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Debra Messing, Josh Peck and Rhea Perlman explain how ’13: The Musical’ breaks the mold


13: The Musical is streaming now on Netflix and the movie’s stars, Debra MessingJosh Peck and Rhea Perlman, spoke to ABC Audio about what makes this movie so special.

The film stars Eli Golden as Evan, a New Yorker who moves to Indiana following his parents’ divorce. He’s determined to make his bar mitzvah the talk of the town, fearing he’ll become a social pariah if it fails.

The film expands on the Broadway musical 13, which only starred kids. The roles Messing, Peck and Perlman play were written specifically for this movie.

Peck stars as Rabbi, a role he says is “redefining” the rabbi trope by putting a “millennial spin” on it.

“Usually we imagine these older, stately fellows with long beards, sort of musing and stoic,” he noted of his “cool” character, who guides Evan on his journey to adulthood. “We’re pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone to accept [that] our preconceived notions aren’t always right about people.”

Aside from challenging stereotypes, Messing understands how “tricky” it is to adapt a Broadway musical into a movie that will satisfy its original fans. Despite the “little changes” that were made to the script, Messing is “fully confident” it’ll live up to their expectations.

Added Golden, “It’s hard to not smile while you’re watching it.”

Perlman noted the magic of the musical is its young cast: “They’re everything in the movie.” The legendary actress said 13: The Musical is nothing short of “remarkable” in terms of its cast, songs and dance numbers. 

Perlman, who stars as Grandma Ruth, joked the role was “natural” to her because “I’ve been a grandmother since before I was 40!” — a reference to the character Carla she played on Cheers. 

13: The Musical is streaming now on Netflix.

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