Netflix Casts a Former Ridgewood Playboy in ’13: The Musical’

RIDGEWOOD, NJ — “Be yourself; everyone else is busy,” Bergen County singer, actor and pianist Jonathan Lengel said in his Instagram bio.

Lengel, who performed at Camp Dragonfly, a drama camp in Ridgewood, when he was younger, is making his professional acting debut in Netflix’s film adaptation of “13: The Musical,” about a Jewish boy named Evan who is going through by a “child-“life” crisis.

“We are all very proud of Jonathan,” said Carlos Rendo, mayor of Woodcliff Lake, where Lengel is from. “I congratulate him on his film debut.”

Lengel lives with a rare form of muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair like his character, Archie, who goes to Evan’s new school in the film. He was discovered as part of an international casting call for the role, Netflix said.

“So grateful to Netflix and so many more for believing in me,” Lengel said in an Instagram post the day after the premiere at The Paris Theater in New York City. “I can’t wait for the world to see the work of this incredibly talented and diverse cast.”

A self-proclaimed “music man,” Lengel, who began singing with his church choir at age six, has performed on the local stage with many musical theater groups and choirs, Netflix said. He appeared on the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s 70th anniversary show in 2020, singing and playing the piano.

Lengel told her he had achieved success when he saw himself on a Times Square billboard, and in an Instagram post, he looked ecstatic.

“It’s official. I did it,” Lengel said in the video, which was captioned “literally jumping out of my wheelchair and screaming.” He added that he may have seen the digital ad cycle “more than a bunch of times.”

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In another video, Lengel said he relates to the character of Archie, calling him a “super fun and confident guy.”

“(Archie) tends to joke about the circumstances of his life…like me in real life,” he said after taking a breather.

“13: The Musical,” with co-stars Josh Peck and Rhea Perlman, arrives on Netflix on Friday, August 12. Next up for Lengel is a role in the independent musical comedy “Theater Camp,” opposite stars Ben Platt, Molly Gordon and Amy Sedaris.

“Jonathan has always been an inspiration to all who have been blessed by his smile and positive attitude, no matter what obstacles come his way,” said the Lower Hudson Valley Youth Theater and Choir, where Lengel grew up performing. , in a Facebook account. mail. “Since his first performance, Jonathan has been highly entertaining and captivating audiences with his talent, tenderness, humor, perseverance and contagious spirit.”

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