13: The Musical, an upcoming musical that is set to premiere on Netflix in mid-August, is an adaptation of the hit Broadway musical with music by Jason Robert Brown, with runs that featured Ariana Grande, Tinashe and Elizabeth Gillies.
Meet the new theater kids of 13: The Musical below:
Eli Golden as Evan Goldman
The character: Evan is about to turn the big 13, but he’s reeling from the fallout of his parents’ divorce and is eager to make friends after moving to the Midwest. He is every junior high kid’s insecurity rolled into one and is pinning his hopes on making his upcoming bar mitzvah the best party ever.
The actor: Eli Golden began his career acting in commercials when he was six years-old. Ever since, he’s been on the up and up, appearing in The Wizard of Lies, Orange Is the New Black, Hide and Seek and Trouble. He’s also been featured in TV series including Sneaky Pete, Lincoln Rhyme: The Hunt for the Bone Collector and Deception.
Gabriella Uhl as Patrice
The character: Whip-smart and socially conscious, but sort of a social outcast, Patrice is Evan’s closest friend until he ditches her for the popular kids.
The actor: Gabriella Uhl’s first professional acting role was as Kate in Annie at the Westchester Broadway Theater. From there, she played Sophie in the first national tour of School of Rock, and was the understudy for four other roles in the musical. She was with the national tour from beginning to end. Uhl has been dancing since age three and is a self-professed animal lover.
JD McCrary as Brett Sampson
The character: The most popular guy at school, Brett has been crushing on Kendra all summer.
The actor: At age eight, JD McCrary kicked off his acting career by portraying Young Ernie in Disney Channel’s KC Undercover. But his big break came a year later when he performed the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” on Little Big Shots and then went viral while singing the Jackson 5’s “Who’s Loving You” at an LA Clippers basketball game. This all led to an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’ show and a feature on Childish Gambino’s track “Terrified,” and popping up alongside Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover) in his performance of the song at the Grammys in 2018. McCrary landed a series regular role on Tyler Perry’s The Paynes and was featured in Little in 2019. The same year, he voiced Young Simba in Disney’s live-action remake of The Lion King. McCrary has also released original music, including the song “Keep in Touch” from his first EP, Shine. You may have also seen McCrary in commercial campaigns for Foot Locker and Office Depot and OfficeMax.
Frankie McNellis as Lucy Hallman
The character: Lucy is a classic mean girl and (supposedly) Kendra’s best friend.
The actor: Frankie McNellis is a Filipino-American actress, singer and dancer. She recently wrapped production on Sony Pictures’ Honey Girls, a live-action feature film based on the cuddly stuffed animals found at the Build-A-Bear Workshop. She previously appeared in DreamWorks TV’s Play Anything and voiced Aidy in the American Girl Doll series. Classically trained as a singer, McNellis has performed the national anthem at several professional sporting events for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Suns and South Bay Lakers.
Lindsey Blackwell as Kendra Duncan
The character: Kendra is exceptionally nice, but feels stifled by her strict mom when all she wants is to have her first kiss with Brett.
The actor: Sixteen-year-old Lindsey Blackwell stars as Tess in NBC’s Council of Dads. She also appears in David Makes Man on OWN. The Atlanta native began acting at the age of four, performing in Actors, Models, and Talent for Christ’s (AMTC) 2010 Shine event, where she won Best Overall Actress. A year later, she made her big screen debut in The Change-Up and went on to appear in Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor. Her most recent credits include Step Sisters, Sleepy Hollow, The Resident on FOX, and Terror in the Woods on Lifetime. Aside from acting, Blackwell also loves to sing, dance and play the piano.
Jonathan Lengel as Archie
The character: Archie is a close friend of Patrice’s who also harbors a major crush on Kendra and rocks his wheelchair.
The actor: 13: The Musical is Jonathan Lengel’s professional acting debut, after he was discovered as part of a worldwide casting call for the role of Archie. In real life, Lengel has a rare form of congenital muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair like his character does in 13. He began singing with his church choir in New Jersey at age six and has performed on stage locally with many musical theater groups and competitive choruses, as well as an appearance with his chorus in the indie film The Hudson Tribes. Lengel was featured on the MDA Telethon 70th Anniversary Show in 2020, singing and accompanying himself on piano. Next up for Lengel is a role in the musical comedy feature Theater Camp alongside Amy Sedaris and Ben Platt.
Debra Messing as Jessica Goldman
The character: Evan’s mom hopes to restart a writing career as she deals with the aftermath of her divorce.
The actor: Debra Messing is best known for her Emmy–winning role as Grace Adler on the NBC comedy series Will & Grace. She also starred in The Mysteries of Laura and Smash, both on NBC. You may fondly remember her performances in the films Searching, Along Came Polly, The Wedding Date, Nothing Like the Holidays, The Women and, most recently, The Dark Divide. Next spring, Messing will return to Broadway to star in Noah Haidle’s new play, Birthday Candles. She last starred on Broadway in John Patrick Shanley’s Outside Mullingar. Messing is a co-creator and co-host of activism-focused podcast The Dissenters. She is also the Global Health Ambassador for PSI focusing on HIV/AIDS, including work testifying before the House Foreign Affairs sub-committee on Africa and Global Health and speaking at the International AIDS conference. Messing grew up in Rhode Island and currently resides in New York City.
Peter Hermann as Joel Goldman
The character: Evan’s dad, who stayed back in NYC, is trying to mend his relationship with his son from a distance.
The actor: Peter Hermann starred as Charles Brooks in Darren Star’s hit romantic comedy show Younger for seven years. He spent his early childhood in Germany and moved to the U.S. at age 10. Hermann graduated from Yale University, and from there taught with Teach for America before kicking off his acting career with guest-star roles in Spin City, Hope & Faith and Sex and the City. He has had a recurring role on Law & Order: SVU as Trevor Langan for more than a decade and has also appeared on Guiding Light, Blue Bloods and 30 Rock. On Broadway, you may have seen him in Eric Bogosian’s Talk Radio or Lincoln Center’s Tony Award–winning production of War Horse. He has appeared in films including United 93, Too Big to Fail and Philomena. His first children’s book, If the S in MOOSE Comes Loose, was published by HarperCollins.
Josh Peck as Rabbi Shapiro
The character: Evan’s rabbi isn’t just any rabbi, he’s a cool rabbi. He’s Evan’s mentor over Zoom, offering him guidance and a joke or two as he preps for his big day.
The actor: Hug him, brother! Josh Peck currently stars in the Disney+ Turner & Hooch series, a continuation of the 1989 Tom Hanks film of the same name. But you most likely know him from his performances on Nickelodeon’s All That, The Amanda Show and Drake & Josh. He recently starred in the sci-fi feature Doors and, in 2017, he starred in and produced Take the 10. He also played John Stamos’ son in the Fox series Grandfathered. You may have seen him in Danny Collins, The Wackness (which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008) or Mean Creek, winner of the John Cassavetes award at the Independent Spirit Awards in 2004.
Rhea Perlman as Grandma Ruth
The character: Evan’s wise, no-nonsense grandma Ruth always has some good, albeit unsolicited, advice.
The actor: Rhea Perlman is a veteran of the stage and screen with a career spanning more than 30 years. A four-time Emmy winner for her role as wise-cracking waitress Carla on NBC’s Cheers, Perlman was nominated 10 times during the series’ 11-year run. She’s starred opposite Danny DeVito in projects including Matilda (which DeVito also directed), and the TV series Taxi. Perlman’s film Marvelous and the Black Hole premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2021. Her other recent films include Poms, Saving Flora, Half Magic, Lemon and I’ll See You in My Dreams. You may also have seen her in The Sessions, Sunset Park, Canadian Bacon and Carpool. Her most recent voiceover work was as Judith in Universal Pictures’ animated film Sing. On TV, her performances include roles in The Mindy Project, Me and My Grandma, Kirstie, The Neighbors, Hung, Law & Order: SVU, Kate Brasher, Hot in Cleveland and Pearl, which she starred in and executive produced. She has also appeared in more than 15 television movies including The Christmas Choir, Houdini, Secret Cutting and How to Marry a Billionaire. Perlman returned to the stage in the Off-Broadway play Good For Otto in 2018. Her theatrical productions include Stella & Lou, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife on Broadway, the Off-Broadway play The Exonerated, Last Night at Ballyhoo in Los Angeles and the London West End revival of Boeing-Boeing. She appeared with her daughter, Lucy, in Love, Loss and What I Wore at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles in 2010. They had previously performed together in the Off-Broadway version of the same play. Perlman has also written a series of children’s books called Otto: Undercover for HarperCollins and is a children’s advocate, having received the National Angel Award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s Angels in Adoption in 2010.