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Luxe Life Blog Sits Down With Leslie Odom, JR. From "Smash"

Luxe Life Blog Sits Down With Leslie Odom, JR. To Talk “Smash” And So Much More!

Debut Season Finale Of "Smash" Airs Tonight (5/14/12) On NBC @ 10p/9p

EXCLUSIVE PHOTO - Leslie Odom, JR. On Stage For The Final
"Leap Of Faith" Performance On Broadway
Photo Credit: Tisho Richardson For The Luxe Life Blog


When, Tisho Richardson, founder of The Luxe Life Blog, was preparing to interview Leslie Odom, JR., best known for his re-occurring role on the NBC Hit “Smash”, he thought that the interview would focus mainly on “Smash”, the “can’t take your eyes off it” show  whose  debut season finale airs, tonight, on NBC (10p/9p central).  But, as he conducted the interview and got to know Mr. Odom, he discovered that this charming actor was not only a “breakout” star on “Smash”, but, also, an amazing talent with an impressive list of credits on stage, screen, and TV.   

Tisho also, discovered that the interview would coincide with the closing of  the Broadway musical, LEAP OF FAITH, for which Leslie has received the kind of "one of a kind" reviews that herald the arrival of the most sought after of all Broadway talents, the "triple threat."

Realizing that this was a perfect opportunity to be part of the bitter sweet rite that makes up  a Broadway, closing night, Tisho decided to attend the Tony nominated musical's final performance, this past Sunday.

Leslie Odom, Jr.

Browse the interview of Leslie Odom, JR. below and the stunning photographs that have been captured of this illustrious, not so “breakout” star.

Tisho Richardson (TR):
You were cast on Broadway in Rent while still in high school but left to get an education in the musical theatre program at Carnegie Mellon University, what were some of the things you considered in making the decision to stay on with Rent or pursue your education?
Leslie Odom, JR. (LO):
That initial decision was made by my parents, I didn’t want to leave New York and I was offered other shows, but with the aid of my parents that was one of the wisest decisions I could have made. Carnegie not only gave me the tools and training to sustain myself in the business, It also gave me access to a network of fantastic alum that has carried me alone way.

Another amazing feat you accomplished was booking the first job for which you auditioned, which was a recurring role on CSI MIAMI, what would be the single most important advice you would give actors starting out on nailing an audition?
My father used to drill in to me three things, unconscious, unconsciously competent and there was competently competent. Basically his thing was you don’t want your success or your winning to happen by accident. You want to be prepared when you are given opportunities. What I will say to young people is we all have nerves, we all have insecurity, but when it’s your time to shine, when they give you your opportunities because you don’t know how much you will get, you have to do the thing, you have to be competently competent.
What was like being part of "Leap of faith"?

Leslie Odom, JR. In "Leap Of Faith"

“Leap of Faith” was great I did it 2 years ago in L.A. and to revisit it 2 years later, to bring all the things that I learned as a human and as an actor being, I mean 2 years ago I hadn’t worked with Don Cheadle, 2 years ago I hadn’t spent a season on TV, singing and dancing every week, I brought all those lessons and experiences back with me, I feel like the performances are richer, fuller, deeper and I am very pound of the work we have done on Broadway.
What do you think you will miss most about leap of faith?
The people!  It’s a great group of folks, it’s almost a cast of mostly African American performers, that’s a very rare thing, and it’s always a treat when I get to work with black folks.
The industry has a term for people who are blessed with multiple talents, which is known as being a “triple threat”, you are a triple threat being in film, tv, and theater, do you think that you might venture in to the music industry at some point, possibly an album or recording career?
Become a quadruple threat that kind of thing has to be right; you can’t just stick a microphone in front of an actor, it has to be the right material, the right song, I certainly wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to do something like that.
Smash focuses on every aspect of theater; production, casting, live performances, backstage “goings-on” – How would you compare the “smash” portrayal of everything involved in a musical production verses the real life experience of working in the industry?

Leslie Odom, JR. In "Smash" - Photo Courtesy: NBC Universal
It’s a TV dramatized version of what we do, it’s a little more dramatic that what we do.
The cast of Smash seems like the chemistry is there because it is in essence a large family much like a working musical becomes, do you feel, even though it is a large ensemble show, do you feel that the actors natural chemistry is making it a Smash?
It is! My favorite people to work with in the business are theatre people, whether it’s television or film. I love working with artist that come from the theatre. You have to understand when you come from a job that pays you $450 dollars a week, when you come from that you truly appreciate what you are given in the business. To be on a set full of theatre people that appreciate the opportunity that they are given to be on television, it truly a gratifying experience.
Red Tails was a fictionalized portrayal of the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African American United States Army Air Force (USAAF) servicemen during World War II.  Did you feel that sense of pride they had when portraying one of these brave men?
Leslie Odom, JR. In "Red Tails"

Absolutely! The great opportunity and gift to recount the perfect record of the Tuskegee Airmen was not lost on anybody. From Neyo, to Terence Howard, to Cuba Gooden Jr. on down, we all felt incredibly humble and grateful to be there.
It must have been awe inspiring to show up on the set of Red Tails daily and be transported back to that era through sets, costumes, period vehicles/aircrafts, what was 1 of your favorite“props” or period-piece vehicles/aircrafts to see?
Leslie Odom, Jr. - In Costume "Red Tails"

I love the costume! I remember the first day being in costume and walking on the set into one of the barracks they had built it was truly like being transported back in time.
How is it different preparing for a role in which you are portraying someone verses an original character?
It’s not all that different because I sort of think of all of them as souls. The character I play in Leap Of Fate, while he wasn’t written to be based on anyone, I’ve used people in my life to kind of base him on. I treat every character with seriousness, sincerity and honest.

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Blog Credits:
Interview Conducted By: Tisho Richardson
Write-Up Proceeding Interview –Written By: Toni DiCappo
Special Thanks: Joan Sittenfield - JoanSittenfield Management

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