Although the main focus of a musical revue is the music itself, liven up the production for your audience and singers by selecting a theme for the evening. Instead of just training your choir on a variety of standard songs, give them an underlying thread that links them together and serves as inspiration for backdrops, props and even costumes.
Toast the Town and State
Use your home town or state as inspiration for your next musical revue. For example, singers putting on a show in North Carolina may choose “Carolina on My Mind” by James Taylor; a choir in New York may opt for “New York State of Mind” by Billy Joel. A little research on the town may reveal more options, such as the area of Canyon Lake, California, whose city motto is “A Bit of Paradise;” this makes songs like “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights” by Meat Loaf applicable and relevant. If your town or state has a special song (the state of Connecticut’s official state song is “Yankee Doodle Dandy”), come up with a unique way for your group to sing it, for example, in country-western style, rap or acapella.
Consider making your musical revue a tribute to famous figures who were born in, resided in or contributed to your town in some way. Singers in Kingsland, Arkansas may want to do a retrospective of the music of their native Johnny Cash (consider using backdrops such as a ring of fire or a jail cell). If your city has a crop of famous figures (such as Brooklyn, New York, birthplace of Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Foxy Brown, Barry Manilow and Carole King), choose songs from each and have different members of the group perform the numbers. For resourceful music groups, consider having singers dress up as the famous singers they’re representing.
To add some excitement to your musical revue, break your group up into two teams and have a sing off. Split your choir up into groups of men versus women, seniors versus freshmen, altos and bass versus sopranos and tenors or just place numbers in a hat and let groups pick, forming their teams. Each group rehearses different songs, then competes at the revue. Consider doing a “call and answer” style revue, where one group sings a song (such as “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes) and the other answers with a similar song (“My Boyfriend’s Back” by the Angels). When the audience arrives, hand them two voting cards emblazoned with the groups’ names (such as “men” and “women” or “blue” and “green”), then let them vote for the winners at the end of the show.