Welcome to Theater Thursday, where we talk about all things theater. This week, we will discuss Leslie Odom Jr.’s return to Broadway.
Odom is no stranger to the Broadway stage, but after starring in the Broadway sensation “Hamilton,” he took a six-year hiatus. Have no fear because the phenomenal performer is back on Broadway in the revival of “Purlie Victorious,“ and he has done a lot to expand his skills over the last six years.
Looking back on his successful Broadway career, anyone can see he was made for the stage. At 17 years old, Odom made his Broadway debut in Jonathan Larson’s “Rent” as Paul and other characters. He found great pride in being a part of the production.
“I’m trying to be part of theater that makes me feel the way that show made me feel,“ Odom said to Broadway Direct. "That show brought me and a generation of artists to the theater.”
From then to now, Odom has been in four other shows, originating characters in all of them: “Dreamgirls,” “Leap of Faith,” “Hamilton” and now “Purlie Victorious.” While he is currently playing the titular role of Purlie Victorious Judson, he found the most success from his role as Aaron Burr in “Hamilton,” as he sang in many of the highlighted tracks of the musical.
Once his run in Hamilton was up, he traded his dancing shoes for a movie script and began focusing on his on-screen acting career. In the six years he was on his Broadway break, he acted or performed in over 20 different projects, including movies, television shows and specials.
Throughout those different productions, Odom has had to play multiple different types of characters, confirming him as a well-rounded actor.
Odom also took a lot of time to record music of his own. His music genre is a combination of jazz, R&B and pop. His most recent album is titled “When a Crooner Dies,” and the album has many standout songs such as “I Surrender” and “The Morning.”
Odom has also released two Christmas albums that feature beautiful and unique renditions of some Christmas classics. Some standouts between the albums include “Winter Song (feat. Cynthia Erivo),” “Last Christmas, “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”
Now that he’s back on Broadway, Odom is testing new heights as he this is the first time he is starring in a Broadway play, rather than a musical.
“Purlie Victorious” is a revival of a 1960s play written by Ossie Davis. It tells the story of a Georgia man who dreams of being a preacher and wants to save his town’s church. The comedy has already seen great success since the show began playing in September.
Back in the 1960s, when the show was first on Broadway, Martin Luther King Jr. saw the show for its 100th performance. Now, Odom’s dream visitors are Barack and Michelle Obama.
Now that Leslie Odom Jr. is back on Broadway, it will be interesting to see where he goes next. One thing is for sure — whatever Odom does after this well-recieved run, we’re willing to wait for it.