Into its third year, the Mr. Savannah Pageant, hosted by the Savannah Sweet Tease, has quite possibly become the most outrageous and fun spectacle in the city.
Every year the local burlesque troupe puts out a call for locals to join the pageant, which offers prizes and, of course, bragging rights to the performer who snags the crown.
“The competition got me out of my comfort zone,” Mr. Savannah 2017 Philip Custer said. “On stage, I was completely free, and I was my authentic self. Watching, from the stage, all my friends as they cheered on and feeling the support and love from them meant so much. I was so used to going to performances and seeing all my friends do amazing things on stage and they all came together to show support.
"They made me confident enough to do it, too. The experience was incredible.”
Anita Narcisse (a.k.a. Rita D’LaVane) one of the founders of the Savannah Sweet Tease, will once again serve as the master of ceremonies for this year’s pageant.
“This year is probably the best lineup we've had so far,” Narcisse said. “I have to say I am excited to see what everyone brings to the competition. Our contestant lineup includes returning competitors Broella D'Vil, Kalub Holt, Matt Hewitt, a.k.a. Matty Troubles, Jeffrey Giddens and Doc Faust. Newcomers to the pageant are Lawrence Allan Dupre from Tied and Tasseled, Keith Baudry, comedian Chris Davison, Ashtonious Rex, Ricky Stocks and Corbin Monoxide.”
The pageant is unlike any other. It does, however, include the traditional swimsuit category as well as a talent competition, which is scored by a panel of judges. This year’s special guest judge is the very first Mr. Savannah, Petey Worrell.
“I think every year each contestant really takes advantage of the chance to become their own persona on stage, their own character; someone that they transform into,” Narcisse said. “As soon as they step out you can tell they have prepared themselves well, as far as creating their own unique look and style. It’s really awesome to witness that."
Prizes include a crown, trophy and cash for the winner, she said, adding, "Both the first and second runner-up of the contest gets some nice gifts as well.”
Each year has delivered some memorable moments. Narcisse recalls one of the best memories from the 2017 pageant.
“Each time I look back and remember Alex Lee, who for his talent part of the competition did a monologue from 'Independence Day' in probably the most scantily clad outfit out of all of our other contestants. It was unexpected and extraordinary,” Narcisse recalled.
“This year I’m definitely looking forward to watching Philip Custer during his step-down speech,” she continued. “It will be interesting to hear what he has done during his reign as Mr. Savannah. I am also looking forward to this year’s talent part of the show. It’s my favorite category every year. I just love seeing everyone expressing themselves creatively through that platform. It is where they can do absolutely anything they want.”