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Manganiello re-applied to Carnegie Mellon a year later, and was one of 17 students accepted into the acting program.
He performed in theatre productions and wrote, produced and acted in the student film Out of Courage 2.
He played Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire for the West Virginia Public Theatre in 2008, directed by his former Carnegie Mellon professor Geoffrey Hitch.
Manganiello starred in the west coast premiere of Terrence Mc Nally’s Unusual Acts of Devotion in June 2009, alongside Doris Roberts, Richard Thomas, Harriet Harris and Maria Dizzia.
Manganiello traveled to New York and Los Angeles through his university to participate in group auditions, which provided him contacts in the entertainment business.
As of 2010, Manganiello lives in Los Angeles, California.
He quickly signed with a talent agent, and 3 days later, auditioned for the role of Peter Parker in the Sam Raimi-directed film, Spider-Man (2002).As a student at Carnegie Mellon University, Manganiello appeared as Lorenzo in The Merchant of Venice at the Quantum Theatre and played Joe in Starlight Productions' The Last Night of Ballyhoo.He played "The Chick Magnet" in May 2007 at the New York City premiere of Skirts & Flirts, a monologue by Gloria Calderon Kellett, which was a finalist for HBO's Aspen Comedy Festival.He arrived on the series as a bodyguard, hired by Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) for Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), when her romantic companion, vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), goes missing.Manganiello described the character's relationship to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as "a love square" between his character, Stackhouse, Northman, and Compton.
He shot television pilots for 100 Questions and the Pittsburgh-set sitcom Livin' on a Prayer, written in part by How I Met Your Mother writer and fellow CMU alum, Kourtney Kang.