Hey Kendra! Lindsey Blackwell shines in 13: The Musical

Lindsey Blackwell as Kendra in 13: THE MUSICAL. Source Images: Alan Markfield/Netflix

Lindsey Blackwell proves she’s a triple threat as Kendra in Netflix’s highly anticipated film adaptation of the musical theatre production, “13: The Musical.”

Based on Jason Robert Brown’s Broadway musical, which premiered in 2008, “13: The Musical,” is a coming of age journey through the unforgettable ups and downs of preteen life. The story follows a Jewish teenager, Evan Goldman (Eli Golden) who is forced to move from New York City to small-town Indiana in the wake of his parent’s divorce. As his 13th birthday nears, Evan must master the complex social circles of his new school and win friends by turning his Bar Mitzvah into the coolest party ever.  

Lindsey shines as Kendra, the head cheerleader and most popular girl at Evan’s new school. She is a kind, driven, and generous person, who sees the good in people. As Evan tries to navigate complex social circles and make new friends, he becomes entangled in Kendra’s love story with another boy at school, Brett (JD McCrary). Lindsey performs several solo musical numbers in the film showcasing both her impressive acting and singing talents. 

​While acting is her greatest passion, Lindsey is a well-balanced student achieving excellence in all of her studies. She consistently makes Honor Roll, The Principals List, and is a member of Beta Club, in the Talented & Gifted program. In between nourishing her love for performing, and her studies, Lindsey enjoys playing piano and singing, She is currently working on an EP featuring several cover songs and an original song to be released in Summer 2022. 

On the charity front, Lindsey actively supports “Girl’s For A Change”, an organization that focuses on giving girls the support they need as they enter into womanhood. The GFAC programs create access and opportunities in three areas: academic success and career readiness, social-emotional health and wellness, and character and leadership. For several years, Girls For A Change has cultivated an empowering Black space built for Black girls to be seen, heard, and celebrated, through their “One Million Reasons To Build Campaign”. Lindsey will co-host their 2022 Diva Bag Auction, to raise proceeds for the campaign. 

Check out our interview with Lindsey!

Photo courtesy of Netflix
Were you familiar with your original musical before you booked this movie?

Lindsey: Yes, I knew a little bit about 13 before I booked it. I knew that Lizzie Gillies and Ariana Grande were in the original cast. And once I got the role, I did more research and now I’m such a huge fan of the original musical.

For people who aren’t familiar with the story, how would you describe it?

Lindsey: I would say 13 is about a Jewish kid named Evan Goldman moving from New York to Indiana after his parents get divorced. And throughout the whole movie, he’s navigating like having new friends and a whole new location, you know, dealing with his parents divorce and he’s all doing this and dealing with these things while trying to plan the best party ever. So it’s a lot of pressure for him.

How do you think this movie compares to the original story? 

Lindsey: I would say generally, like the characters are similar. But it’s definitely more family friendly now. So compared to the original, you know, it’s universal for everyone to watch which is a very good thing. 

And you play Kendra. What can you tell us about her?

Lindsey: Kendra is kind and compassionate, and very observant, but the one thing I would say we’re not similar with is that she is a little naive. And throughout the movie, you’ll see the events play out, but she’s been raised by strict parents and she’s just trying to find her own. She’s best friends with Lucy and has a humongous crush on Brett. But that pretty much sums it up.

What was it like having to return to the age of 13 to play Kendra?

Lindsey: That’s a good question. I was 13 for a little bit during COVID, like during the first quarantine. But honestly, I would say I’m, of course I’m older now, I’m 16, but I think I’m very similar to my 13 year old self. And, you know, filming 13 has actually helped me progress a little and grow as a person which I’m very thankful for.

Now that you’re a little bit older and wiser, is there anything that you would like to tell your 13-year-old self?

Lindsey: Oh, that’s such a good question. Um, I would say to 13 year old Lindsey that it’s okay to like, let life progress, you know, friends are going to come and go and crushes are going to come and go, but as long as you stay true to yourself, then you’ll be okay. 

What was it like working with the cast, especially with Frankie who plays Lucy?

Lindsey: Me and Frankie are, we might as well be best friends. You know, the cast, we were in Canada for five months and I say we all clicked instantly. We were on video calls throughout our two weeks of quarantine and it was like we had known each other forever. Me and Frankie we hung out a lot and it really sucks because she is all the way out in LA, but, you know, we’re really good friends.

In the story, there’s some drama between Lucy and Kendra, so being so close with Frankie, what was it like having to act like there’s drama between you two? 

Lindsey: I would say it wasn’t really like that. We were in character and we snapped right back out of it, and we were like, you know, good friends again. But like in the movie, you know, you’ll see our relationship progress and we’ll have a little bit of turmoil, but in the end, I’m very glad it turned out the way it does. But viewers will have to see the movie to know what I’m talking about.

Photo credit: ELEY Photography
So with this movie being a musical, what was your favorite song to perform?

Lindsey: Oh, this is such a hard question because all the numbers are so amazing and filming them was so fun. But, I would probably say “I’ve Been Waiting” because that’s the first time you see Kendra and Brett’s, like, romance, I guess? But it was a lot of fun to shoot and the rehearsals, prepping for that was a lot of fun, too. I think that was one of the first numbers I learned. I had to learn a snippet of it for the audition, so I’ve seen the number grow, I’ve seen the choreography grow and everything else. It was really cool to see on screen. 

Can you tell us anything about some of the new songs being added in?

Lindsey: Yes, “I’ve Been Waiting” is actually one of those songs that was added. And it’s really cool, too. It’s like an introduction, you know, with a new song, there’s like no expectation and you’re the person that’s performing this for the first time and this is really cool. I think viewers are going to be amazed by Jason Robert Brown. All of his music is amazing. So, I think they’ll be pleased overall for sure.

What is something that you are really excited for people to see when they watch this movie?

Lindsey: I’m really excited for viewers to see the messaging in this movie. There’s so many universal themes and lessons learned in the movie that can apply to everyone. That’s one of the main things, and then with just how talented the cast is. This cast is crazy talented and I brag about everyone all the time, but I’m just really excited for viewers to see them as well.

What kind of universal messages can we kind of expect?

Lindsey: I would say that forgiveness is key. There’s a lot of apologies given and apologies accepted in this movie. And there’s also the message that friendship is important and to never take those friendships for granted because you’re not going to always find that person that you just, you know, click with. Throughout the movie you see that the friendships are just golden.

What’s next for you? Are you working on anything else? 

Lindsey: Oh, yes. I’m actually filming a TV show at the moment. I cannot give details about it, but be sure to be on the lookout for that. I’m also coming out with some music. I’ll be coming out with an original song and an EP hopefully late summer. Be on the lookout for that as well.

How can fans connect with you and stay up-to-date?

Lindsey: Everyone can find me on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook.

Before I let you go, is there anything else that you would like to add about 13: The Musical?

Lindsey: I would say just watch it. It’s really amazing and I think it’s needed. It’s a really wholesome movie that everyone can watch and the talent in it is crazy!

Source Images: Alan Markfield/Netflix
13: The Musical drops August 12 on Netflix