With the West Deptford High School auditorium bursting at the seams, the 12 contestants went all out for the title of Mr. West Deptford. Yet in the end, only one walked out of the high school auditorium victorious Friday night.
Kicking off the night was a one of a kind performance by the boys that held true to student council adviser Karen Foster’s promise of style. Bouncing back from a small technical mishap, the contestants paraded down the aisles and onto the stage. The contestants began their opening dance number with “It’s Raining Men” by the Weather Girls—however, the number soon changed tempo as they rode imaginary horses to the beat of “Gangnam Style” by PSY.
Following up the contestants’ opening act, came the parade of months. Each contestant took to the stage dressed in the best representation of their month—which included Julian Downing as a candy-tossing zombie for October, Ryan Hempsey strutting as Mummer for January and Jack Baldwin as a daisy-duke-donning construction worker.
Following the calendar presentation, the shenanigans rolled on as each contestant got a chance to showcase his own special talent. This included a skit of a football viewing party gone wrong, a boy band and girl group dance off and a different spin on the classic Romeo and Juliet. In addition, Harry Sturgis treated the audience to a revival of the famous Abbott and Costello “Who’s on First” dialogue.
However, in the last portion of the show the contestants were able to put away their bizarre antics for a more refined look in formal wear. Escorted by a female student, each contestant arrived at the top of the stage in their prom attire and answered a single question posed by the judges—some seriously and some humorously, such as Griffin Bonner, who was asked what type of cookie best represented him.
“White chocolate macadamia nut, because I’m sweet, delicious and a little nutty,” said Bonner.
During a brief intermission, high school cafeteria workers—acting as Mr. West Deptford judges—tallied their votes and members of the audience gathered in the hallway to vote for their choice candidate by dropping money in buckets affixed with each contestant’s name. Foster explained previously that all donations would go to relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy.
In the end, it was Harry Sturgis who won the popular vote, after his bucket had accrued the most dollar donations.
Jack Baldwin and his portrayal of Romeo’s long-lost wife—Bernicia—was awarded for the best talent show performance.
Concluding the program came the announcement of the two runners up and the crowning of Mr. West Deptford 2013. Graciously accepting their awards, Alex Hilbmann took third place, while Harry Sturgis took second.
And while there was no drum roll, the dropping of a pin could be heard through the silent auditorium as everyone awaited the announcement of Mr. West Deptford. After a slight pause, host Mike Seeley announced Jack Baldwin as Mr. West Deptford 2013. Cheers immediately erupted through the entire auditorium as Baldwin accepted his crown and title.
“The boys did a really great job,” said Foster, the student council adviser.
Foster, who along Kiersten Kelly has been orchestrating Mr. West Deptford for five years, says that her favorite part of putting on the show is spending two weeks of rehearsals getting to know her contestants and seeing their personalities come out. Foster says what sets her group apart this year was their ability to just go with the flow, which came in handy during technical problems in the opening act.
“They were really good at improvising,” said Foster. “They really held it together in the face of adversity.”
To see more coverage of the competition, go to Viewfinder: Mr. West Deptford.