The 28th Annual Mr. East Competition
March 15, 2015
On Friday, March 27, the 28th annual Mr. East competition will take place. This year, the contestants include Sam Amon (Mr. Samazing), Hari Asuri (Mr. Boxers and Briefcase), Kyle Billigg (Mr. Late Night), Luke Bonanni (Mr. Luke At Me Now), Mike Buhlar (Mr. Supermandeep), Eric Grayson (Mr. Captain AmERICa), Richard Kirby (Mr. Happy Taps), Noah Ritz (Mr. Noahpologies), Jesse Viggiano (Mr. Jess Do It) and Tin Vu (Mr. T). Come to East on Friday night to see who will be crowned Mr. East.
Mr. East Countdown: Mr. Supermandeep – 6 Days to go!
All Mr. East contestants are superheroes for a day, but only one fills the role full time. Mr. Supermandeep, also known as Mike Buhlar (‘15), will fly into the East auditorium on Friday, March 27 after a day’s worth of fighting crime to perform in the annual Mr. East competition.
“People are going to be pleasantly surprised at what we have planned,” said Buhlar. “That’s really all I’m willing to say about what I’m going to be doing on stage on Friday. I’d really like everyone to come out and see for themselves.”
Although many details have been kept under wraps, it is known that Buhlar’s routine will include dancing. But for every superhero, there is a super villain.
“My biggest competitor… I’m thinking Mr. T,” Buhlar said. “Tin Vu… he’s got some good dancers, same talents, so we’re going to be closely compared.”
Buhlar has a few unique powers though.
“I’m Superman and I can fly,” he said, adding that being stranded on an desert island would not stop him from getting to the show. If he were stranded, he wouldn’t need anything, except for maybe a magazine and his laptop, which can help superheroes and normal people alike during long flights, but Mr. Supermandeep added that to escape the island, he’d “probably just teleport away.”
In addition to his full time superhero job, Buhlar also rides his bike a lot.
“By myself, with my friends, like a nice day, we’ll go a few miles and come back,” he said.
Mr. Supermandeep also reminds East’s citizens that no superhero is entirely above the law.
“I had some great stuff planned [for the swimsuit portion] and they’re saying it’s too inappropriate… all of the sudden they’re coming out with these no baby oil and no Speedo rules.”
Buhlar is looking forward to the competition, despite whatever rules, desert islands, rival dancers, or super villains trying to stand in his way.
Mr. East Countdown: Mr. Luke At Me Now – 1 Day to go!
Luke Bonanni (‘15), also known as Mr. Luke At Me Now is your typical baker. He is not inspired by the “fake bakers,” as he calls them, that populate the Food Network and are household names.
“My biggest pet peeve is people who try to act like they can cook and bake but are actually just posers. Okay, don’t listen to them. Like, I know you see these people on TV, like Guy Fieri and Gordon Ramsey, but they are just there for the money and their personality, they can’t actually cook. So my biggest pet peeve is when they act like they cook but they are actually just posers,” he said.
He truly appreciates great cooks. Bonanni explained that his favorite type of pizza is Sicilian white cheese with broccoli because he has been told that it is one of the most difficult pizzas to make.
“I appreciate the craft that goes into it. I know when I take a bite into it, that it took effort to make, and that makes the experience that much better,” he said
When not cooking at Dots Pastry Shoppe, Bonanni spends his time participating in DECA, Research in Science, East Outsiders, Cum Laude and volunteer work at the Cherry Hill Food Bank and a nursing home.
Bonanni believes he can achieve his life goals, which are to “get rich, get women and get famous” by utilizing his baking talents to the fullest extent. He hopes to begin achieving those dreams on the Mr. East stage.
“I want to show everyone I am the best baker in the world, so I hope to achieve that. I hope to achieve fame or infamy on the hallowed stage of our Cherry Hill East theater,” said Bonanni. “Everything is not as it seems. The audience can expect that most of the jokes have double meanings, so be prepared.”
And why should Bonanni win Mr. East?
“I want people to Luke at me- No! look at me now. When people just look at me, like just look at me they’ll know. If you just look at me, I don’t have to explain, just look at me! That’s all I have to say,” he said.
When it comes to choosing a favorite thing to bake, Bonanni has to pause and think, as he knows how to make hundreds of different pastries and desserts. He explained it is difficult to choose a favorite.
“When I bake I use industrial size mixers and ovens, so it’s much harder for me to bake at home in a kitchen versus a big kitchen [at work] where we bake a lot of things at once,” said Bonanni. “I guess my favorite thing to bake would be the cream for our cream donuts. It is very fun, and you get to weigh everything…for example I don’t like sweet things so sometimes I’ll put a little extra salt in it. It’s fun to dictate what our batch is going to taste like.”
Bonanni’s personal motto is also related to baking.
“’My personal motto is ‘bake what you want’,” Bonanni said. “In other words, be yourself, do what you want to do and don’t worry about anyone else. Like if someone tells you ‘Luke, this cake is disgusting’ you don’t listen to them, you say ‘no it’s not’. If you want to put broccoli and steak inside that cake, you do it, you bake what you want.”
Only one more day until the Mr. East competition! Come out to support Mr. Luke At Me Now and all of the Mr. East contestants tomorrow night.
Mr. East Countdown: Mr. Captain AmERICa – 4 Days to go!
Mature beyond his years, Eric Grayson (‘15) is tenaciously driven. Now known as Mr. Captain AmERICa, Grayson “fights” away any inhibitors, which could possibly impede his desired success.
“One word that describes me is diligent,” said Grayson, summarizing his steadfast and hard-working lifestyle.
Grayson is blatantly scrupulous in an academic sense. But, sometimes Captain AmERICa aims his diligence towards his extra curricular endeavors. One specific aspect of East culture, which Grayson has profoundly participated in, is that of music.
“I do a lot of music activities, I’m in Voce,” said Grayson.
Grayson further explicated his passion for musical activities, stating that his adoration and passion for music has stemmed from a singular, but majorly impactful freshman year experience.
“My favorite East experience would have to be my first [vocal] concert. [It was great] seeing all the seniors I could aspire to,” he said.
Despite his evident esteem for music, Grayson is not known for this specifically. Instead, the Captain is pegged as a politically savvy member of his class.
“I was one of the class vice presidents freshman and sophomore year,” he said, “and then from sophomore year until [two weeks ago] actually, I was one of the school vice presidents.”
This is yet another characteristic, which admittedly, is not unexpected of the diversely involved Captain AmERICa. Grayson admits to being involved in historical, scientific, musical and even athletic activities.
“I’m in SGA, actually my term has just ended; I’ve done Bridge Tutoring in the past; I’ve done Model U.N. in the past; [I did] Future Engineers Club in ninth grade, and I did freshman baseball,” said Grayson.
Despite the contrary perception existent among his classmates, Grayson is not adamantly stuck on the prospect of becoming a politician.
“I think politics could be a possibility, but I’m still not sure what career I want to take,” he said.
Captain AmERICa aims to stay involved throughout the school, allowing him to most efficiently remain well-adept in all of his duties, no matter what impending situation may arise. Grayson intends to further portray his diverse extracurricular involvement through showcasing his developed skills in his performance segment.
“My performance will be a mix…where I will showcase a bunch of different thing. It won’t just be something that’s overdone, or it won’t just be monolithic,” said Grayson. “I think I have a diverse array of talents to bring, hopefully I can entertain people with some smart comedy and with music skill.”
As a superhero, Grayson also possesses great fervor for the successful resolution of globally impacting issues.
“Sometimes I think we rush through the day too much, especially with tons of technology, I think we’re doing too many things too quickly,” he added, explaining his desire for a global society having large emphasis on human interaction.
Grayson enjoyed working on the twenty-eighth annual Mr. East Pageant with all of the other contestants.
“I think it’s a fun experience to work with the other guys, to put on a good product,” he said.
A student superhero, Grayson is always looking for ways to continue improving himself. Thus, the hero wishes to elevate himself to a higher degree, viewing this year’s pageant as a way of self-furtherance.
“I perform with the instrumental and vocal department, so I do have stage experience,” said Grayson, “but [Mr. East is] something that’s a little outside the box… I feel it would benefit me greatly going forward.”
Never one to shy away from a conclusion confirmed under logical reasoning, Grayson further added “practically two free prom tickets would be nice… that’s not the primary goal, but if that happens it’s great.”
Mr. East Countdown: Mr. Late Night – 3 Days to go!
Slipping into a super stretchy suit and gelling his hair, Kyle Billigg (’15), also known as Mr. Late Night, puts on a wide grin and prepares for his very own talk show called “Kyle Billigg.”
Billigg said that “Kyle Billigg,” proves to be one of the most important part of his life as he enjoys filming himself and relaying important, comedic information to his viewers.
“If I were on a desert island, I would most likely have my camera with me… I have to film my talk show,” said Billigg. “My show’s on NBC, but no one can see it. It’s a secret.”
Unlike other contestants, Billigg revealed very little information regarding his performance for the twenty-eighth annual Mr. East competition.
“Through Mr. East, I want to show my fellow classmates what I am made of,” said Billigg. “That’s why everyone will have to find out what my true talents are by coming out to see the event.”
However, Billigg did say that he hopes to present his skills and abilities to prove that he can create a positive impact on the world, especially because one of his dreams is to transform society so that it is a better place for children to live in.
“I want to definitely change some things about entertainment, food and technology today. I think there is always a lot of room to improve the world for the young kids,” said Billigg.
As a certified chef at Benihana, Billigg is already working to accomplish one facet of his dream by creating better food for all his customers.
Billigg said that the best word he would use to describe himself would be “varietative,”
“I might have just made that word up, but it definitely shows who I am,” said Billig. “I mean, I can ride my 28 inch unicycle, I cook and I also have my own late night talk show.”
Billigg even performs magic on his talk show, amazing audience members with his unique abilities.
There are only three days left until the Mr. East pageant. Be sure to come out to see Billigg showcase his talents as he takes one step closer to changing the world.
Mr. East Countdown: Mr. Happy Taps – 8 Days to go!
Whether one finds him eating mushroom pizza (his favorite type), exploring a National Park with his family, or tap dancing away in the East auditorium, Richard Kirby (‘15), also known as Mr. Happy Taps, will always have a smile on his face.
“I’m super happy all the time so you’ll never see me with a frown on my face or even a serious look, it’s like the happiness will make you sick,” said Kirby enthusiastically.
Known to many as just ‘Kirby,’ Mr. Happy Taps will tap dance his way into the spotlight at Mr. East on Friday, March 27. While he did not reveal exactly what his talent portion will be, Kirby did reveal that it would involve tap dancing with an “extra special something.”
Kirby said, “In the past years, no one has done tap dancing for their talent at Mr. East, so I’m trying to pave a new avenue in a way of the Mr. East world.”
While Kirby has experience in other forms of dance, such as ballet, Kirby described tap dancing as his true passion.
“[Tap dancing is] very rhythmic, it’s different from other forms of dance where it’s all about being upright and holding your core strong and keeping your arms sturdy,” Kirby explained. “It’s more about what you make with your feet.”
Mr. East may be the second time that the East community has the fortune to see Kirby showcase his 13 years of tap dancing experience on the East stage, as he recently performed as Moonface Martin in the White Cast of “Anything Goes.” Kirby described this role and his role as the Mad Hatter in the Walnut Steet Theater’s children production of “Alice in Wonderland” as his two biggest high school accomplishments.
Kirby actively participates in the East’s theater and vocal departments as a performer in many shows and as a member of Voce. Triple threat Kirby has realized that his dancing experience has helped him in his theater endeavors.
“Once I started to realize that dance is a big part of musical theater, I saw the benefits of it and in some ways it gave me new appreciation for how great tap dancing is,” said Kirby.
However, Kirby has not always exhibited pride for his dancing abilities.
“I kept it a secret that I danced for years. I was ashamed of dancing for a while, probably from fourth grade to seventh grade…then at my Bar Mitzvah, that was the first time I ever showed anybody that I actually danced,” admitted Kirby. “I think I just had to say ‘this is who I am.’ ”
Kirby does not limit his interests solely to dancing, singing and acting. For almost every summer of his life, Kirby and his family have traveled to and explored the National Parks. Kirby has seen many amazing sights and most recently traveled to Utah’s Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument where he went slot canyoneering.
“Slot canyons are made by erosion, so the canyons are probably about six inches wide so you sort of go through sideways, and it’s just something that’s so neat and different and that’s what I love about nature and the power of it,” said Kirby.
In the future, when he is not exploring nature or performing his heart out, Kirby hopes to double major in theater and biology or business and move on to possibly starting up his own theatre company or becoming a teacher and then a drama department director. For now, catch him dancing away at Mr. East on Friday, March 27.
Mr. East countdown: Mr. Boxers and Briefcase – 10 days to go!
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Mr. Boxers and Briefcase! Hari Asuri, or Mr. Boxers and Briefcase, is known for guarding the halls of East and helping the citizens of C-wing intersection. However, on March 27, citizens of Cherry Hill East will have the chance to watch him perform in the 2015 Mr. East competition.
Adorned in a cape and with a pair of fresh boxers on his head, Asuri clearly has the courage to win this heated competition. To coincide with his courage, Asuri has full confidence that East citizens will abandon his current moniker to call him the victor of Mr. East 2015.
“I have a lot of things planned in my performance,” said Asuri. “Let’s just say that the audience will be in for some certain secrets of my origin and my adventures, and perhaps I will even be able to defeat my greatest nemesis, the arch-villain Señor It is. The audience will also meet my sidekick Boxer Boy.”
Asuri already planned out how he will influence East once he triumphs against his other competitors and wins the first place crown.
“As the winner of Mr. East, I aim to encourage young children everywhere to proudly wear underwear on their heads and have them embrace their own unique superpower,” said Asuri.
With the Mr. East competition slowly approaching, Asuri reflected on his past four years at East and his greatest accomplishments.
Asuri said, “Upon entry of the East hallways, I have been found saving the citizens of East and conquering the problems they have encountered on a daily basis between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.”
Once graduating from East and outcompeting his competitors, Asuri hopes to continue following his dreams: guiding East citizens towards a better future.
“When I’m not enjoying my lazy Sundays or browsing through underwear catalogues, I’m doing what I love to do, and that is defending the citizens of East from the C-wing stampedes, the strenuous workload, and the unconquerable Señor Itis, and I plan to serve my duties even after I graduate” said Asuri.
Although Asuri could not divulge much information about his personal life in order to conceal his secret identity, he guarantees an unforgettable performance that will even incorporate his favorite song to sing in the shower.
Make sure not to miss the opportunity to see Mr. Boxers and Briefcase on March 27 in his mission to finally overcome the vices at East.
Mr. East Countdown: Mr. Noahpologies – 9 Days to go!
This year at the twenty-eighth annual Mr. East pageant, one quirky contestant plans to walk off of the stage with no regrets. Noah Ritz (’15), now known as Mr. Noahpologies, is a witty, taco-sock-wearing musician with unique plans for the competition this year.
“[My act] will be some sort of mix between jazz and comedy,” said Ritz. “Half jazz, half comedy.”
Ritz is active in Jazz Band, Symphony Orchestra, Pit Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, playing the trombone in school and taking additional piano lessons. He says that his best memory at East was doing Pit Orchestra for the past three years, especially for the show “Peter Pan.”
Besides his musical abilities, Ritz also can juggle and ride a unicycle.
“But not at the same time,” he adds.
Ritz believes that he should win Mr. East because he is better than the rest–but also the most polite, of course.
“I’ve always enjoyed it in the past and I like the idea of presenting as kind of a face in the senior class,” said Ritz. “I’ve always liked putting myself out there in front of other people, making a fool of myself publicly, so this is perfect venue to do that.”
Ritz also has big plans for his own future after completing the Mr. East competition.
“I’d probably like to go into some sort of physical science field, but that could all change in college realistically,” said Ritz.
If he were ever to get a tattoo, Ritz admits that it would be of his own face, directly over his real face. He would also love to meet Ben Franklin, “hopefully alive.”
On the night of March 27, be prepared for a fun, jazzy act presented by Mr. Noahpologies.
Mr. East Countdown: Mr. Jess Do It – 2 Days to go!
Jesse Viggiano (‘15), also known as Mr. Jess Do It, plans to claim this year’s Mr. East title by finally showing off his lyrical voice. Viggiano is involved in East’s choir group “East Singers,” as well as the a Capella groups Stay Tuned.
“I feel I should be Mr. East simply because I represent all corners of our school and help to bring everyone together. I am a singer, and athlete, and a scholar always willing to help my peers,” said Viggiano.
Throughout his time at East, Viggiano has been one of the few people who have the ability to show dedication in the classroom and on the lacrosse field, while continuing to entertain those around him with his sense of humor and expressiveness.
This balance between serious and humorous is something that sets Viggiano apart from most, especially in the Mr. East competition. In addition, his singing performance will be something no one has ever really heard before.
“No one has ever really heard me sing, not even my family,” said Viggiano. “It’s the first time even my friends will be hearing me sing, so it will definitely be a surprise for everyone.”
In preparation for his performance, Viggiano has been rehearsing after school almost every day and perfecting his selected songs in his act on the guitar.
“It’s more of a mental preparation than anything,” he said.
Excited, anxious, and everything in between for the Mr. East competition, Viggiano will demonstrate his hidden talent and, as always, put a smile on everyone’s faces while doing so.
Mr. East Countdown: Mr. T – 5 Days to go!
Tin Vu (’15), also known as Mr. T, is not the first or last contestant to include dancing as a big part of his performance. But on Friday, March 27, Vu will bring his passion to East’s stage in a way that is entirely his own.
“I want to do [Mr. East] because… ever since freshman year, I started coming to performances and seeing other people do it, and I got inspired to try it myself. And I want to leave behind something at East that I’ll remember for the rest of my life… I’ve put in the work and effort,” said Vu, president of the East Break Dancing Club.
Vu promises not only an impressive dance routine, but also his own personal touch on it as well.
“I think my performance is unique in that it’s not just like dancing, but I’m also adding in comedy… not all of it is going to be break dancing,” he said.
Vu said that being a part of Break Dancing Club had a huge effect on him, and called becoming its president his biggest accomplishment at East.
“I’ve really enjoyed leading in my club and getting to know new people, helping them learn and learning myself,” said Vu. “It’s mostly self taught… as a middle schooler, I was always afraid to try it out, I saw YouTube videos of people… and I was pretty anxious, like, ‘I could never do this,’ but then I had a few friends who inspired me and gave me confidence to try it out.”
Mr. T said that if he had to describe himself in a word, he would say “chill or laid back.
“I’m calm, I’m collected, I’m humble, I like to get along with a lot of people,” said Vu.
Mr. T also named his necessities if he were stranded on a desert island.
“I have this toy, it’s called a Kendama, it’s like this Japanese ball and cup toy, and it keeps me occupied for hours, it teaches me patience,” Vu said. “Another thing would be some interesting books. I’m a fan of reading… and probably some kind of music, like speakers or something, because I like dancing.”
In addition to his island essentials, Vu said that if he could choose one power, it would be teleportation.
“Who wouldn’t want to teleport… You can get to anywhere; I could get off the island I was trapped on.”
Vu said one thing that many people do not know about him is that even though he thinks he looks “kind of scrawny, I had a black belt in Karate, and I did Aikido,” but he described himself as “a pretty open book.”
Vu also said that he enjoys Super Smash Bros. Melee, drawing, graphic design and basketball. He also added, “feel free to follow me on Twitter,” which many undoubtedly will after witnessing his performance during Friday’s competition.
Mr. East Countdown: Mr. Samazing – 7 Days to go!
Ready to present a “flashy” act at this year’s Mr. East competition is Sam Amon (’15), better known as Mr. Samazing.
“I’ve been to the past three [Mr. East competitions] and I’ve just really enjoyed most of the performances,” said Amon.
Amon is a member of SGA, one of the Board of Education representatives and a member of the golf team and EEW ice hockey team. One of his best memories was winning the high school ice hockey championship in his freshman year. As a pretty involved person both inside and outside of East, Amon hopes to incorporate some of his best memories in his talent act.
“I’m pretty much recreating history [in my act]…changing it within spirit week, especially the dance competition part of it,” Amon said. “After some heated debates and overthrowing of current dance teachers, I will be brought in to ‘teach’ a dance.”
As this year’s Mr. East theme is superheroes, Amon has adopted the role of Flash, the superhero with super speed. With his fast-paced and busy schedule of constantly saving the day and helping people of the East community, Amon hardly has any downtime to himself. When he does have a bit of free time, however, he likes to “slow it down and relax, [sipping] a nice cold beverage in [his] lawn chair.”
Overall, Amon looks forward to putting on a great show for his classmates by “flashing his talents.”
“I just want to give my peers a good performance,” he said. “I just want to entertain them and make it memorable-not even necessarily win-but just to make it funny and show off my talents, I guess you can say.”