keenan Revue.’

“So the production value went up, Fr. Hesburgh attended, everyone went and it became a tradition. Over time though, it evolved. Pretty quickly they realized that the comedy was landing more than the variety,” Valenti said.

For many years, the Revue took place on Saint Mary’s campus, however in 2011, the College decided not to renew the event, according to Hoyt.

“We moved to Stepan four years ago, and now we hold and fund an entire stage production, which is supported in a large part by Keenan alumni,” Hoyt said.

Valenti said the hall turned largely to alumni to fund the Revue, which this year had expenses totaling roughly $23,000.

“This year it’s a little bit more expensive, but not a significant amount for us that we’re worried about it. The lighting itself is the bulk of the cost,” Valenti said. “… It’s pretty much all through hall alumni, we get some through Hall President’s Council, and we get some funding through SAO.”

The production represents about four months’ worth of work and about half of the dorm is involved, Conaghan said.

“We’ve had more participation in the odd roles — ushers, stage crew, a lot of people are really involved in that. The writing and the creative side have still been relatively concentrated to the head writers and the staff,” Conaghan said.

Hoyt noted the people on stage during the Revue represent only about one-third of all those involved in the production.

According to Hoyt, tickets to this year’s Revue sold out in record time largely due to the success of last year’s production.

“We sold out this year — 3,900 tickets — in 40 minutes, well in a way, because tickets are free,” Hoyt said. “So half the student body may see this, it has a strong presence on campus.”

Valenti said the very nature of a stage production makes the Revue stand out from other dorm events.

“You end up finding kids who normally slip through the cracks, who just kick ass in the show,” Valenti said. “People just come out, and they blow you out of the water. There are a couple of guys on stage playing in the band who you would not have known they were these incredible musicians.

“And a lot of times in the dorms, it’s all baskets, with all sports and the guy stuff. You don’t really see people jamming … it’s a way to see kids find their own. It’s really cool, and it’s a really rewarding part of leading the Revue.”

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About Margaret Hynds

Margaret is a senior Political Science major and the former Editor-in-Chief of The Observer. She hails from Washington, D.C., and is a former Phox of Pangborn Hall. Follow Margaret on Twitter @MargaretHynds

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