A revue is a theatrical entertainment based around music with dancing and sketches or skits either on contemporary news or the venue or base of the theatre company concerned, such as college or medical school. Alternate titles are "follies" or a variety show.
In part related to music hall and burlesque theater as a collection of elements with little to otherwise connect them they also became popular in large mainstream theatres in formats such as the Ziegfeld Follies, or the first joint ventures of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, the series of revues in the 1920s that went under the general title " Garrick Gaieties." Eartha Kitt debuted in a Broadway revue called New Faces of 1952.
Early talkies made filmed versions of revues as showcases for their stars or the new medium. The Gold Diggers of 1933 was a popular entertainment that was little more than a revue strung on a skimpy plot.
Specialist writers / composers of revues have included Sandy Wilson, Noel Coward and Flanders and Swann.
Revues are often common today as student entertainment, where songs of the day will have new words put to them about the college or courses concerned of a humorous nature. While most comic songs will only be heard within the revue they were written for, sometimes they become more widely known, such as A Transport of Delight about the big red London bus by Flanders and Swan, who first made their name in a revue titled "At the Drop of a Hat.".
Towards the end of the 20th century a sub-genre of revue appeared that dispensed with skits entirely. This type of revue may or may not have identifiable characters and a rudimentary story line but even when it does, these elements are secondary to the songs, which are the focus of the show. This type of revue usually showcases songs written by a particular composer or songs made famous by a particular performer. Examples of the former are "Side by Side by Sondheim" (music by Stephen Sondheim), "Eubie!" (Eubie Blake) and "TomFoolery" (Tom Lehrer). Examples of the latter include "Five Guys Named Moe" (songs made popular by Louis Jordan) and "On the Record" (songs from Walt Disney films).