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Revue Review: A Private Investigation

Strippers, a puppy, the endowment, Noel Terranova, dorm jokes, and a positive pro-inclusion sentiment…what more could you want from a Keenan Revue? This year’s Revue, A Private Investigation, soared to new heights under Producer DJ Valenti and Director Briggs Hoyt with thoughtful (but entertaining) social commentary, a great original song called “Dear Katie” that is sure to dwell high in the ranks with “Hip Hop Night at Legends,” and some well deserved jabs at Jenkins.

There are a few things audiences have come to expect from the Revue, like songs performed by bands, an entertaining dance routine that involves torn off shirts and rip away pants, jokes about dorm stereotypes, and crude humor. This year’s show delivered all of those things, but I was most impressed by the way I was asked to think even as I laughed.

To touch on a few of the most thoughtful skits, I first have to commend “Domers.” At first, it seemed to be about elitist Notre Dame students refusing to let anyone who hadn’t attended Notre Dame (no matter what their connection was to Notre Dame), use the word domers. Starring two black students and a white non-Domer, it soon became clear that this was not a skit about elitist ND students, rather it was a commentary about the N-word, which none of us should use. I laughed during this skit, but I loved it for its guts.

“That One Friend” was a great skit that reversed normal dynamics. A male student came out as a straight to his four gay friends. If there was ever a moment of the Revue telling conservative alums to take their prejudice elsewhere, this was it.

On a lighter note, “Dome of Cards” perfectly captured the essence of a student talking about their ND experience to their parents’ friends. The Knight who acted as the student had the Kevin Spacey impression down to perfection and this was a great skit for exclaiming, “Yes, why do people always ask me that!”

“How I Met You Bar” was reminiscent of “How I Met Your Mother” and offered insight into how the South Bend bar scene developed. “SMC News,” despite its title, was a commentary on The Observer’s terrible headlines, far more than it made fun of SMC chicks. The Notre Dame and St. Mary’s female population fared no worse than any of the male dorms, which has been a nice evolution of the Revue.

“Dear Katie,” was a wonderful original song about a guy who falls for a girl named Katie from Chicago (well, like 3 hours outside of Chicago, but same difference). This also had a pro-inclusion sentiment as the singer was totally ok with Katie being a lesbian, he just knew she wouldn’t want to date him if that was the case. “Starbucks” was the essence of short and sweet: A barista goes to Starbucks Anonymous and confesses he has trouble spelling, to which the whole group responds by messing up his name.

Jenkins took a few hits during the revue. “Endowment” began with Jenkins burning money and bragging about his huge endowment and all of the erections he was putting up on campus (construction just couldn’t keep up with Jenkins’ erections). The 3-D Notre Dame promotional video played in the background until at last a black student in a Harvard shirt showed up to tell Jenkins that his endowment was not nearly as large as Harvard’s. The skit was amusing and I couldn’t help but laugh when Jenkins Hall was modeled after the Death Star in the “Revue News.”

“1989 Deluxe,” the requisite Taylor Swift reference, was a song about masturbation, which was fitting for a men’s dorm. “Study Abroad” perfectly encapsulated how pretentious and obnoxious everyone sounds after they come back from studying abroad (I went to London, sorry!). “eRector” was an amusing look at dorm stereotypes, and the same could be said for “NDTV Pilot” in which a human “Wheel of Fortune” was spun by even more stereotypes.

I would be remiss not to commend the writers, who were menaces on stages (with more than a few unscripted asides) but who created an entertaining, thoughtful, and all around enjoyable show. Hoyt and Valenti did a masterful job getting the show to the Steppan Stage and Noel clearly supported their vision and was happy to play along.

The program was hilarious (recognition being due to the Program Director Richard Fasani), the ushers kept everything orderly, the choreography was everything I could have wished for, and the production quality has noticeably improved in recent years. I also have to praise Nathan Pawelczyk for his role as Music Director; the music was spot on and perfectly meshed with the content of the skits. I also want to recognize Assistant Producer Ryan Rizzuto for putting me in touch with DJ and Briggs so I could write my Revue Preview and for helping me acquire tickets.

Lastly, I have to commend the freshmen and congratulate them for stuffing socks down their boxers and stripping for a crowd of 4,000 people over three nights. Your roles may not be any more thankful in the future, but you’ve paid your due and I know the Revue is in good hands. The Keenan Alums who donate and who have fought to put on the Revue and make it funny year after year also deserve a nod of thanks. Without them, the Revue might not be free, it may not have been kicked off of St. Mary’s campus, and it certainly wouldn’t be such a staple of Februaries at Notre Dame.

If you missed this year’s Revue, be sure to catch it in 2016. The 2015 Revue will probably be online shortly, so if you’re looking for a bit of light-hearted and thoughtful procrastination, be sure to check it out.

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Maria Fahs

Notre Dame

Maria is finishing her Masters in English at Notre Dame. She has read many good books and several bad books, but she usually tries not to finish those. Her current favorites are: 1984, The Book Thief, The Tragedy Paper, Code Name Verity, Dr. Copernicus, I Am the Messenger, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and of course, Harry Potter. She is writing her second thesis on Harry Potter, exploring notions of authorship and reader agency in the digital age. She even managed to write her Capstone on British Children's Literature and designed her own Directed Readings Course on Notre Dame history during undergrad. Her favorite way to read is with a mug of tea and scented candles. When she doesn't have her nose stuck in a book, she can be found binging on the BBC (Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin [RIP]). Her favorite color is purple, she studied abroad in London, and she enjoys being an amateur painter. She harbors a not-so-secret dream of one day writing a children's book, but until then, she is likely to be found reading them and writing letters whenever she gets a chance. She hopes to teach English or work in a university sharing her love of education.
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