Five Things You Didn’t Know About Leslie Odom, Jr

Something you probably already know about Leslie Odom, Jr is that he is a Tony Award recipient for his role in the Broadway hit show Hamilton. Odom, who is an original Hamilton cast member, also won a Grammy as a principle singer on the show’s award-winning soundtrack in addition to being named Best Actor in a Musical in 2016 at the Tony Awards and a Drama Desk Award nominee.

Odom plays the part of Aaron Burr in Hamilton, which is about one of America’s founding fathers and who is also on the ten dollar bill, Alexander Hamilton. This smash hit has been referred to as ”the hottest ticket in town”, breaking box office records as well as internet sites. Audiences have fallen in love with Odom as Burr, who was the third Vice President of the United States.

Now, for the things you didn’t already know, let’s get started! First of all, we’ll start with one that’s off the count. Consider it a bonus since it’s about his singing. Odom calls himself a ”savant of song”, having what’s referred to as ”relative pitch”. Any song that he has heard, he can began singing it a capella in it’s original key! That’s some talent! Now, for the five things you didn’t know about Leslie Odom, Jr, here we go.

1. Odom put getting his degree first.

Even though he had just been offered a role in an original Broadway show, he still made the decision to finish getting his degree. He said that he had learned that at times your career can be equally defined by the jobs you take as well as the jobs you don’t. When he was offered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, he couldn’t pass it up. At the same time, he wasn’t willing to give up on school, either. He transferred and completed his education at Carnegie Mellon University instead of quitting and only focusing on his professional career. He feels this decision was a defining moment for him and doesn’t regret it in the least. In fact, he still uses it as a template for making other career decisions.

2. He’s a movie buff who loves scary movies

In Odom’s own words he considers himself ”a consummate movie buff.” He says he will finish watching some movies no matter what he’s doing or at what point during channel surfer does he find them. These favorite movies are The Color Purple, Home Alone, Minority Report, The Godfather, Malcolm X, Boomerang, and Glengarry Glen Ross.

However, he says he’s mostly a horror movie fanatic, with 28 Days Later and The Exorcist being his all-time favorites. He also confesses to watching The Walking Dead obsessively; he says he just can’t get enough! Additionally, as a cure for insomnia, he says nothing beats ’80s TV shows and their theme songs. If he can’t sleep, he claims Roseanne, Cheers, or Growing Pains will put him to sleep in seconds and with a smile on his face!

3. He has a sweet taboo…

Odom admits that he orders his dessert first as an appetizer. He says its the best thing about being an adult! I think he makes a good point! We should all do that the next time eating out. Cheesecake, please!

4. He was a mouthy kid

Okay, so that’s what he calls it, but what he means is that he wasn’t afraid to get up in front of an audience and talk. When he was ten, he began speech writing and orating. He would write his own speeches and deliver them in citywide competitions in Philadelphia where he grew up. He would choose his own topics, working for months at a time, first on writing the speech, then on delivering it. He says that to this day he is never more comfortable than when he is on stage or screen. He said it feels like home.

5. The toughest part is the best part.

Odom says his hardest song in Hamilton is ”Wait For It”, but that it’s also the song he looks forward to the most. He claims that the sustained tension and focus which it requires makes it a real challenge, but when he gets it right, it’s a big payoff. The toughest part is the most rewarding. I think that applies to a lot of things in this world.


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