StarKid’s Joey Richter on his Disney Debut and What StarKid Fans Can Expect on The APOCALYPTOUR!
April 27, 2012 by Kath Skerry
If I were to tell a fellow StarKid fan that same news the reaction would be a bit different…”uh, no kidding, Kath. I’ve had the DVR set to record for weeks now. I’ll be watching it live but also live tweeting/blogging/tumbling it with friends and then posting photos and animated gifs of every one of his scenes all while trying to get his name trending on Twitter.”
These are StarKid fans. These are my people.
They are a passionate fanbase whose power has catapulted StarKid – a theatre group born of the University of Michigan – into a legit entity in the entertainment world. In the few short years since the release of A Very Potter Musical, fans have viewed videos on StarKid’s YouTube channel almost 122,000,000 times. They have put StarKid albums and songs on the Billboard charts and most recently at the top of iTunes album chart. If you ask StarKid’s most recognizable member, GLEE star Darren Criss, he’ll be the first to tell you of how StarKid fans have contributed to his insane rise to fame over the past few years.
So it seems only fitting that a fan was a part of connecting StarKid favorite, Joey Richter, with his television debut. Richter will make his first (but not only) appearance as Officer Petey in tonight’s episode of JESSIE – a show chronicling the adventures of Jessie (star Debby Ryan), who moves from Texas to New York City and becomes a nanny to four young and rambunctious children.
I spoke with Richter earlier this week about his role on JESSIE as well as the new StarKid tour – Apocalyptour, kicking off next month.
“I audition for the pilot back in May and it was my first big audition for a show. Adam Lipidus, who is one of the producers of the show, has a daughter who is a Starkid fan. She had been saying ‘you should write a role for Joey Richter. Get Joey Richter on the show’. So they brought me in to audition for the role of Tony, who is the reoccurring doorman. I had gone to network for Disney, and I didn’t end up getting role but I made good connections with the casting office and Adam and we kept in contact. So when the chance for another role came up – this role of Officer Petey – they brought me back in. It’s funny because the role was written for a 30-40 year old man. So I had gone in the audition room and I was the only guy my age. I kind of thought ‘Is this a joke? Was there a mistake? Was I sent the wrong specs?’ But I got the callback and every time I went back all these older men were staring at me and obviously thinking ‘well at least this guy’s not going to get it.’ But I got the call that I got the part and within the week we shot the episode.”
While Richter’s first episode is tonight, he will be back later in the season. “They wrote my character back in for another episode, which was really awesome. I loved going back to set and seeing everyone again.” His second episode was the last episode shot of the season, but whether or not it will serve as the season finale, Richter wasn’t sure. But he did say he hopes to be back again next season.
As for working with kids and teens on a Disney show, Joey said it was a wonderful experience. “I was pretty blessed for my first experience working on a TV show to have such a cool group. Everyone was so nice and so fun. We just had a great working with each other. There are a lot of kids on the set too and so it was a real family environment.”
“It’s funny,” Richter say, “being a recent college grad coming in on a show, you still you feel pretty young and then you get there and the more experienced people on set are at least 10 or 15 years younger than you. I’m really an amateur here. But everyone was fantastic. Debby Ryan who plays Jessie is just the sweetest. When I went back on set for my second episode there was already a sense of familiarity and I was greeted with a warm welcome back. Given the opportunity I would love to go back and have fun with everyone again.”
While StarKid fans will no doubt be flocking to the Disney channel tonight to support Joey, they will also be getting ready to see him and his fellow StarKid friends live when StarKid’s second national tour, The Apocalyptour, kicks off next month. The show, which Richter says will be a completely different concert going experience than their recent and wildly successful S.P.A.C.E. Tour, kicks off on May 9th at the House of Blues in Chicago and finishes up at The Roseland Ballroom in New York City on June 10th. Hearing the demands from fans, StarKid added a West Coast leg to this tour including shows in San Francisco and three nights at the House of Blues in Los Angeles.
In addition to Joey Richter, fans will once again see favorites Jaime Lyn Beatty, Brian Holden, Lauren Lopez, Dylan Saunders, Meredith Stepien and Joe Walker on stage during the tour. Joining the Apolalyptour will also be Jim Povolo and Brian Rosenthal.
Darren Criss joined the previous S.P.A.C.E. tour for dates in Boston and New York City. No official word whether or not Criss will join his friends again at certain shows this time around, but I wouldn’t be surprise.
If you were a StarKid fan lucky enough to see them in your hometown last year, Richter says this show will be an all new experience. “The important thing for people to know is that it’s going to be a completely different show than last time,” says Joey. “The S.P.A.C.E Tour was more of a concert experience. It was us being ourselves and joking around between numbers, and performing a lot of the songs for the first time in front our fans. On this tour, there’s going to be a lot of new numbers. Some repeats of fan favorites of course, but with incredible new arrangements.”
Despite being a StarKid veteran, even Richter had some new music to learn. “Don’t get me started on how jealous I was that I wasn’t able to be in [StarKid's newest hit show] Holy Musical B@man and just to be part of that show”, he said. “But it’s been cool to be able to jump in and sing the songs. [Holy Musical B@man] is definitely a different vibe from the music that Darren (Criss) and A.J. (Holmes) had written for Starkid in the past. But it’s amazing and I’m having an awesome time with it.”
StarKid fans will undoubtedly have an “awesome time” seeing Joey Richter on their TV tonight. And it’s something I think they should get used to. With his talent, charm and good looks, I have no doubt that more than just StarKid fans will be talking about Joey Richter very soon.
JESSIE airs tonight on The Disney Channel at 8/7c
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