Actor, singer Leslie Odom Jr. to address Tulane grads in May

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Tony and Grammy Award-winning actor and singer Leslie Odom Jr. has been tapped to address graduates at Tulane University’s Unified Commencement next month, officials announced Wednesday.

Odom, known for his role as the original Aaron Burr in the hit musical “Hamilton,” will be the keynote speaker for ceremonies scheduled Saturday, May 20, at 6:30 p.m. in Yulman Stadium.

“Through their years at Tulane, our graduates engage in multi-disciplined learning, research, problem-solving and service, combining various fields of knowledge to attain expertise that can change the world,” Tulane President Michael A. Fitts said in a news release. “Who better to salute their achievements than Leslie Odom, Jr., whose remarkable career reflects the inspiration found in crossing genres and boundaries.”

Odom has received recognition, including Emmy and Oscar nominations, for achievements in television, film, music and on Broadway. His nuanced, Tony Award-winning portrayal of Burr helped “Hamilton” become a cultural juggernaut that changed the landscape of modern musical theater, the university said.

Odom starred in the film, “One Night in Miami,” portraying R&B singer Sam Cooke and earning nominations for an Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award. He also wrote and performed the film’s Oscar-nominated original song, which garnered a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Song.

He also recently appeared in “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” and starred in the Sopranos prequel “The Many Saints of Newark.”

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