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Manatee High student auditions online for 'Glee Project'

Before she uploaded her audition video on Oxygen’s “The Glee Project” casting website, there were many students at Manatee High School to whom Trina Rizzo had never spoken more than a simple hello.

Now the senior spends 10 minutes between classes listening to peers tell her how much they want to help get her video seen by the whole community.

“The Glee Project” on Oxygen combines this new “Gleek” phase with America’s thirst for reality shows and gives everyday people the chance to get a starring role on “Glee.”

The popular Fox television show revolves around a high school Spanish teacher determined to restore his school’s glee club to its former level. It involves many musical numbers so the actors must be triple-threats: melodious singers, ace actors and fabulous dancers.“‘Glee’ is a really nifty show because it reflects society,” Rizzo said. “Most importantly, ‘Glee’ has given classic show tunes like ‘West Side Story’ and ‘Singing in the Rain’ an opportunity to make a comeback.”

Prospective contestants for “The Glee Project” had to upload a video to the casting website. The video is the actor answering a few personal questions and then singing an audition song.

The public can view the videos and “Like” them until the casting directors review them and choose 12 contestants to be on the show. The more views and likes a video has, the more likely casting directors will watch a particular video. Last year there were two winners on the show: Samuel Larsen and Damian McGinty. They are both appearing in a seven-episode story arc this season.

Rizzo is no novice to the performing arts. She has been performing in professional and community theater since she was 8. She says it is her “hobby and passion in life.”

Juan Martinez, who worked with Trina in “Hairspray,” said her passion is palpable.

“She is always striving to do better,” he said. “I am honored to have worked with such a passionate performer.”

“The Glee Project” isn’t Rizzo’s only current project. She and her younger sister Holly Rizzo, a freshman, auditioned for “America’s Got Talent.” They sang the national anthem with sign language. The producers also had them record another take of their audition to appear on television.

Rizzo uploaded her “Glee” video Nov. 12. As of Saturday night, it had nearly 1,750 views and 450 likes. Friends and acquaintances have been reposting the video on social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

The video is located at www.thegleeprojectcasting.com. Search “Trina Rizzo” and you’ll find her audition under the user ID vesper102093. The “Like” button is underneath the video itself.

Rizzo claims above all else she’d just be excited to be on the show, even if she was the first to be eliminated.

“But on the other hand,” she said, “someone has to win, so it might as well be me, right?”

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