Teen actress Lindsey Blackwell is truly a triple threat with a love of the arts including singing, acting, and dance (especially singing). No stranger to the spotlight, she has acted alongside Ryan Reynolds and in Tyler Perry’s Temptation as well as taking her skills to everything from film and commercials to voice-over. Lindsey’s latest project is the Netflix film adaptation of 13: The Musical. We caught up with this star to get an inside look at her character Kendra.
While Lindsey has done some singing in past roles, 13: The Musical is her first role in a project so focused on musical theatre. Even as exciting as firsts are, this was even more exciting for Lindsey since music is such a big part of her life. She came out with her first single, “Flowers,” earlier this month, and she’s planning to release her debut EP soon. “Singing is my way to express myself, and whether I’m in a bad mood or frustrated or something, I always turn to singing and music because it’s just a way to let out all of my emotions,” she shared. “It’s always been kind of a medium for me to express myself and find myself, so I really appreciate singing and music for that reason.” This translates to her role as Kendra as well. She told us that she was all smiles during the vocal booth recordings of Kendra’s songs.
Bringing Kendra to life was a lot of work (Lindsey revealed that there were two months of song and dance rehearsals along with recording and three months of filming.), but Lindsey shared that it was easier for her than you might think. Along with being excited about the role, “Kendra and I are a lot alike,” she told us, saying that it wasn’t hard to get into character. She described the head cheerleader and popular girl that she plays as “very kind and generous and observant.” Kendra is trying to find herself and forge her own path much like the other characters in this ensemble cast.
We had to ask Lindsey what her favorite part of the whole process was, and she was quick to say those months of rehearsal. “We got to see everyone grow and get into their character and find their confidence and stuff like that. It was a lot of fun,” she said.
Even before rehearsal, though, the cast was bonding. Filming in Toronto, the whole cast had to quarantine for two weeks, so with nothing else to do, FaceTime and texting quickly brought everyone together. Once they were together, it was all fun, especially around craft services, “I feel like we were always singing some random theater song or Harry Styles song. We’re all theater kids, so you know we’re singing and dancing all the time.” She gives Frankie McNellis for starting many of these singalongs.
Now that 13: The Musical is out, Lindsey is excited for people to enjoy the growth of the characters and the film’s overall messages about forgiveness and community. “I feel like the messages can really reach anyone. Even with Kendra, for example, being able to see her go through her sadness and then forgive the people that she really cares about, it was really touching.”
Her other favorite parts of the film include the music, of course. When we asked Lindsey what songs she loves the most, she thought of two in particular. “I would say that my part in ‘Getting Ready [Extended]’, ‘I’m a rebel,’ is one of my favorites because, one that song is extremely hard to sing and being able to hear how great the song sounds now and where it came from, I’m just super proud of that.” She’s also proud of Kendra’s introduction and the start of her story in the musical, “I’ve Been Waiting.”
Along with working on the music of 13: The Musical, dance and choreography were a huge part of the project. For Lindsey who isn’t regularly in the studio, this was the hardest part, but she shared that working with choreographers left her with “no complaints.” She and her castmates were confident in the choreography. She says, “I’m just really proud of us,” and you can see it in the film.
The cast of 13: The Musical still keeps in touch, and Lindsey shared that they talk almost every day! “They’re like my best friends,” Lindsey told us.
Lindsey is now hoping to continue finding roles in musical theater films as well as branching out into comedy (She loves to make people laugh) all while working on her music. She’s also a celebrity representative for Girls For a Change, a nonprofit whose mission is to empower Black girls and give them tools and support for success. She has big plans for all of these passions, so stay tuned!
13: The Musical is streaming now on Netflix.