Mario on The TGP Casting Special: I am what it means to be fearless to fight for what you truly want.
When I was a child, I LOVED attention. I was always making people laugh or playing the piano. It's hard for any entertainer to be successful, let alone blind ones. Over the years, I just focused on honing my crafts. I worked on all my skills as a singer/songwriter, actor, pianist, comedian, writer, motivational speaker, and even my skills in the broadcasting field. I have always been determined to get to the life I want through one of these doors. I hated working desk jobs. I'm a people person, and I know I was born to entertain. If I could live on stage or perform every day, then that is a life worth living. I am resilient, I have personality for days, and I'm the extreme definition of multi-talented in this competition. I'm defined by my talent first, not the awesome (albeit inspirational) story that happens to come with me. I am what it means to be fearless to fight for what you truly want.
The Glee Project was a perfect fit for me because I just love performing. I love to tell stories through my performances, whether it be through singing, dancing, or acting. I think what sets The Glee Project apart from all of those other shows is that is really is a master’s class for performers.
I was mortified to see how many people were auditioning for the competition, especially when I got to LA callbacks and realized that another blind person was there. I thought, "Oy gevalt, someone's stolen half of my story and edge!" I was down and desperately hoping that my talent spoke well for me at the auditions.
I auditioned with “Out Here on My Own” from the musical Fame, and a Michael Bolton belting ballad, “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You.” I chose “Out Here on My Own” because I assumed that not many guys (if any) were taking the risk to sing Broadway songs. Although I have a pop/R&B style voice, I knew that I could pull off a Broadway song. Secondarily, “How Am I Supposed to Live without You” showed my versatility, and that I could belt when necessary. As I had ran to see Robert, I was rather breathless during my performances of these songs. So when he told me I was “amazing,” I thought I was going to faint. He said he loved my voice.
Performing is the difference between living and existing for me. GLEE incorporates everything I care about: dancing, singing and acting, albeit I just discovered my dancing talent. More importantly, I have been writing a biographical story about being a blind kid in America, and I felt that GLEE and The Glee Project would be an additional opportunity to have my story heard so as to inspire others. I knew it was time to give something my all.
I felt like my head was going to explode when Robert told me I made the cut and was going to be on The Glee Project. The only words I heard from him were, "You are a yes." After that, Robert couldn't get another word in because my screaming frenzy wouldn't stop. My super excitement transformed me from a macho muscular guy with a second tenor's voice, into a screaming pre-teen girl. I would try to quiet myself and sit down in the chair again to see if Robert had more to say, only to be grabbed by another fit of disbelief and excitement. Then, more screaming. Poor Robert.
My story transcends so many stereotypes. I hope that I inspire the disabled and the non-disabled that it doesn't matter if you were used, abandoned, bullied, or forgotten. You can still triumph if you love yourself even when you think no one else does. I experienced all of this on top of going blind, and just as it did for me, I want people to know that things will get better if they want them too. I'm a fearless performer, so if a simple blind guy like me is not afraid to move, I want to inspire others to "get up off that thang" and move!
If I win The Glee Project, I would like to play a football player named Arnauz who, due to the on-set of a severe condition brought about by a sporting accident, goes totally blind. Arnauz is then sent to the only school his grandmother believes won't make him feel invisible. Thus, Arnauz finds his strength in the glee club. It would be a great opportunity to explore the social, sexual, and technological aspects of being a blind teen in America. It's a story that's never been told before.