Journey To My Last Keenan Revue

Author: John Sebastian Thörn


For the past four years, my dorm has been Keenan Hall. For us Keenan Knights, the most important event in our dorm is the Keenan Revue. The Revue started in 1976, and has happened each year since. It is a show put on entirely by Keenan Hall residents and hall staff, with some help from an external production crew. The show consists of about 20 comedy skits, over five live musical performances, and a handful of dances. It raises donations for the Dismas House of Michiana, which has long been Keenan’s partner for volunteering and fundraising. The show is put on for three nights in early February in the Stepan Field Center on the north side of campus, and well over half of the dorm is involved in preparing for the shows for months in advance.

My first two years in Keenan, I was mainly involved in the dancing. It was a great way for me to get involved with the show, and I met a lot of older Knights that I otherwise would not have spent time with. There are a lot of great things about the Revue, but if you ask anyone involved, I think they would agree that one of the best parts is when you step on stage in front of the approximately 1,500 person crowd, and perform your jokes, or dancing, or songs. Campus goes crazy for the Revue, and it makes for an unforgettable experience. It is so popular that the line to get tickets, which are free, will be many hours long and wrap down God Quad, out from the LaFortune Student Center’s west doors. My sophomore year I acted in a few skits, and then my junior year Covid happened, and that moved the Revue outdoors in Notre Dame Stadium! It was an amazing experience performing there, but the crowd had to be much smaller due to gathering restrictions. It made for a unique experience, but I was able to act in many more skits that year. As fun as it was, everyone in Keenan missed being in Stepan. This is what made my senior Revue, my last, so special. I am writing this less than a week after the performances, so it is all fresh in my mind.

Living off campus my senior year has been great, but one thing I have missed is the dorm community. I love Keenan Hall, and I miss living alongside all of my fellow Knights. The Revue was able to bring us all together, and I met so many new Knights that I had not had the chance to hang around this year. From the many-hours-long rehearsals in Stepan, to the day-long skit tryouts, to the moments backstage that were both nerve-wracking and incredibly exciting, I formed so many memories alongside my fellow Knights. The Revue is extremely funny, and fun, but it took me until senior year to realize that the best part about it is working alongside the people I lived with for four years, and to see our hard work pay out so smoothly. The trust built, and responsibility taken on, allowed me to create relationships I would have never expected. Sure, I acted in a skit pretending to be a priest kicked off of a Survivor spin-off, and acted like Neville Longbottom while he studies abroad here at Notre Dame, and I even wrote a remix of the Jay-Z song “Empire State of Mind” that substituted South Bend for New York City; however, my favorite moments from my last Revue were not the times I saw the audience laugh while we were up on stage. It was when I was helping set up Stepan, or when I was watching countless cringe-worthy skits be auditioned at tryouts, or when some of my best and closest friends sat down with me and we tried to come up with the stupidest ideas for skits. My favorite memories are when Keenan came together as a dorm and everyone invested immeasurable time and energy for the show. So when people from other dorms say they are jealous of me because I have the Revue, I say that I would also be jealous - but not because I wish they too had the chance to perform up on stage in Stepan, but because I wish they had the same amazing memories of creating those relationships with the people who share your home.

I do have to admit, though, performing on that stage and making the audience laugh were pretty fun moments, too.