Glitz, Glamor, and Benet Academy’s 2018 Mr. Redwing

On Thursday, April 12, fourteen seniors strutted their stuff in hopes of becoming the next Mr. Redwing. This year’s contestants were Josh Domingo, Brian Hunt, Liam Johnson, Tommy Katsafanas, Michael Keating, Andrew Kluzak, Mikey McCabe, Iain McCarter, Calvin McKee, Kevin O’Sullivan, Andrew Prisby, Ryan Shanley, Will Shannon, and Jack Zabilka. What differed in this competition in relation to the last was that each extracurricular or sport nominated a candidate. The majority of nominations came from the gym and the stage with SALT, Student Government, and the Benet Herald contributing to the mix.

Though the playbill for the competition was filled with hilarious answers to basic questions, such as weight, height, guilty pleasure, biggest fear, or dream job, there was one thing in particular during the introductions that garnered the most laughter from the audience. That moment was O’Sullivan’s entrance. As the hosts introduced the candidates, each candidate performed their specific moves to a song they chose. O’Sullivan’s entrance was set to the song “What’s New Pussycat” by Tom Jones and has moves included a cat who conveyed it did not want to be there.

The talent portions were split in half to make way for the equally hilarious beach wear portion of the evening. The highlights in this category featured, yet again, O’Sullivan but also McCabe. O’Sullivan rocked his usual nun garb while McCabe came out on a flat cart in a mermaid ensemble. In addition to the nun and mermaid, there were plenty of scuba divers, hula outfits, pool floats, fishing gear, regular shorts and t-shirts.
One thing the things the Mr. Redwing competition was not short of was talent. In the first act, Domingo delighted audiences with his drumming, Hunt not only rapped but wrote a rap about his experiences at the Academy, Johnson showed off his skills as a waterboy for the Benet basketball team, Keating showed off his Olympics-level gymnastic skills, Kluzak entertained with his mandolin and mandolin-themed humor, and McCabe ended the first half with his Irish dancing even wearing a traditional Irish dress. The second act began with McCarter entertaining the audience with his take of “Sad” by comedian Bo Burnham, O’Sullivan blew the audience’s mind with his chemistry knowledge and explosions; Prisby then took over with his ventriloquism with his dummy, Pepe; Shanley changed the mood of the evening through a dramatic reading of a popular song, Gucci Gang (by Lil Pump); and Zabilka ended the talent portion with a very impressive history of dance. After, the audience was treated to the questions portion of the evening, then the votes were tallied and awards given.

Katsafanas, who entertained everyone with his rendition of “See You Again” by Miley Cyrus, thought what he brought to the competition that his other opponents did not have was “an absolutely revolting singing voice.” Katsafanas would like to thank Isabella Newhuis and Taylor Oeschel for being his biggest fans and teaching him how to perform. The advice he has for underclassmen who wish to be the Man of the People or Mr. Redwing is that they need “to go embarrass yourself as much as possible. Embarrassment is temporary, glory is forever.”
Shannon, the winner of the Man’s Man Award, sang a song while a slideshow featuring memes, Mr. Hand, and various memories he’s made at the Academy played behind his guitarist, Ronan McCarter, and him. Shannon believes what he brought to the competition in comparison to his opponents was a “certain magic … that can’t be described in words. Let’s just say I instilled a sense of awe into the audience that my fellow contestants simply couldn’t.” His thoughts towards winning the Man’s Man Award was of “no surprise” to him, and his advice to underclassmen who wish to one day hold his mantle is to “be more like me.”

The honor of the evening, Mr. Redwing, ended up going to McKee, who enticed the audience with his interpretive ribbon dancing through pencils with ribbons attached to them. Once again, Mr. Redwing brought crowds to Daniels and showed off some of the best and the brightest Benet Academy has to offer.