“Hamilton” star Leslie Odom, Jr. to headline 2018 Basie Summer Gala


(RED BANK | MAR 5) The historic Count Basie Theatre, the state’s top-selling performing arts theater and the namesake of jazz great William J. “Count” Basie, has announced Tony ® and Grammy ® award winning “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom, Jr. as headliner for its annual summer gala, which honors the Jay And Linda Grunin Foundation and takes place on Saturday, June 30, 2018.

Tickets, starting at $45, go on sale this Friday, March 9 at noon through theBASIE.org, phone charge at 732.842.9000 and the Basie box office, located onsite at 99 Monmouth Street, Red Bank.

Presales for Count Basie Theatre members start tomorrow (March 6). Information on Basie membership can be found at theBASIE.org.

Gala sponsorship opportunities, which include pre- and post-show reception and other VIP amenities, are available at www.thebasie.org/events/leslie-odom-jr.


The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation is a private family philanthropic foundation based in Toms River, which aims to make the Central Jersey Shore the regional template for quality of life and strong economic health through root-cause focused investment in healthcare, education and the arts.

In September, the Grunin Foundation announced a $2 million gift to the Count Basie Theatre’s “The Future Is Now” capital campaign, lending their name to the historic venue’s arts and education building, currently under construction at the west end of the Basie’s 99 Monmouth Street property.

“It is a proud moment for our Foundation to be recognized by the Count Basie Theatre team, especially at an event featuring Tony and Grammy award winning artist Leslie Odom, Jr.,” said Jeremy Grunin, President, Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation. “The work we’ve been able to do together around the arts and education will ultimately be transformational for the Jersey Shore.”

“Count Basie Theatre board member Jeremy Grunin and his parents, Jay and Linda Grunin, have truly moved the theater to a new level,” said Basie CEO and President Adam Philipson. “The support we receive from the family’s foundation for the programs that will be brought to life in their new education building has been truly revolutionary – and so, a ‘Hamilton’ theme for our gala could not be more appropriate.”


Multifaceted performer Leslie Odom, Jr. completed his run on Broadway starring as ‘Aaron Burr’ in the original cast of the blockbuster hit musical, “Hamilton,” a role that earned him the 2016 Tony® Award for Lead Actor in a Musical. He is also a Grammy® Award winner as a principal soloist on “Hamilton”’s original Broadway cast recording, which won the 2016 award for Best Musical Theater Album.

Odom, Jr. made his Broadway debut at the age of 17 in “Rent,” before heading to Carnegie Mellon University’s prestigious School of Drama, where he graduated with honors. He is the recipient of a 2002 Princess Grace Award for Acting, which is dedicated to identifying emerging talent in theater, dance and film.

Additional theatre credits include “Leap of Faith” on Broadway, for which he won the 2012 Astaire Award for Outstanding Male Dancer on Broadway and was nominated for a Drama League Award; the 2014 musical “Venice,” which also played at The Public Theater; and the Encores! Off-Center production of “Tick, Tick… Boom!,” which was his first time working with “Hamilton” creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda.