13: The Musical Star Eli Golden on Acting & Westchester Roots

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At just 14 years old, Westchester’s Eli Golden is already rocketing to fame in the new Netflix original film 13: The Musical.

Although he can’t yet drive, Eli Golden already has a CV most thespians would envy. Golden, who turns 15 this month, began acting when he was just 6 years old and has since appeared alongside Uzo Aduba in Orange Is the New Black, Bill Pullman in the feature film Trouble, and Robert DeNiro in the HBO movie The Wizard of Lies. Golden’s newest role is as Evan Goldram, a young man contending with his parents’ divorce and a new town in the Netflix original movie 13: The Musical. We caught up with this up-and-coming actor and musician to get a sense of where he’s headed next.

How did you get your start in acting at such a young age?

My mom was a singer-songwriter, and she inspired me to pursue singing and music-making. There was also a producer, who lived down the block from me at the time and was producing commercials. [My mother] asked me to try out for a commercial, and I got the part; that was where it all started.

Tell us about some of the shows and films in which you’ve appeared.

In Wizard of Lies, I worked with Robert DeNiro, which was really cool. Working with Uzo [Aduba] in Orange is the New Black was such an awesome experience, too, and I couldn’t have done 13: The Musical without those experiences and the other jobs I’ve had. I think both my feature film work and doing 13 stemmed from what I learned in my craft while working with everyone else in all those other parts.

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What can audiences expect from 13: The Musical?

I think 13 is a coming-of-age film that teaches important lessons about what it’s like to grow up. I think my character, Evan, learns the most. His parents are going through a divorce, and that’s not easy on somebody. He learns how to find friends and figure out friend groups, and when he moves to a new town, [people can relate] because we have all felt like the new kid at one point. I think the biggest message in the movie is forgiveness, because without forgiveness, how can you really be friends with anyone?

13: the musical
Photo by Stephanie Diani.

What lies ahead for you?

I am still in school right now and am definitely set on going to college. I am also working on my debut album and am super excited for everyone to hear it because I feel every song on the album is a little piece of me that maybe people don’t know about.

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