"I want to count on something," the 'Hamilton' alum tells PEOPLE in this week's Sexiest Man Alive 2023 issue
Theater actors can often be superstitious, preferring to say “break a leg” rather than “good luck” and keeping a ghost light on in the theater at all times.
Leslie Odom Jr., who currently stars in Purlie Victorious on Broadway, admits he does “become a creature of habit” when he works on a show.
“I like doing the same thing when I'm in a show,” the Hamilton vet, 42, tells PEOPLE in the “Yes Chef” section of this week’s Sexiest Man Alive 2023 issue, in which stars share their favorite recipes. “I want to count on something. I don't want anything to mess up the rhythm.”
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That extends to what he eats.
“On two-show days — we have three of them each week — I'll get a wrap that has eggs and some avocado and potatoes and peppers, and sometimes bacon or chicken,” Odom says. “I'll eat half during the show and half after the show, half in between shows. And that keeps me energized and it's not too heavy.”
After he gets home, Odom loves a bowl of cold cereal, especially Cheerios.
“They heard that so many people were combining their Cheerios and their Frosted Flakes together, so they make a medley,” the actor says of Frosted Cheerios. “I put my own raisins in it. That's my guilty pleasure. And then also a glass of port. A nice pour of port after the show is nice.”
When Odom has time to cook, he likes to make a beet poke bowl, a recipe he perfected during the early days of the pandemic.
“It's something that I make when I want to make my wife smile,” Odom says of his wife since 2012, Nicolette Robinson. “I started cooking a lot during quarantine, when we were stuck in the house and we weren't ordering out and we wanted to still eat well and have some special romantic moments every now and again. That was one of the first things that I made that really impressed her.”
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He considers “good food, good conversation [and] good wine” the perfect date night.
The Oscar nominee found some similarities between cooking and acting.
“It was almost like my 6:00 curtain,” says Odom, whose album When A Crooner Dies drops Nov. 17. “I kind of looked forward to it. I felt like I had an audience — a very small audience — but a waiting audience that was very excited. And I would get my little applause when I did well. It was a way that I could stay connected to something creative and useful.”
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Odom views meal prep time as “time away.”
“Nobody can need me for an hour while I make this food,” he says. “I find it sort of meditative or restorative in that way too, that it's just a time to be alone with your thoughts and your creativity."
Along with cooking, the Tony Award winner likes to spend his downtime with his family.
“I try to fit in as much time with the kids,” Odom says. “At this time in my life, the thing that brings me the most joy is balance. And so a day off is, it's going to feel balanced. I'm going to feel like I had time with my kids, time with my wife, time to myself. That's the ideal day off.”
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