By Salma Rios
On the first day of October, Leslie Odom Jr. took to Hancher’s outdoor stage and wooed the hundreds of audience members.
Odom is not a stranger to the Iowa City area. In March 2016, he came to the university and spoke as a part of the University Lecture Series.
He originated the role of Aaron Burr in the hit Broadway show Hamilton, about the life of one of the country’s Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton. Odom left the show on July 9, 2016, alongside fellow actors Lin-Manuel Miranda and Philipa Soo.
The performance at the Hancher was simply incredible. The man blew away audiences with both his vocals, and his charm. The Hancher Green was packed with hundreds of people both young and old, Hamilton fans or not. The air was buzzing with excitement and anticipation of Odom taking the stage.
Before stepping on stage, a local high-school choir opened the concert, singing about love and peace in the world. It was a nice touch and a great opportunity for high-schoolers in the area to see someone like Odom.
He opened his set with a classic Hamilton song, “Wait for It,” a solo sung by Burr in the musical, which is about Burr waiting for his time to shine in life while watching Hamilton zoom by him and accomplish amazing things. The song got all the *Hamilton* fans in the audience cheering and clapping. Odom’s vocals were as powerful and thought-provoking as they were in the soundtrack.
Throughout his performance, he was charming and delightful. He joked with the audience and played around with them. “That’s my buddy Giselle,” he said while interacting with an audience member.
At one point during the show before playing a saucy song, he said to the audience members with significant others in the audience, “Take a word of advice from your ol’ buddy Leslie. If you have a girlfriend or wife in the audience, hold onto her a little tighter for this next number, because it’s going to get sexy up here.”
He spoke briefly about his decision to leave *Hamilton* in order to pursuit other opportunities.
“We went from millions of screaming fans every night at the Richard Rodgers Theater to hundreds of polite fans in the bars of New York City,” he said.
In addition to his music, Odom has also had a bit of success in the film industry.
He is set to appear in the film Murder on the Orient Express alongside such major stars as Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, and Penelope Cruz.
“One of these things does not belong, but someday it might,” he says in regard to his appearance in the movie.
While Odom played some of his new songs, he also played well-beloved Hamilton songs such as “Dear Theodosia” and “The Room Where It Happens,” which he ended the set with. The show ended with a firework show over the stage.