One of Endicott’s most popular traditions is the annual “Mr. Endicott” event, which was once again held this past Thursday, April 22nd. The event mostly surrounds a competition between several (student-nominated) male-identifying Endicott students, all hoping to win the crown and title of “Mr. Endicott” for himself. Contestants compete through a series of crowd-pleasing on-stage displays, consisting of everything from swimsuit contests to small talent shows. This year’s show was also one of the first major on-campus events to be held in the WAX II’s Cleary Lecture Hall - the largest auditorium on campus - since it’s recently finished construction at the beginning of this semester.
Students were welcomed into the auditorium where they were guided to (somewhat) socially distanced groupings amidst the seats where they were allowed to sit close to the people they had come with. Soon after, the 6 contestants - Chris Cole, Luigi Porretta, Acme Wasi, Tim Frechette, John Parayno, and Yoshi Murata - were welcomed to the stage where they would compete in front of a group of judges composed of various Endicott faculty members. Though the contestants were student-nominated, it’s the judges that ultimately decide a final winner based on which contestant got the most total points at the end of all of the rounds.
Over the course of the next hour, each contestant was individually given the stage to perform their interpretation of a given prompt to the best of their ability. The swimwear contest, for example, had contestants dressing in a variety of beach-themed costumes, ranging everywhere from swim trunks to inflatable shark suits. Building off of the excitement that the costumes earned from the crowd, other rounds included similar concepts. One even asked contestants to cosplay their personal “hero”, whether it be Scooby Doo, James Bond, or Jesus himself.
Arguably the most exciting round asked contestants to show the audience a talent of theirs. These could be anything - as long as the contestants are confident that their performance will outshine those of their competitors’. Impressively, this round was especially complimented by the show’s placement in the Clearly, as contestants were able to quickly set up and perform a variety of different talents with the help of easy accessible technology. The auditorium’s massive projector screen perfectly displayed a karaoke segment, where the audience themselves even began to sing along. Other props, such as a large table for cup stacking and off-stage props for seamless costume changes, were all cleverly hidden near the large stage so as to minimize downtime between contestants.
Whenever a round is finished, the auditorium’s projector is briefly used to show a series of contestants’ pre-recorded responses to questions surrounding their involvement in the event. These questions ranged from theoretical, interview-like prompts (“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”) to even the conceptual and heart-warming (“What does Endicott mean to you?”). These videos offered more insight into the personalities of the otherwise purely visual-performance focused contestants while also cleverly keeping the audience engaged in between extravagant costume switches.
Perhaps inspired by these intermission surveys, I reached out to one contestant, Luigi Porretta, asking him about his experience competing on stage. Poretta shared, “The Mr. Endicott show was a time when I could forget about the stresses of life and just dance on stage. I love to dance and preparing for the show was a therapeutic time and reminder that I only have so long on Earth to have fun, take risks, and live a life of no regrets by making memories that I want to make. Dancing on stage initially was daunting, but throughout my 7 musical costume transitions I did during the show, seeing everyone there in the crowd coming to watch me and all my friends perform was heaven. I’ll never forget this, one of the greatest experiences of my life. I’ll be coming for that crown next year in 2022.”
Ultimately, the crown and title of Mr. Endicott 2021 was given to Tim Frechette - a senior who will now be able to live out his last few weeks on-campus in royalty. Be sure to look forward to next year’s competition, which will hopefully but filled to the brim with an enthusiastic, safe audience.