Leslie Odom Jr. will return to Broadway for the first time since dazzling theater fans with his electrifying turn as Aaron Burr in “Hamilton.”
The Tony Award winner will appear in a new Broadway production of “Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch,” a comedy by the late theater and film legend Ossie Davis. The show will be directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon, who recently helmed “Ohio State Murders” and the revival of “Topdog/Underdog.” This production is scheduled to begin in late summer 2023.
Odom has been in demand since he catapulted to fame with “Hamilton.” He appeared in “The Sopranos” prequel “The Many Saints of Newark” and also received an Oscar nomination for his performance as Sam Cooke in “One Night in Miami…” He also received an Oscar nomination for writing that film’s original song, “Speak Now.” More recently, Odom was part of the ensemble of “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.” He will next appear in a sequel to “The Exorcist.
“Purlie Victorious” premiered on Broadway in 1961 at the Cort Theatre, where it starred Davis and his wife and frequent collaborator, Ruby Dee. For its 100th performance, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visited the company and celebrated the achievement with them.
“I have loved this piece and its author, Mr. Davis, for well over half my life,” Odom said. “His writing and acting, his integrity, the commitment he and his brilliant wife made to nurturing young talent, and the example of citizenship have meant so much to me! I am thrilled beyond measure to be part of this revival company. Mr. Davis’s pages are full of joy and rhythm, laughter and hope. We will endeavor to live up to the demands of a challenging text and the legacy of a great American.”
In a statement, the Dee-Davis family shared excitement for the return of “Purlie Victorious” to Broadway. “Dad’s genius with words was never more evident than in the voice of Purlie Victorious Judson, who takes a humorous look at a serious subject,” the family said. “His call to justice is timeless and needed now more than ever.”
The producing team is led by Jeffrey Richards, Hunter Arnold, Irene Gandy, Jacob Soroken Porter, Kayla Greenspan and Odom, making his Broadway producing debut.