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Former Heath High School student Allie Gonino to perform on TV Thursday evening

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By J.J. Smith. Former Heath High School student Allie Gonino, who is now a Hollywood actress and one of five members of the Columbia Records teen-girl-group “The Stunners,” will be performing on TV three times during this Christmas season  beginning Thursday evening.

The Stunners will first perform their new Christmas Song, “Santa Bring My Soldier Home,” Dec. 10, 6:30 pm, on the TV Show “Extra,” which airs locally on NBC5 TV.

Next, they will perform on the “Wendy Williams Show,” Monday, Dec. 14, 10 am, on Fox4 TV.

They will also perform live at Rockefeller Center in New York City on the “Today Show,” Wednesday, Dec. 23, on NBC5 TV. The time is not yet known.

Gonino, 19, the daughter of Heath residents Dr. John and Linda Gonino, who own and operate the Gonino Center for Healing in Heath, is working hard on her career as a solo singer and as a member of the group  modeled after the Spice Girls and organized by former pop star “Vitamin C,” said her father.

Gonino is a blonde, joining other teens who are Black, Hispanic, Asian and a redhead. The group was created and is directed by ”Vitamin C,” aka Colleen Fitzpatrick, whose third single “Graduation (Friends Forever)” became one of the most ubiquitous songs of early 2000, pushing her into platinum sales and worldwide fame.

The group recently recorded its first song on video called “Bubble Gum” on Youtube.com.   

The Stunners are also contracted with Lionsgate to produce either a movie or TV pilot which may lead to a TV series of their own. The project is co-produced by Dave Broome, who also produces NBC”s “The Biggest Loser” reality show.

Her father said Gonino just finished acting in her second movie called “Cougar Hunting,” shot in Aspen CO, which stars Lara Flynn Boyle, Vanessa Angel, Jillian Murray, Matt Prokop and Randy Wayne. The movie is currently in post-production and will be released Nov. 1, 2010.

Gonino also has co-starred in several TV shows, including the popular new TV comedy “10 Things I Hate About You,” co-starring Lindsey Shaw, Meaghan Jette Martin, Ethan Peck and Nicholas Braun.

She appeared in five episodes of the show broadcast on the ABC Family network.

She also appeared twice in 2008 as Marissa in “The Suite Life On Deck,” a spinoff of the popular Disney Channel show “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.”

In 2007 she appeared as a cheerleader in her first movie ”Love,” as well as Monique in the Disney TV series “Cory in the House.”

Her first TV appearance was in a 2006 episode of the TV series “Unfabulous.”

According to her father, Allie attended Heath High School into the 10th grade, but then she and her mother decided to move to Los Angeles so the Cain Middle School graduate could pursue an acting and entertainment career. She has since graduated from high school, obtaining her GED.

She’s always had music in her blood, says her dad.

“When she was six years old, she said she wanted to learn to play the violin. My wife and I thought that was unusual, for such a young child to ask for such an instrument.”

At age seven she began taking classical violin and classical ballet lessons. She quickly grew as a dancer and young musician. When she was 9, she discovered she also had a talent for singing.

“Then one day when she was about 9, as her mom and I were driving down the road, we suddenly looked at each other and asked, ‘Is that our little girl singing?’ 

“She sounded so good that we decided then that we needed to help her explore a professional singing career,” he said.

She soon auditioned at local Oprys, where she performed country music, yodeling, singing, and playing fiddle and mandolin, at the Garland Opry, The Johnnie High Country Music Review, Dennison Opry and Grapevine Opry.

As a freshman in high school, Allie took a very strong interest in musical theater, said her father. Her love for acting grew, and it went hand in hand with her other artistic passions.

Dr. Gonino said his daughter now lives in Los Angeles but returns to the Rockwall-Heath area as often as possible to visit family and friends. She still loves to perform country music, as well.

Their family is thrilled for her and believes her future is very bright, he added.

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