How I met Leslie Odom Jr.
If you know me or really have just read most of the stuff on this site you know that I love Hamilton. That OBC (original broadway cast) was absolutely insane! I’ve been obsessed with this show since I first heard it and from the first time I heard it I knew one day I was going to be Burr. I told myself that whatever it takes, I was going to be Burr. To this day that hasn’t changed. As most of you know, Leslie Odom Jr. is the Original or OG Burr in Hamilton.
I was drawn to Leslie’s voice the minute I heard “Wait for it” there isn’t another voice like his. No one sounded like him, so immediately I became a fan of his. Then his Broadway.com vlogs came out and my life changed. He opened the door to show us behind the scenes of the biggest Broadway show in years. I loved watching this inside look into the monster that is Hamilton. it hit the switch for me and I wanted to not only work harder but smarter. He inspired me so much that I started going by #BabyBurr because i knew one day i’d follow in his footsteps.
Flash forward a year and Leslie has released two albums, a self-titled album and a Christmas album, “Simply Christmas”. These albums have been on repeat since I first heard them. I know every word to every song on these albums and they’re honestly some of my favorites now. Then one day, I got a notification that Leslie was going on tour and I lost it! I absolutely lost my mind, I immediately ran and told my mom, friends, family, strangers, anyone that was near me. I completely freaked out and I looked at tickets every day for months. I waited too long and the prices got super high, so I gave up on it and I was super bummed. While I was in rehearsal for a reading I got a text. It was a ticket confirmation for Leslie’s concert and I almost had a breakdown.
This was my dream! To see the man that changed my life and originated the role I DREAM to play. To be in the room where it happens (pun intended) was my dream and knowing that it would come true, was mind boggling. I freaked out and said “I’m going to see Leslie Odom Jr.” at least 20 times a day for almost a month. Then I got an idea, I need mentors. What if I could get Leslie to be a mentor, having someone who knows the industry being able to help me navigate. So, I made a post on Instagram and then I started spamming his social media.
We all know the power of Social Media, I decided to use it. I had my friends, family, and everyone on it. I had them retweeting, reblogging, liking, and sharing everything in an attempt to get in contact with Leslie. I didn’t care how but I was going to meet Leslie Odom Jr. Then the day came, I hadn’t seen any indication that Leslie had seen any of my posts. At this point I was flying by the seat of my pants (pun intended) so we were just going to hope for the best. Even if I didn’t meet him I’d still be able to be at this concert.
We got to the venue and I started shaking I hadn’t been that nervous or excited in a while. We walked in, I ran into some friends, then we went to our seats. Then he came out, “Wait for it” started playing then I died. My soul left my body and then I just hung out at the show. I knew every single word, of every single song, it was incredible. The room where it happens was almost completely inhabited by theatre kids and it was awesome. Being around people like me, theatre kids, the most loving community on the planet, it was great.
After the show. we were walking out and I started to panic, I had to meet Leslie and I was going to. I sat there DM’ing his band trying to get someone to set it up. Then I hear “Line for autographs starts here.” Did he just say what I think he said? Line? Autorgraph? Here? It all hit me in waves. OH SNAP I’M GOING TO MEET LESLIE ODOM JR.!!!! It’s happening that’s all I could think of. While I was sitting in my shookness, my mom got in line because when I’m not thinking she is. (Thanks Ma!) Then about 20 min. later I hear “look, he’s over there!” I saw him but his band is just as important as he is so what I did was I took some pictures with the guys that really gave him a sound.
Then the moment came, “Hey man. You’re next up, you ready?”
“Nope. Not at all.”
Then it happened.
“Hi, I’m Marshall.”
“Leslie, it’s nice to meet you.”
I like how he introduced himself like I didn’t know after seeing him in concert. It was quick but long enough for him to really have an impact on me. This man just did and hour and twenty- minute set, then came out and signed autographs for a theater full of people. I got him to sign my CD, then I told him that I honestly needed mentors and if he was willing to contact me and I gave him a card. I’ve never been more thankful for preparation, there’s such a huge power in just staying ready. It was over in the blink of an eye, to think that I shook hands and met him. A man that one day might just see me in the role he’d played years before. That’s absolutely incredible and that’s how #BabyBurr met #OGBurr