It seems plausible that playing someone’s adversary eight times a week for months on end might lead to some real-life animosity. In the case of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom Jr. (who originated the roles of Hamilton’s Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr), the opposite was true. The two actors, who led the talented cast of the Broadway musical when it premiered in 2015, actually worked very well together -- and according to Lin-Manuel Miranda, there was a specific reason why that was the case.
Both actors left the original Broadway cast in 2016 to pursue other career opportunities, though their work was captured and eventually shown to a wider audience with Disney+’s 2020 Hamilton film. Though it’s been a few years since Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom Jr. shared the Hamilton stage together, it’s obvious the musical’s scribe still has very fond memories of working with his co-star.
During a (virtual) reunion with the Hamilton OBC for Variety, Lin-Manuel Miranda reflected on why he and Leslie Odom Jr. were able to cultivate a healthy working relationship. It seems that in the case of their professional connection, it was a case of opposites attracting:
One of the secrets to the success of our relationship and the way it works is that we’re wired differently. I think Leslie has a resting pulse rate of 6, and I’m a very neurotic, high-strung guy. We shared a dressing room on Broadway, and it would be like 7:57, he’s just starting to get into costume. I got into costume at like 7:30 and I’m ready to go and I’m going over my lines, which I wrote... We’re friends, and we love each other. It works.
It’s funny how in some ways, it sounds like the rapport between Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom Jr. was a case of life imitating art. In Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton is a fast-talking go-getter, who never seems to stop, much to the more serene and focused Aaron Burr’s chagrin. Of course, in the case of the real-life Founding Fathers, their personality differences resulted in murder, whereas with the actors, they were able to fortunately able to avoid a similar fate and remain friends.
Leslie Odom Jr., for his part, has also been very open about his admiration for Lin-Manuel Miranda, too. He’s admitted to becoming a fan of Hamilton when he saw a performance of the music early on and has commended his co-star for his visionary approach to theater. While the COVID-19 situation has lessened the chance of any in-person cast reunion in the near future, hopefully one day soon the actors can meet again and reminisce about the days they shared a dressing room -- and took over the theater world together.
What's your favorite moment between Lin-Manuel Miranda's Alexander Hamilton and Leslie Odom Jr.'s Aaron Burr? Let us know in the comments below!