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‘Horton Hears a Revue’: Keenan Hall prepares for annual comedy event

| Thursday, February 6, 2020

For all Notre Dame students, the start of the spring semester brings new class schedules and more homework assignments. But for the men of Keenan Hall, it also brings the whirlwind of putting together what their website dubs “the most popular dorm event at Notre Dame” — the Keenan Revue. This year’s theme is “Horton Hears a Revue.”

Courtesy of Timothy Hsueh

Keenan Hall residents dance in a skit performed in the 2019 Keenan Revue.

“We put up a list in Keenan for theme ideas,” said senior Timothy Hsueh, director of the Keenan Revue. “We had some pretty crazy ones, but we generally get like seven or eight that we seriously consider.”

Keenan residents are encouraged to think about and write up skits over winter break and tryouts are held the first week of the spring semester. With so many potential skits this year, the first round of tryouts took up almost an entire day.

“We went 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. this year of just skit, after skit, after skit, after skit,” Hsueh said.

Brett Katalinic, a senior, is the producer of the Revue. Both Hsueh and Katalinic were selected by their rector to be in charge of putting together their dorm’s signature event.

But it takes a lot more than two people to make the show possible, as shown by the 25 staff members working with them. This includes positions such as head writers, video coordinator, dance choreographers and music directors. 

“Our head writers write a ton of skits, and they help everyone edit their skits, add some jokes and adjust for appropriateness,” Hsueh said. 

Hsueh said the head writers also do a good job of casting outside of their friend groups, including freshman in Keenan. Others are encouraged to hang out in the back during tryouts in case any skit writers need actors.

“My freshman year, that’s actually how I got involved” Hsueh said. “I was hanging out in the basement and they were like, ‘Timmy, come back.’”

While the Keenan Revue is a free, ticketed event, residents of Keenan stand in the back during each show and request donations for Dismas House, a halfway house for people recently released from incarceration.

The Dismas House aims to “bring about mutual reconciliation between former offenders and society through the development of a supportive community,” according to the Dismas House of Indiana’s website.

“Once a week a group of Keenan guys will go over and make dinner with them and sit down and eat it,” Hsueh said. 

Approaching its 44th production, the Keenan Revue is still getting better and better. From the skits, to the music — under the direction of Felix Rabito and Zach Pearson — and the dancing — led by Daniel Shaw and Donald Welsh — Hsueh couldn’t pick a favorite part of the show.

“The quality of our skits is really high this year,” Hsueh said. “We had a lot of good skits that we had to cut just for time. I think we could have put on a whole second show if we wanted to.”

Quality skits are not the only things that will be in abundance at the Revue this year. There will also be an unprecedented amount of dancers, aka “strippers” — 82 to be exact.

“It’s not something that the average guy in Keenan has a lot of exposure to, so I really enjoy that I get to introduce this art form,” said junior Daniel Shaw, one of the head dancers.

Becoming a dancer for the Keenan Revue does not require any auditions, but that doesn’t mean that the dancers don’t try to look their best every night. 

“A lot of people do planks before the show starts to get their abs looking tight,” said Shaw. 

Tickets for the Revue went on sale Wednesday, Jan. 22. Many students aim to get tickets to the Thursday show under the impression that some of the more inappropriate jokes will make it into the first show and then get censored out of the other nights.

“Not true,” Hsueh said. “That rumor we’ve been trying to shut down for years.”

Hseuh cited multiple reasons he believes people will enjoy attending the Revue.

“I think you’ll be laughing for two hours,” Hsueh said. “And the girls are going to love the dancers.”

Shaw said people should attend “to see their friends take their clothes off.” He added that it also provides interesting commentary on current issues occurring on campus.

“It‘s a great way to just come in and laugh at ourselves and just have a good time,” Shaw said.

The Keenan Revue will run Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

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