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Leslie Odom Jr. is returning to Broadway this summer in a revival of Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch.
Kenny Leon, who directed Topdog/Underdog and Ohio State Murders this season, will helm the revival of the play by Ossie Davis. The play is scheduled to begin in late summer 2023, which will place it in the 2023-2024 season, but exact dates and the theater have not yet been announced.
This is the first time Odom has appeared on Broadway since winning a Tony Award for his role in the original cast of Hamilton. Since then, he has appeared in several films, including Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Harriet and One Night in Miami.
The play, which is a satirical look at life in the South, originally premiered on Broadway in 1961, with the playwright starring as Purlie Victorious Judson (the role Odom will play in the new production) and his wife, Ruby Dee starring as Lutiebelle Gussie Mae Jenkins. Davis and Dee were later named to the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame, awarded the National Medal of Arts and received 2004 Kennedy Center Honors.
The play was later adapted into the musical Purlie, which premiered on Broadway in 1970.
“Ossie Davis gave the American theater an American hero in Purlie Judson,” Odom said. “I have loved this piece and its author, Mr. Davis, for well over half my life. 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’ 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.”
“The Dee-Davis family is so excited that Purlie Victorious will return 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. His call to justice is timeless and needed now more than ever,” the family said.
Additional casting will be announced at a later date.
The production will feature scenic design by Derek McLane, costume design by Emilio Sosa and lighting design by Adam Honoré.
The play is produced by Jeffrey Richards, Hunter Arnold, Irene Gandy, Jacob Soroken Porter, Kayla Greenspan and Odom.
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