Thursday, March 26th, 2015. The Hanover High School auditorium is coated in darkness, students shifting in their seats with anticipation as shadows move about onstage. And suddenly, a spotlight blinks on as the opening strains of Jason DeRulo’s “Talk Dirty to Me” blast from the speakers, and ten figures wearing denim short-shorts and white t-shirts emerge from the darkness and begin dancing to the beat as the crowd erupts in cheers and laughter. These are the contestants of the long awaited Mr. Hanover High competition, a race to see which HHS senior can prevail in areas of dress, talent, and intellect. After taking a one-year hiatus, the show came back even better than ever, and left students, teachers, and parents all roaring in laughter. It was a definite success by the audience’s standards.
Nick Riccarelli, Connor Murphy, Matt Holland, Zack McArthur, Zach Thompson, Phil DeSimone, Stephen Pallotta, Isaac Bickford, Tyler Balzarini, and Thomas O’Connor were the ten brave seniors who put themselves in front of their parents and peers without shame. Needless to say, their bravery was much appreciated. After the opening dance sequence faded to a close, contestants strode one by one across the spotlight in various costumes. Some of the most memorable of these were Zach Thompson’s bunny suit (complete with a basket filled with candy), Stephen Pallotta’s Office Max uniform, and Connor Murphy’s all white snowsuit. The judges of the night, Dr. DeFranzo, Mr. Hopkins, and Mr. Plummer, had plenty to say about the range of outfits, Doc even claiming that the ensembles put his “diabetes at risk.” The crowd was no doubt in agreement, cheering at each new installment of the costume segment.
The show then proceeded with a talent portion, where each contestant stood on stage and performed a unique and interesting talent. This was by far the most entertaining segment of all, complete with singing, dancing, drama, and comedy. Matt Holland enraptured the audience with his act entitled “Stretchy Time with Matt,” Nick Riccarelli brought the school’s new robot, Nao, onstage, where they entertained the audience with a synchronized Tai Chi routine, Isaac Bickford showed off his “extreme” skateboarding skills (which consisted of falling off of his skateboard), and Stephen Pallotta had the crowd roaring in laughter with his teacher impressions, which were scarily accurate. Zack McArthur took the stage on a more serious note, serenading the audience with a beautiful rendition of “Hallelujah.” There were even some duets in the competition: Phil DeSimone and Connor Murphy brought the audience to laughter with their choreographed dance to “Build Me Up Buttercup,” and Tyler Balzerini and Zach Thompson enacted a VERY dramatic reading of Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham.” And finally, Thomas O’Connor (TOC) rounded out the night by performing everybody else’s talents, but proclaiming to do them “even better.” When the talent portion concluded, the audience was left with faces aching from smiling and stomachs cramped from laughing.
The competition then segued into the formal wear and question and answer round, where contestants were brought onstage by senior girl escorts and asked one question about their high school experience. One of the most unforgettable moments was when Zach Thompson asked escort Maria Calabro to prom onstage, to an echo of “aww”s and cheers from the audience. And then Matt Holland was asked about his “ideal prom date,” to which he responded with “May 8th.”
The night was one that would not be soon forgotten by HHS students; from the opening dance number until the final awards, the audience was enraptured by the sheer entertainment factor of watching ten well-known senior boys prance about onstage in funny costumes. The competition drew to a close with the announcement of the winner, Phil DeSimone, who accepted his crown with pride and accomplishment. But although only one could take home the crown, all of the contestants shared that they felt like winners that night, successfully entertaining an audience of their friends and peers while having an awesome time themselves. Zack McArthur said, “the show was a lot of fun, I’m glad I got to do it and wear jean shorts! And I definitely recommend guys to do it next year.” When asked about the show, audience member Greta Barry said, “I thought it was hilarious, and my favorite part was Stephen Pallotta’s impressions.” Stephen himself was quoted saying that he was proud of his efforts and thought he did a good job, “but the judges apparently didn’t think so.” HHS Junior Colin Boutin had to miss the show due to an SAT class, but said, “it sounded really exciting and I’m disappointed I didn’t get to see it… Hopefully I’ll get to do it next year!”
And with luck, next year’s show will be just as much of a success as this year’s was!