Joe Keery first burst into the limelight in 2016 when he played Steve Harrington in the first season of ‘Stranger Things’, but before that he was an acting student. at DePaul University in Chicago. There he starred as Melchior in a production of “Spring Awakening”. See photos of Keery in the 2012 production of the upcoming musical.

“Spring Awakening” tells the story of a group of late 19th century German teenagers who struggle to grow up in a world where their parents are not honest with them about sex, sexuality, abuse and other issues they are faced with. The character played by Kerry, Melchior, is smart but rebellious. He falls in love with Wendla, with disastrous consequences. The musical uses rock music to modernize the story. Although no video of Keery’s performance is available online, DePaul’s student newspaper, The DePauliagave the show a positive review and called Keery “dynamic”, praising his chemistry with Sonaz Izadi, who played Wendla.

Keery graduated from DePaul in 2014 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting — his “Stranger Things” turn followed closely behind. Although Keery hasn’t returned to musical theater professionally yet (there’s still time to cast him as Fiyero in the “Wicked” films!), he has continued to make music. He currently plays and releases music under the name Djo. His second album, “Decide”, will be released in September. He was also previously a member of Chicago-based band Post Animal.

Keery maintained close ties with his alma mater. In 2020, when DePaul moved his graduation ceremony online thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, Keery joined the virtual launch eventgreeting new graduates via video.

See photos of Keery in “Spring Awakening” ahead.