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Tony Winner Leslie Odom Jr. to Perform on NBC's CHRISTMAS IN ROCKEFELLER CENTER

Tony Winner Leslie Odom Jr. to Perform on NBC's CHRISTMAS IN ROCKEFELLER CENTER

NBC kicks off the holidays with the lighting of the iconic tree in the heart of New York City with CHRISTMAS IN ROCKEFELLER CENTER on Wednesday, Nov. 29 (8-9 p.m. ET/PT). The evening with include festive performances by Brett Eldridge, Jennifer Nettles, Leslie Odom Jr., Pentatonix, Gwen Stefani and The Tenors, with additional acts to be announced. NBC's "Today" anchors Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker will host the highly anticipated holiday special.

The tradition of the Rockefeller Christmas tree dates back to the Great Depression. First erected in 1933, the inaugural tree was decked with 700 lights and placed in front of the then eight-month-old RCA Building (the current GE Building). The Christmas tree gathering was enhanced in 1936 with the opening of the Rockefeller Plaza outdoor ice-skating pond. NBC-TV televised the tree lighting for the first time in 1951 on "The Kate Smith Show" and as part of the nationwide "Howdy Doody" television show from 1953-55

The 85th annual holiday special will celebrate the lighting of a 75-foot tall, 50-foot wide Norway Spruce from State College, Penn. The tree weighs approximately 13 tons and is approximately 80 years old. It will be adorned with more than 50,000 multi-colored LEDs and will be topped with a stunning Swarovski star made up of 25,000 crystals and one million facets.

Leslie Odom Jr. remains world-renowned for his Tony Award- and Grammy Award-winning turn as Aaron Burr in HAMILTON on Broadway. Odom Jr. starred in "Rent" at just 16 years old and kicked off a whirlwind acting career that saw him appear in Lucasfilm's 2012 "Red Tails" on the big screen as well as in high-profile recurring television roles on "Smash," "Person of Interest," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and many more. In 2015, his role in "Hamilton" earned him the Tony for Best Actor in a Musical and a Grammy as a principal singer on the cast album in the Best Musical Theater Album category. Working with producer Joseph Abate, he released his self-titled debut album, "Leslie Odom Jr." which bowed at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Jazz Albums chart. Odom Jr. updated his 2016 holiday release "Simply Christmas" with an expanded deluxe edition, including four additional recordings for 2017. He will cap off the year starring in "Murder on the Orient Express" and will release a PBS Special and new album in 2018.

NBCUniversal is partnering with the Arbor Day Foundation for the ninth annual "Green Is Universal" holiday campaign by supporting tree-planting efforts to promote recovery in disaster-stricken areas brought on by the 2017 hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. "Christmas in Rockefeller Center®" viewers can go to to select a tree image to post online using #ShareATree from Nov 27-Dec. 25 to help in planting 25,000 trees. Each share will contribute to the Arbor Day Foundation's tree-planting efforts, funded by a $25,000 donation from NBCUniversal.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos

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