Rising Star: Kirkwood Teen Lands TV Pilot

A student from North Kirkwood Middle School is in Los Angeles for a role in a TV pilot that he hopes could become the next tween sensation.

A Kirkwood seventh-grader could soon become your tween’s next favorite Disney star.

Zach Waldrop, a 13-year-old student at , is in Los Angeles shooting a television pilot for a kids’ variety show that will be pitched to the likes of the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon.

Zach, who uses the stage name Zach Louis, already has several film roles to his credit, as well as theater, commercial and print experience.

But he’s hoping the pilot – which he described as a cross between The Mickey Mouse Club and Saturday Night Live, with musical numbers and sketch comedy – makes him a household name.

“I think it’s going to be great,” he said. “I’m a little nervous. It’s going to be a little weird being away from my mom and my friends and everything, but I’m still pretty excited.”

So far his biggest television experience was an appearance in an episode of the Kelsey Grammer Chicago-based political drama Boss, which premiered on the cable channel Starz last fall.

Zach found that working with a star like Grammer was pretty cool.

“He rented out an ice cream truck for the kids that were on the show,” he said. But Grammer had to play it low-key, wearing a disguise while hanging out on the Chicago streets, he said.

“It would be great to be as big a star as Kelsey Grammer,” Zach said. But dealing with the paparazzi would be kind of “annoying,” he added.

Zach’s latest film project premiered at the Tivoli in St. Louis earlier this month. , written and directed by a couple of St. Louis natives, is a comedy about two estranged brothers brought together for their father’s funeral.

Zach comes by his voice talent naturally – both his mom and dad, Dana Daniels and Mark Anthony, are St. Louis radio personalities. But he said he caught the acting bug by accident when he happened upon a talent search at the St. Louis Mills a couple of years ago. He won a modeling contract and from there his career took off.

While he’s in California, Zach hopes to audition for other pilots and meet with several management teams that work with children.

In all, he and his dad expect to be away from home for four to six weeks. But it’s not a vacation – in addition to filming the pilot, sitting in on meetings and going to auditions, he’ll be keeping up with his homework via the Internet.

“We’ll be getting a tutor there too,” he said. “So I won’t be behind when I get back.”


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