In 2008, “13,” a musical about 13-year-old Evan Goldman as he navigates tweendom while preparing for his bar mitzvah, debuted on Broadway. Though the show was only on the New York stage for a year, it was memorable for bringing a dose of contemporary Jewish representation to Broadway and for launching the career of one of its stars: Ariana Grande.
In 2022, “13: The Musical,” a movie version of the show, came out on Netflix. While it’s too soon to tell if Eli Golden, the Jewish actor who stars as Evan Goldman in the film, will have a career as big as the “thank u, next” singer, we can confidently say that this young man has boatloads of talent.
So, let’s learn a little more about him, shall we?
Here are 18 things to know about Eli Golden:
1. Eli was born on September 7, 2007 to a Jewish family!
2. In case you don’t know your astrology, that birthdate makes him a Virgo.
3. Eli grew up in Westchester, NY and started doing commercials around age 6.
4. Despite starring in a musical about a bar mitzvah, he didn’t have one of his own!
“I never really felt a true need to do Hebrew school,” Golden told Hey Alma’s partner site Kveller. “So the bar mitzvah in the movie was the bar mitzvah I never really got,” he says. “It was really cool. And I got to say I had the most expensive bar mitzvah ever, which my mom was excited about.”
5. However, he still did all the chanting for his movie bar mitzvah!
It took Eli about three weeks to learn the Hebrew for his haftorah, which was Isaiah 42. He spoke with both his hometown rabbi and the rabbi working on set about the portion to understand it better.
6. Interestingly, he was the only Jewish teen of all the actors in “13: The Musical.”
“I could sympathize with my [character] because I was in that situation, quite literally,” Eli said, alluding to the fact that, in the show, his character Evan moves from New York to the significantly less Jewish Indiana.
In spite of this, he and his co-stars all became “super, super close.”
7. One of his first roles was in an episode of “Orange Is the New Black.”
Here he is on set with Uzo Aduba:
8. In 2017 he starred in “The Wizard of Lies,” an HBO movie about the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme.
Watch the trailer here:
9. His favorite Jewish holiday is Hanukkah.
“I’m just saying for everybody watching — it is better than Christmas,” he said in the Kveller interview. “I mean, potato latkes — come on! What gets better than that? Not a whole lot!”
So true, king. So true.
10. In 2021 he starred in the movie “Hide and Seek.”
11. Eli is a self-described “Josh Peck fanboy.”
“He is one of the all-time favorites for me — I’ve been watching him since ‘Drake and Josh,’” Golden said. “So when I heard that he was coming on, I was so excited.”
Check out just how well they actor together in the “13” trailer:
Also, who isn’t a Josh Peck fan, TBH?
12. Eli was also excited to work with Jewish actress Debra Messing, who played his mom.
“And Debra is a veteran of her craft,” he told Hey Alma partner site The New York Jewish Week. “So I was intimidated at first, but I got to know [her] and it was very chill and nice.”
13. He’s currently learning Spanish with the help of his “13” co-star Jonathan Lengel, who is a fluent speaker.
14. He released his first single, “Back to Me,” in July 2022 and apparently has an EP on the way:
The angst! The voice! Mazels, Eli.
15. His favorite musicals are “Hadestown,” “Pippin,” “Hamilton” and “Dear Evan Hansen.”
Not for nothing, Eli, but we could see you being the next Ben Platt!
16. He is very fashionable. Just look at his outfit for the “13: The Musical” premiere:
18. And he has a very specific wish for his career:
“I also want do an action movie, something with Tom Cruise,” he told Broadway.com.
We definitely cannot wait to see everything you accomplish, Eli.