BWW Q&A: Leslie Odom, Jr. on Performing At at Ridgefield Playhouse

One night only on April 18th, 2024.

By: Apr. 10, 2024
BWW Q&A: Leslie Odom, Jr. on Performing At at Ridgefield Playhouse
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BroadwayWorld chatted with Leslie Odom, Jr. about his upcoming performance at  Ridgefield Playhouse on April 18th, 2024.

Leslie Odom, Jr. is a multifaceted Tony and Grammy Award-winning performer – spanning Broadway, television, film and music. Odom Jr. is best known for his breakout role as ‘Aaron Burr’ in the smash hit Broadway musical Hamilton, for which he won the Tony Award for “Best Actor in a Musical” and a Grammy Award as a principal soloist on the original cast recording. He made his Broadway debut in RENT at the age of 17. He also starred opposite Lin-Manuel Miranda and Karen Olivo in a 2014 City Center Encores! revival of Jonathan Larson’s Tick, Tick…Boom!

He recently released his third full-length album and first album of original material, entitled Mr, and also starred alongside Cynthia Erivo in the Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet.

His other upcoming projects include the film adaptation of the Olivier Award-nominated play One Night in Miami directed by Regina King, where he portrays and performs the original songs of legendary singer Sam Cooke; the feature film Music written and directed by singer-songwriter Sia; and Needle in A Timestack written and directed by John Ridley.

What first drew you to the theatre and performing arts?

I had a couple teachers that had a hand on my back and gave me a gentle shove toward the stage. I will be grateful to them always. I didn’t see it in myself at first. Someone saw it for me.

Can you talk about the difference between performing on Broadway vs. a small, intimate theatre like the Ridgefield Playhouse?

I like to spend as much time in the space before a show as possible. Each theater in each new town has its own character—its own soul. My job is to be present. I have to soak that up and hopefully present something in the new space that feels like it was always meant to be in there. I’ve grown to really enjoy the process.

What can fans expect from your show at Ridgefield Playhouse?

My last album “When a Crooner Dies” is my most personal to date. We will do some tunes from the record in addition to some of the tunes people would be most excited to hear from me. Hamilton stuff of course. Sam Cooke tunes of course. It is my pleasure to combine the new tunes with some of the older. It always feel like a real celebration of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. I feel so lucky for the opportunity to travel and play music. My goal is to make sure people leave with smiles on their faces.

How do you prepare for a live performance, and does it differ depending on the venue or type of show?

I warm up with my college voice teacher before most shows. Thomas Douglas is his name. He taught me how to sing a couple decades back. Now he helps me maintain and continue to challenge myself and grow. A warm up and a moment of silent centering before I go out there. I have to spend the time visualizing it going well. That usually sets me up for a successful evening.

Why must audiences come and see your performance at Ridgefield Playhouse?

Not unlike our audiences on Broadway at Hamilton, the touring crowds are full of kids and older folks. Lots of times people bring the whole family. It’s a joyful night designed to please lots of people.


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