• Creative

The Broadway Career of Leslie Odom, Jr.

June 7, 2024

by Ben Togut

On June 16, 2024, the 77th Annual Tony Awards will be held at the David H. Koch Theater, celebrating the best and brightest of this year’s Broadway season! The nominees include those onstage and off, mainstays and newcomers alike. In celebration, Broadway’s Best Shows is highlighting some of the Broadway perennials recognized with Tony nods in this incredibly fruitful year.

This season, Leslie Odom Jr. is nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for his performance in “Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch.” Here’s a breakdown of the Broadway roles that got him there:

Rent (1998)

Odom Jr. made his Broadway debut in Rent at the age of 17. As Paul, the leader of a support group, Odom Jr. was part of the group number “Life Support,” a song where characters affected by HIV/AIDS express their fears about living with the condition.

Leap of Faith (2012)

In 2012, Odom Jr. returned to Broadway in Leap of Faith, a musical about a con artist who poses as a reverend and a healer. Odom Jr. played bible college student Isaiah Sturdevant opposite Raúl Esparza and Jessica Phillips, together singing the music of Alan Menken and Glenn Slater.

Hamilton (2015)

Odom Jr. made his big break in Hamilton opposite Lin-Manuel Miranda and Phillipa Soo. Odom Jr. starred as Aaron Burr, Hamilton’s political rival who ultimately kills him in a duel. For his villainous portrayal of the Founding Father, Odom Jr. won his first Tony Award, gaining widespread recognition for his role in this musical juggernaut.

Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch (2023)

Odom Jr. most recently appeared in the Broadway revival of Purlie Victorious as Reverend Purlie Victorious Judson, a traveling preacher who comes back to his hometown in Georgia to save his church. In the production, Odom Jr. once again showcased his abilities as a leading man, embodying the titular role with charisma and intensity. For his inspired performance, Odom Jr. earned his second Tony nomination.