By Abby Wojcik
Assistant Features Editor
As Easter break gets closer and closer but continues to seem so far out of reach, the annual Canisius Royal event is here to provide a distraction of entertainment and fun. This year there are eight contestants in the beauty pageant/comedy show: Christian Cavalieri, Anna Kubiak, Jerrell Lanos, Mia LaMarco, Jo Riso, Mike Walizada and Jared Westhoven.
The show will consist of each contestant’s introduction, a group dance, individual talent performances, a lip sync battle, pick up lines, and a question-and-answer portion. The questions are the section of the show that the contestants have the least preparation for. The questions are different every year and could range from fun and open-ended, to very specific trivia.
All of the performers are representing a club by doing this show and each of them picked a Mr. or Mrs. Canisius name to represent themselves that usually relates to their talent, club, and personalities. They also all picked a charity because all of the proceeds they make from tickets, t-shirt sales, and anything else will be donated to that charity. Last year they raised about $1,000.
Kourtney Malcolm, Vice President of RHA, has been working on this show all semester. She revealed that “It’s been crazy. It’s very stressful. I will admit that I’ve been stressed out more than I can even imagine doing this, but it’s rewarding.” She organized the interview process, the rehearsal schedule, everything to do with administration, and basically runs the whole show.
They have all been rehearsing since January learning their group dance and mastering their talents. Everything they do will be scored by four faculty judges whose identities are unknown to the contestants until the day of the show. There will also be an opportunity for the audience to vote for their favorite contestant and name them Mr. or Ms. Congeniality.
Christian Cavalieri, senior psychology major, expressed how much he loved being a part of Canisius Royals and described that there is “a unique energy to the show, everyone is so excited to be there and whether you do a bad or good job, it’s still going to be hilarious and everyone is going to support you.”
Cavalieri was the Vice President of RHA last year and after hearing all the cheers and the audience going crazy from backstage, he thought “I want to be the one on stage that everyone is going crazy for.”
Even though he was familiar with the show and was confident going into it, he learned that “I’m actually a pretty nervous person,” Cavalieri said. “And I’ve realized I’m kind of a perfectionist.”
Cavalieri chose St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy as his charity because “I like their mission a lot,” he explained. “I just like . . . that it’s a place [that] accepts everyone and anyone. They don’t just do soup kitchens, it’s also for people that are recovering drug addicts, or just got out of prison. They house them, feed them, try to help them get jobs, so they are an all encompassing charity. I know that every dollar that would go to St. Luke’s would go to something good.”
Another contestant in Canisius Royals, Anna Kubiak, is also very passionate about her role in the show. Her name is Miss String Sister, which makes sense because she is representing Phi Sigma Sigma and Chamber Orchestra and her talent portion will involve the violin.
Applying for Canisius Royals was never something Kubiak planned on doing but one of her philosophies in life is to keep an open mind about everything. She’s learned that “If you don’t try then you’re always going to wonder ‘what if’ and it kind of gets rid of that what if . . .
You’re never going to know unless you try.”
After being accepting into the production Kubiak admitted that “I was honestly really intimidated by everybody when I first got here. I wasn’t really sure what I got myself into but getting more into it everybody has their aspect where they shine in the show and it’s just really wonderful to be surrounded by so many wonderful people.” She has learned to be more confident in herself and her abilities and can now say: “I am capable of doing this, I am up to the same level as these other people and I can do this.”
Last year’s Mr. Canisius, Jacob Ducoli (Mr. Rapunzel), is now co-hosting the show with Kate Anticoli. They will keep everything on track, get the audience involved, and even tell some jokes. Ducoli reflected on the change from contestant to host, saying: “It’s so different ‘because when you’re performing and when you’re apart of it you get really close with everybody and you only see it from one perspective . . . but when you’re a host you can see the whole show really come together. So it’s really interesting.”
Anticoli has been involved with RHA and Canisius Royals all four years of her time at Canisius. She loves how It’s a huge campus tradition and one of the most anticipated events of the year. She especially appreciates that “It optimizes being yourself and being as weird and wacky as you want, which is like what we are like here at Canisius. You are free to be yourself and do whatever.”
Canisius Royals will take place this Saturday in Montante Cultural Center at 7pm. Tickets are $3 in the RHA club room or outside the dining hall and $4 at the door. You will not want to miss this spectacular display of talent and humor.