BWW Q&A: Alan Inkles On An Evening with Leslie Odom, Jr. at the Staller Center for the Arts

Don't miss out on your chance to attend the Gala.

By: Feb. 01, 2024
BWW Q&A: Alan Inkles On An Evening with Leslie Odom, Jr. at the Staller Center for the Arts

The Staller Center invites you to be in "the room where it happens" with Leslie Odom, Jr., on March 9 for An Evening with Leslie Odom, Jr. Renowned across stage, screen, and song, Odom, Jr. is best known for his roles as Aaron Burr in Hamilton and Purlie in Purlie Victorious.

The Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award-winning artist will showcase an unforgettable array of music from his new album, Broadway and beyond. Leslie Odom, Jr. joins us fresh off the critically acclaimed Broadway show Purlie Victorious, bringing his "tonal perfection" (New Yorker) to Staller. Odom, Jr.'s return-to-Broadway performance stunned critics and audiences alike with his natural charisma and charm, reflecting his power as an artist.

The comedy-turned-musical originally premiered in 1961 to widespread critical acclaim. Though the revival was only supposed to run through early January of 2024, its success extended its engagement by another month. "Leslie Odom Jr. instantly stands out … it's Odom who carries the play's weight as it shifts from genre to genre and reveals further layers of character." –New York Times.

The event will showcase Odom, Jr.'s ability to bring passion to classics and his own personal, contemporary pieces. The show will feature music from his new album When a Crooner Dies, past originals, and fan favorites from the hit show Hamilton. Odom, Jr.'s genius expands far beyond the theater. His self-titled debut album charted at #1 on the Billboard Jazz chart.

The singer released his fifth full-length album, When a Crooner Dies, this past November to universal praise. A collection of highly polished, smooth jazz/pop fusion ballads, the album spotlights Odom's songwriting talents and unparalleled musical ability, with the Gazette dubbing his vocals 'as smooth as hot buttered rum.' His star power has earned him big screen credits, including The Exorcist: Believer, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, The Many Saints of Newark, a prequel to HBO's The Sopranos, and One Night in Miami…earning him an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of legendary musician Sam Cooke.

An Evening with Leslie Odom, Jr. is the Staller Center’s 2024 Annual Gala, but that doesn’t mean it’s invite only. The Staller Center for the Arts offers performance-only tickets to all of their Gala events, which means you can see some of your favorite stars at an accessible price. Odom Jr.'s performance at the Staller Center will commemorate over two decades of Staller's annual Gala, crafted around the music that has shaped Odom Jr.'s journey, all with a world-class big band.

Leslie Odom, Jr. has emerged as one of the most dynamic and acclaimed performers in the entertainment industry. His career, adorned with Tony and Grammy Awards, three Emmy nominations, and two Academy Award nods, reflects his prowess as a vocalist, songwriter, author, and actor.

Tickets are available for the performance only, starting at $95. Gala Supporter Tickets are also available and include access to VIP seating and a reception following the performance.

To learn more about becoming a gala supporter, visit stallercenter.com/gala.

We sat down with Alan Inkles to talk all about the upcoming Gala. 

Why was Leslie Odom, Jr. the perfect fit for the Gala performance?

When we plan our Gala each year at Staller Center, I am always looking for not only a big show, but a very special and unique night. Last year, we presented American Ballet Theatre in their first Long Island full-company performance, so I knew the follow-up had to be huge. On the heels of his Tony Award turn originating the role of "Burr" in HAMILTON and his budding film career, LESLIE ODOM Jr. was my absolute first choice.

I knew he had an amazing voice and his band show would really show off his "chops"! I was thrilled that we were able to get him in the middle of his extraordinarily busy schedule and as it turned out, we had to move the date back days before we went on sale last spring when he decided to produce and take the lead role in the phenomenal production of PURLIE VICTORIUS on Broadway, which blew me away!

What can attendees expect from An Evening with Leslie Odom, Jr.?

If you think you know Leslie from HAMILTON or from his recent film roles in KNIVES OUT 2 and even in his singing turn as "Sam Cooke" in ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI, you are going to be in for a huge surprise. Nobody commands the stage better than Leslie. He has a magnificent range and his band will absolutely fill our intimate 1,000-seat theatre on Saturday, March 9.

Can you share any details about the repertoire for the evening?

Leslie has a brand new CD out with original songs and he'll belt out many of those along with Broadway and standard tunes we all know and love. You can be sure he'll give us a little HAMILTON as well!

Can you tell us a bit more about the history of the Staller Center’s Annual Gala?

I've been the Director of the Staller Center for nearly 40 years and in 1998, the New York City Ballet, along with SUNY were both celebrating their 50th year anniversary. They combined forces and did a mini-tour of a few of the SUNY campuses in NY and the final stop was here at Staller Center at Stony Brook.

It was such a special night for us, that my team and I decided it was time to do an annual Gala to both increase the very needed fundraising dollars and allow us with our beautiful and intimate 1,000-seat theatre the ability to reach for a bigger show once a year and celebrate with an after-party in our exquisite 5,000 square foot Zuccaire Gallery for several hundred donors to attend.

It has been a huge success, raising over 3 million dollars for the center over 25 years. Past artists have included such varied artists as YO YO MA, Jay Leno, Renee Fleming, Whoopi Goldberg along with some great duo nights including KELLI O'HARA & Sutton Foster (their first time singing together and they then went on to perform it a couple years later at Carnegie Hall), the mounting and premiering of "THE Mandy Patinkin & Patti LuPone SHOW", Brian Stokes Mitchell & Laura Benanti, Michael Feinstein & Linda Eder and countless other performers and attractions including the aforementioned major dance companies, a MOMIX premiere dance/ theatre show, The Russian National Orchestra along with singers performing "Carmen" and many others.

How can fans get hold of the performance-only tickets and what are the benefits included in the Gala Supporter Tickets?

Leslie Odom Jr. fans can get tickets at www.stallercenter.com or by calling the Staller Center box-office at (631) 632-ARTS. We just opened up a new block of great seats and tickets begin as low as $95 for this great show and there are a good amount available at that price. And unlike many other venues, Staller Center always has just a $5 convenience fee online, so you can see Leslie in this magnificent night for $100.

If you'd like to support Staller Center in a big way (and like all not-for-profit arts centers - we really need and appreciate it), you can go to www.stallercenter.com/gala or call our development office at (631) 632-7232. Gala tickets are $300 and include VIP seats, a post-concert reception, your name printed on a gold page in the playbill and a portion of your donation is tax-deductible.

What else is coming up at the Staller Center audiences should put on their radars?

For our Broadway lovers, we have Adam Pascal in our very intimate 350-seat hall on Friday, March 22, Patti LuPone in her new memoir show on Saturday, April 6, and Sutton Foster on September 21 (we had to move her originally scheduled February date to the fall to accommodate her turns in ONCE UPON A MATRTRESS & SWEENEY TODD!). Other great shows coming up include a breathtaking cirque performance from the impeccable Flip Fabrique company from Montreal performing their hot show, BLIZZARD; the phenomenal and hysterical LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE Monte Carlo Dance Troupe ("The Trocks") on April 20, the incomparable Itzhak Perlman in his "Evening With" show that includes video and live performing on May 4 and then the Staller Center celebrates the 29th Annual edition of its long-standing and highly acclaimed annual STONY BROOK FILM FESTIVAL running from July 18-27... and so much more. Go to www.stallercenter.com for information and tickets for all these events and to see the full schedule of Staller Center shows.




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