Joe Serafini is a 22-year-old actor who went from being a full-time college student at the University of Michigan to jumping right into the world of Disney+’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. In the series, Serafini plays Seb Matthew-Smith, a theater kid and student at East High. Seb’s involvement in the high school’s drama department results in his audition and ultimate casting as the fabulous Sharpay in the school’s rendition of “High School Musical.” Tim Federle and Miss Jenn certainly have an eye for talent!
Joe is funny, ridiculously talented, and a total sweetheart. It was such a pleasure to have him on The Sarah Scoop Show and he definitely gave us the inside scoop on all things High School Musical: The Musical: The Series! Check it out:
Joe recalled what his first thoughts were when he read the part of Seb:
“In the character description…I remember it was like ‘wholesome farm boy…unassuming and just like, guileless’ was the word. And it says he ends up auditioning for the role of Sharpay and getting it. I was like, ‘what is this character like how is that gonna work? What is that storyline and how is that gonna happen?'”– Joe Serafini
Despite Joe’s initial perplexity about how a character could be all of those things and play the powerhouse role of Sharpay, he nailed the performance. Seb is without a doubt, a fan-favorite.
Just like other actors of the show, Joe sees similarities between him and his onscreen persona:
“I just think he’s a lot like me. I’ve said before that I feel like Seb is who I was kind of keeping inside in my own high school experience. I went to, not a conservative per se school, but it was in a suburb in a town that. was not very diverse, so I didn’t feel as comfortable to be my true, like full out, extra self as I did when I was around my theater friends. I feel like Seb, also, in the same way, finds his theater tribe where he is able to be himself and, fully express himself and gets to play Sharpay because he just wants to. So, that was very interesting to me and I wanted to continue to explore that.”– Joe Serafini
Similarly to the other cast members experiences, Joe felt like he could relate to his character in ways that made the portrayal even more authentic.
Joe initially auditioned for the role of EJ, but was later asked to send in a tape for Seb. He explained why he tried out for EJ first:
“Well I initially auditioned for EJ. That’s like a fun story that I tell. And I never heard anything, I kinda forgot about it and then Seb came along… For EJ, I was sent his materials for the audition. Obviously, Matt Cornett is brilliant in the role, but I think when they cast Matt Cornett, they start to write around how he is and of course, he’s a brilliant actor. But I think at that time, I saw different parts of myself in EJ…He was preppy and he was always playing the leads. I also was doing that in high school! But I don’t know, I wasn’t as cocky as EJ might be in the show. He was a fun character to try for a day.”– Joe Serafini
Joe loves the role of Seb and thinks the casting was just right. When asked if he thought he was where he was meant to be, he replied:
“Yeah, for sure. Totally. I always am saying, just trust that you are where you’re supposed to be and that is a very peaceful state of mind.”– Joe Serafini
We can’t imagine anyone else playing that role that you do, Joe! I think I speak for everyone when I say, I am thankful for Tim Federle’s undeniable gift for casting.
Joe and Frankie (who plays Carlos on HSMTMTS) are quarantining together during the production’s hiatus and they are keeping each other laughing:
“We are quarantining together in LA right now. We’ve been watching lots of tv. We built a puzzle. We’ve been coloring a lot. I got a new keyboard…We’ve been singing and you know, keeping ourselves alive…We were on such a good role [filming] season 2 and then now, you know, we’re just on a little break. We’ll hopefully be back soon!”– Joe Serafini
Seblos is a fan-favorite relationship in the series between Joe Serafini and Frankie Rodriguez’s characters, Seb and Carlos. The actors are good friends off screen and they ended up quarantining together after production was put on hold due to the COVID-19 crisis. Rather than staying in the somewhat unfamiliar Salt Lake City, they went to LA, where they are getting through by continuing to sing. After all, the show must go on.
Joe explains the actors’agency over their lines. When asked if it’s true that some fan-favorite dialogue has been improvised he explained:
“Sometimes, yeah! Frankie and I, we watched the whole season 1 in the beginning weeks of quarantine, just so we had something to do and live tweeted it. I remember someone was like, ‘was that a line in the show?’ I think it was in episode 6, when I break a heel during the photoshoot. I say, ‘I think he’s mad at us’ and that was not in the script, but that was just such a Seb thing that just came out in the moment…Seb would be concerned that someone’s mad at him cause he’s just so unaware.”– Joe Serafini
It’s so special when actors are able to have some creative liberty over their roles and Tim Federle has a way of introducing actors to their characters in a way that makes the performance even more spectacular. This is just one example of the actors responding to a scene in a way that is funny and true to their character that it makes the final cut.
Joe provided us with the lessons that he hopes fans of the show will learn from Seb’s character and gives some of his own advice too:
“I think just being yourself and not being afraid to go for things that may be not traditional. You know, for a boy to audition for this fabulous role of Sharpay is really a leap and honestly so brave. So, I would say to follow your gut and follow what you want to do. I think that’s a really valuable lesson that Seb teaches us. It teaches me, honestly.”– Joe Serafini
Seb’s portrayal of Sharpay in the school’s production of High School Musical was a force to be reckoned with. His rendition of “Stick to the Status Quo” was stunning and according to social media videos of Serafini practicing the number, those dance moves are all him! Consider us incredibly impressed.
The star gave us the scoop on what you can find the cast of HSMTMTS doing on their off days in Utah:
“We’ve gone on hikes. There’s obviously lots of wonderful nature trails and we do game nights where we play card games or any games. I mean, Joshua Bassett is the king of explaining Spicy Uno to anyone who hasn’t played before, so it’s a blast. We have so much fun!”– Joe Serafini
That sounds like so much fun! Can we join?
He responds to Tim Federle’s quote about Joe having the “best straight out of college job ever”:
“That’s very kind. Yeah, it was such a blessing to come into my life when it did. I feel very lucky.”– Joe Serafini
Tim Federle, the series’ showrunner and executive producer has kept an eye of Joe and his undeniable talent for quite a while. Federle made the statement about Joe’s first job is better than any other new college grad’s in an interview with MEL Magazine.
Joe told us the crazy story of how he got the role of Seb and how his life changed so quickly:
“I was a junior in college when I was asked to audition for the show and I got it, literally, within less than a week. So, it was a very rapid life change. I was kind of going back and forth between school and the set because as a recurring character, they only needed me when they needed me…When I really started being the on the show more, luckily, I was actually done with school by then, so I was able to just be out in Salt Lake City a little bit more and feel more comfortable there.”– Joe Serafini
Seb is officially a series regular and Joe gushed about his excitement when he found out:
“Whenever season 2 rolled around, I was in my senior year of college in October…I think that’s when they found out that season 2 was renewed and that’s when Tim called me and told me that they were planning on bringing me back for season 2 as a series regular this time. So I was very honored to accept and sign the contract!”– Joe Serafini
Audiences couldn’t possibly be more excited about seeing more of Joe’s character in season 2 of HSMTMTS. We are ecstatic to see what the spring musical has in store for Seb and the rest of East High’s drama department!
Like the rest of the HSMTMTS cast, Joe spoke fondly of the cast and crew:
“It’s a great environment to be in, especially with our production crew and our cast. It’s a really great group of people. I heard Frankie say the same thing earlier!”– Joe Serafini
The cast of the show are such sweet friends on and off-screen. They are all over each other’s social media while filming and even now that they aren’t actively together. They can’t get enough of each other and we can’t get enough of them! Bloopers and behind the scenes shenanigans can be found on Disney’s Youtube page. Be warned, they might give you a serious case of friend group FOMO.
Joe gave us the inside scoop about life on set and how he had to balance it all while in school:
“Actually this was new to me because I had been on a television pilot that was kind of lower scale in Pittsburgh when I was twelve. So, this was my first time on a professional set too. Yeah, it’s early mornings, usually… I feel like I would usually by 6 or 7. It’s long days and it’s long days of like sitting around and then you go and do your scene and then you sit down. And then, you go and do the other side of the scene and then you go and sit down. So, it’s long and it’s tiring. Especially, while I was doing college and filming at the same time, that was a challenge to keep focused on what I was doing in that moment.”– Joe Serafini
We can’t imagine how Joe managed to juggle it all, but we sure are glad that he did! East High just wouldn’t be the same without him.
Joe told us about why he didn’t go to. a performing arts high school and how he thoroughly enjoyed that time of his life:
“I did a lot of professional theater in Pittsburgh where I grew up. There are performing arts schools that are well renowned in Pittsburgh, but they were all far away from where I lived. I think that alone was an indicator that I was like, ‘I don’t really wanna travel an hour to go to a performing arts school’ and also, I was getting that outlet after school at Pittsburgh CLO Academy. I also enjoyed having that regular life growing up. I wanted to have the normal students that aren’t performing arts kids. Not that there’s anything wrong with performing arts kids, I’m literally one of them… I feel like it was a good way to grow up and I feel like I’m very happy with how I was pushed into the world from Bethel Park, Pennsylvania.”– Joe Serafini
Joe gave us insight on what to expect from season 2. More original music and new characters are on their way:
“Based on the new music that I’ve heard so far, I just am excited to see the new music that comes out of season 2 and the different voices that we get to hear. There’s some new characters that are pretty interesting and with new characters, brings new storylines, so I’m excited to see the drama that unfolds for every character, really.”– Joe Serafini
Attention: this is not a drill! There will be more original music in season 2! Thank goodness, because we just can’t get enough of these songs and the actors’ unbelievable vocals. We can’t wait to meet the newcomers at East High and how they will break the status quo. This interview definitely made it even harder to wait patiently for season 2. Thanks for the inside scoop, Joe!
Joe left us wondering what we can expect from this fabulous East High theater kid in upcoming episodes:
“I haven’t seen too much Seb drama yet, but we’ll see. I’d love to see what happens to Seb!”– Joe Serafini
Joe thanked fans for their dedication to HSMTMTS and encouraged people to continue telling the cast how they connect to the show:
“First of all, thank you for supporting us and supporting our show. It means the world, truly. Also, just keep doing you! I love seeing how the show resonates with different audience members and I want you to keep feeling that and keep sharing it with us, cause it really does mean a lot to us.”– Joe Serafini
The star told us where we can keep up with all things quarantine, filming and more:
“Because everyone took just Joe Serafini or the simpler ones!”– Joe Serafini
Joe keeps fans up to date on all things him, while in quarantine. Check out his Instagram where he is completing the 30 Day Song Challenge: Broadway Edition and head on over to his Twitter for some honest and downright hilarious quarantine thoughts.
If you weren’t obsessed with this talented guy before, we hope you are now! It was so much fun hearing from him about life on and offset. Don’t forget to check out the first season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series on Disney+. And file away the name Joe Serafini because he has a bright future ahead!
Want more? Find all the latest episodes of The Sarah Scoop show here.