Two hundred fifty College students gathered to watch “The Lion King” on April 5 in the Cromwell Main Lounge, where it was survival of the most attractive, talented and articulate.
Far from a screening of the Disney classic, this was a male beauty pageant in which eight College men strut their stuff in their best apparel and dazzled the audience with their talents.
The ninth annual “Lion King” competition, hosted by Delta Phi Epsilon, included formal wear, talent and a question and answer section.
“The contestants were free to do and wear what they wanted as long as it was appropriate,” Heather O’Loughlin, Lion King chairwoman and junior English major, said.
The event raised over $1,700 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which has been the official philanthropy of Delta Phi Epsilon since 1958.
The contestants were each sponsored by a student organization. Gabe Alonso, sophomore marketing major, who was sponsored by Sigma Sigma Sigma, was crowned the Lion King.
“The guy who won was really good,” Angela Massimi, freshman English and elementary education major, said. “But really everyone did a wonderful job.”
Dave Salge, junior art education major, came in second place and David Dziengowski, senior history major, graciously accepted third.
To place in the competition, these men each had to stand out in the three categories. First up was the formal wear competition, when a member of Delta Phi Epsilon escorted and introduced each contestant. Each man gave a short speech on the organization that sponsored him.
“That is the best I have seen those guys look in a while,” Lindsey Oxley, sophomore communication studies and political science major, said. “I am not in Greek life, but I went to support my friends who were involved and really had a great time,” she said.
Next came the talent competition, which seemed to be the crowd favorite. “I loved the talents section,” Marissa Eckrote, sophomore health and exercise science major, said. “Everyone did something so different, but they were all wonderful.”
The display of talents was as diverse as it was comical. Dziengowski’s impersonations were a huge hit, ranging from “It’s a Wonderful Life” star Jimmy Stewart, to political heads like Bill Clinton and George Bush Sr., to Rocky Balboa.
Salge awed the crowd with his own rendition of the Disney movie “The Lion King” in honor of the competition. His humorous and light-hearted display of talent was a hit.
“I thought all the acts were great this year,” O’Loughlin said. “Each contestant did such an amazing job. If I had to pick one though, it would have to be Scott Brettel sponsored by Sigma Pi Fraternity. He dressed up in his high school marching band uniform and played the tuba. It was really funny!”
Alonso was another favorite, singing “Rainbow Connection” in a Kermit-the-Frog voice. And Mike Rabasca, junior business administration, wooed the audience as he played the guitar and sang.
“I thought the event was great, and my favorite part was the talent part because you see certain people around campus, and you don’t expect that they can do certain things,” Jennifer Tobin, senior elementary education and math major, said. “Then they get on stage and it’s just like, wow, I didn’t know they could do that.”
The last part of the event was the interview, where each contestant had to answer one question on the spot. Heather Roessler, sophomore psychology major, said she thought Dziengowski provided the best answer. Dziengowski was asked which club he would be president of if he could be president of any, to which he answered the Future Alumni Association. He thinks involvement after graduation is extremely important and that he sees the College as a family to which he will always belong.
When asked what he would tell incoming freshmen about getting involved socially at the College, Alonso responded to the mostly Greek crowd that he would tell them to join a fraternity or sorority. He explained how much his fraternity means to him and how it has positively impacted his life.
While the contestants were on stage they were judged by four people. O’Loughlin explained that this year the sorority tried something new by picking an audience member to be a judge, and it worked out really well.
“As a judge for the event, my favorite part of the show was talent,” Natalie Dallavalle, Delta Phi Epsilon member and junior English major, said. “Everyone had such diverse acts that were so entertaining!”
There was also a “People’s Choice” award, for which buckets were passed around the audience, each with a contestant’s name on it. Rabasca’s bucket had the most money at the end of the event, so he won the award.
“I had a great time,” Massimi said. “It was really funny and very entertaining.”
Oxley agreed. “Definitely a lot of laughs,” she said. “Can’t wait until next year’s!”