Updated with Mr. RHS contest results
ROBBINSVILLE – Robbinsville High School’s 12 calendar guys brought everything from tutus and trumpets to boas and bling to the stage for the “Mr. RHS” extravaganza, but in the end only one could wear the gold crown.
The honor went to senior Brendan Barca, aka Mr. August, who received the most audience votes in the Feb. 26 contest that was a cross between “American Idol” and an all-male version of “Miss America.” Kenny Wright, aka Mr. April, was the runner-up and Tyler DeMartin, aka Mr. February, was named Mr. Congeniality.
More than 500 people attended the zany production, a school fundraiser that raised $3,500 to help defray the cost of the senior prom.
The 12 contestants, each representing a different month of the year, showcased their unique talents in a series of over-the-top skits that included singing, dancing, juggling, rapping, karaoke, unicycles and standup comedy. Hairy legs, bikini tops, tutus, feather boas and blond rock-star wigs were in abundance.
Each contestant was also interviewed by the student emcees, whose probing questions (“Do you have a talent or a pickup line to share?”) were designed to help the audience discern who is most deserving of the Mr. RHS 2013 crown.
Voting took place during intermission, followed by a behind-the-scenes video, produced by junior Lara Cauwels, about the making of the show. Next was the “formalwear strut” when each contestant, escorted by two senior girls, modeled his tuxedo while a tongue-in-cheek biography was read by the emcees.
During the skits, Barca made a daring fashion statement with his green tutu and coordinating hair wreath as he warbled “I’m Like a Bird.” The soccer team captain’s contagious enthusiasm had the audience roaring with delight.
Wright, wearing a blond wig, sleeveless black dress and white feather boa ensemble, endeared himself to the crowd by using his five minutes in the spotlight to descend from the stage and ask his girlfriend to the prom. DeMartin’s madcap trumpet playing and dance moves also made him a fan favorite during the skits.
The showstopper, however, was the choreographed Bernie dance with all 12 contestants swaying limply to the beat while leaning backward (as if having a nosebleed) in moves inspired by the dancing conga line corpse from the 1989 “Weekend at Bernie’s” movie.
Senior Jackie Testa choreographed the dance routine and maintained a diplomatic posture about her task during the show’s final dress rehearsal.
“It was a challenge,” Testa admitted with a smile. “But in the end they really pulled together on this. People ask if it was hard to get them to dance, but what was really hard was getting them all to stop dancing and pay attention.”
The other nine contestants in the “Mr. RHS” competition included: Mr. January, Raul Jairam; Mr. March, Niraj Nayak; Mr. May, Dalton Bischer; Mr. June, David Haftel; Mr. July, Ryan Febles; Mr. September, Dom Schillaci; Mr. October, Sam Acheampong; Mr. November, Steve Krebs; and Mr. December, Matt Forno.
“Mr. RHS” is a school tradition that started in 2008 and has been held every year since except for a one-year hiatus in 2012.
“It was key to get the tradition back for 2013,” said parent volunteer Roseanne Tully. “Hopefully, the tradition will continue to create great memories for the seniors and their families and friends too.”