by Marialena Rago
Leslie Odom Jr., Tony and Grammy winning star of the Broadway smash-hit Hamilton: An American Musical, visited his hometown of Philadelphia last night to promote his new book, Failing Up. Odom, a Masterman and CAPA alum, talked to the crowd at the University of the Arts’ Elaine C. Levitt Auditorium about how playing Aaron Burr almost didn’t happen. He was thinking about quitting acting and starting a new career until he learned to take more risks in his professional life.
Other stories in Failing Up include his journey with another Broadway hit, Rent, at the age of 17 and finding his “tribe” in the company of theatre people. While here in Philly to promote the book, Odom held a Q & A with Well Productions artistic director, Ozzie Jones. To a room full of theatre nerds and Masterman students, Jones asked Odom what he thought about being an artist from Philly and how that shaped him into paying it forward and staying humble throughout his success.
Odom responded by saying, “This is the Philadelphia way. When I am outside of this place I don’t know how to paint a picture for them. It is something we took for granted in the most special way.”
Philly isn’t the only stop on Odom’s book tour. He will continue with four more cities, but you can get the book now on Amazon or wherever books are sold. In all, with this book, Leslie Odom Jr. wants to help give you the tools so you can be in the room where it happens. That room can be a stage or an office, as long as you keep growing, learning, and never stop pushing to be better.
Leslie Odom, Jr. will be back in Philadelphia this September to kick of the Philly POPS’ 40th season. Tickets and info here.