Tony & Grammy winner Leslie Odom, Jr. will star in a new Broadway production of the classic American comedy Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch by Ossie Davis. Purlie Victorious will be staged by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon, with the production scheduled to begin in late summer 2023 for the 2023-2024 Broadway season.
The play will mark Odom’s return to Broadway after winning the Tony for his celebrated performance as Aaron Burr in Hamilton.
The creative team will feature scenic design by Derek McLane (Moulin Rouge, MJ), costume design by Emilio Sosa (Trouble in Mind, A Beautiful Noise) and lighting design by Adam Honoré (Ain’t No Mo’, Chicken & Biscuits).
The producing team is led by Jeffrey Richards, Hunter Arnold, Irene Gandy, Jacob Soroken Porter, Kayla Greenspan and Leslie Odom, Jr., making his Broadway producing debut.
Theatre, dates, additional casting and creative team members will be announced at a later date.
Purlie Victorious premiered on Broadway in 1961 at the Cort Theatre (now the James Earl Jones Theatre), directed by Howard Da Silva, and starred Ossie Davis as “Purlie Victorious Judson.” Davis’ wife and frequent collaborator, Ruby Dee played “Lutiebelle Gussie Mae Jenkins.” Original cast members also included: Alan Alda, Godfrey Cambridge, Sorrell Booke and Beah Richards. For its 100th performance, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visited the company and celebrated the milestone with them.
The play was later adapted into the musical, Purlie, which premiered on Broadway in 1970 at the Broadway Theatre.
“Ossie Davis gave the American theater an American hero in Purlie Judson,” said Leslie Odom, Jr. “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’s 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 stated the following: “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. Thanks to producers Jeffrey Richards, Hunter Arnold, and Leslie Odom, Jr., and to director Kenny Leon for bringing Reverend Purlie to his feet once again. With Leslie Odom, Jr. in the role, Purlie will rise with
Odom’s can currently be seen in Rian Johnson’s critically acclaimed Knives Out sequel, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, streaming worldwide on Netflix, and he is in production on the sequel to the original film The Exorcist, scheduled for release in October 2023. In 2020, Odom starred as legendary singer Sam Cooke in the Amazon film adaptation of One Night in Miami…, directed by Regina King.