The morning after Leslie Odom, Jr. performed the part of Aaron Burr for the final time, he found himself wondering if the past 12 months had really happened.
“There was a dreamlike quality about it because you know you went from doing something every single day and then it’s gone,” Odom told NBCBLK. “And those people are kind of gone and the experience feels like, did it happen? Did that really just happen to my life?”
With a laugh, he added, “I think - I’m pretty sure - it wasn’t a dream.”
Both his fans and the Tony he won for his performance in "Hamilton" can confirm it: he was most certainly in the room where it happened.
Odom said playing the part of Burr in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” was the opportunity for “nuance and humanity.”
“I’d just never seen anything like that,” Odom said. “That’s what the role is.”
It also turned out to be a steady job, marking the first time in the 35-year-old actor’s life that he had a job for a full straight year.
“As an artist, I’m very used to waking up and sort of not knowing what my day’s going to be and not knowing where my next paycheck is going to come from,” Odom said.
“Hamilton” changed that, but the grueling Broadway grind of eight performances a week took a toll. On July 9, Odom took his final bow, exiting the show alongside creator and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, as well as actresses Phillipa Soo and Ariana DeBose.
He told NBCBLK it signified a “much-needed vacation,” but in reality Odom traded in one kind of grind for another: releasing his solo album.
Within just days of stepping off one familiar New York City stage, he found himself stepping onto many more new ones.
Cynthia Erivo, who won a Tony for her performance in the Broadway revival of “The Color Purple,” and Darren Criss were among those who attended Odom’s album release concert at the McKittrick Hotel, soon before he began a July residency at the venue.
Odom, whose album spent time at the top of Billboard’s jazz chart, said he learned a great deal from Hamilton and is now happily moving forward.
“I spent a year saying the lines that somebody wrote for me and singing the songs that somebody wrote for me, so now to be in front of an audience with no script, speaking about those things that I learned is really wonderful,” Odom said. “There’s nowhere I’d rather be.”