Friday, February 3, 2012

Interview: Leslie Odom Jr. Talks Smash |

Read's exclusive interview with actor Leslie Odom, Jr., who portrays Sam Strickland in NBC’s upcoming musical series ‘Smash.’ The anticipated show, which is set to debut on Monday, February 6, 2012, follows two musical rivals-the veteran actress Ivy Lynn, played by Megan Hilty, and newcomer Karen Cartwrigh, portrayed by Katharine McPhee. The two compete for the lead role in a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. Sam will be introduced as Ivy’s best friend in the first season’s fourth episode. Odom, who can also currently be seen as Declan ‘Winky’ Hall in the action-adventure-drama ‘Red Tails,’ discusses with us, among other things, what attracted him to the role of Sam on ‘Smash,’ and what the working relationships between he and his co-stars are truly like.

Written by: Karen Benardello

ShockYa (SY): You portray Ivy’s best friend, Sam Strickland, on the highly anticipated NBC drama ‘Smash.’ What was it about the show and Sam that that convinced you to audition and take on the role?

Leslie Odom, Jr. (LO): Well, I couldn’t pass up the chance to work with friends, first and foremost. I’ve known Hilty for almost a decade. We were a year apart at Conservatory. Her work is astonishing on this show, by the way. From the cast to the creators and producers, this was a dream team of collaborators. I feel lucky to be a part of it.

SY: Will Sam be involved in the Broadway musical Ivy is auditioning for? If so, how much musical experience did you have before you landed the role of Sam, and how did you prepare for the series?

LO: Sam is absolutely in the ensemble of the show within the show! I come from the theater. That’s where I received all my formal training. As a matter of fact, we’re trying to work out the ‘Smash’ schedule so that I can take part in a Broadway musical this Spring called ‘Leap of Faith.’ I was involved in the show’s out of town tryout a couple of years ago in LA. It is often a long road to Broadway for a new musical, as ‘Smash’ will soon illustrate.

SY: Megan Hilty, who is most well-known for her roles in Broadway productions ‘Wicked’ and ‘9 to 5: The Musical,’ portrays Ivy in the ‘Smash.’ What is your working relationship like with her?

LO: My first day on-set was one of the most comfortable and relaxed days that I’ve ever had in the business. It was me, Hilty, and Will Chase in a bar in mid-town Manhattan talking over a few beers. It’s what we probably would have been doing anyway, just with cameras there! I mean…maybe we would’ve been doing it a few hours later. It was only like 4 or 5 in the afternoon, but you know what I mean.

It’s a dream come true coming to work and being with people that you like and have liked for a long time. Megan also makes me laugh like no one else. That girl is hilarious. I’m looking forward to her sitcom after 7 or 8 years on ‘Smash.’

SY: Katharine McPhee plays Karen Cartwright, Ivy’s rival for the role of Marilyn Monroe in the Broadway musical featured on ‘Smash.’ Is there any competition between the cast of ‘Smashz?’ What is it like working with Katharine?

LO: I think Katherine is going to surprise a lot of people. She’s doing such fantastic work on this show. She’s a pleasure to work with. No competition between the cast. We’re all in it together.

To continue reading this interview, please visit: Interview: Leslie Odom Jr. Talks Smash |

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