As with most artifacts of modern pop culture, Prince looms large over Hamilton, the blockbuster American musical from Lin-Manuel Miranda and company. Everything from the play’s genre-bending pop sound to its flamboyant costuming seems at least semi-rooted in Prince’s work. By coincidence, Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr. was scheduled to appear on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show Thursday night, just hours after confirmed reports that Prince had passed away. Naturally, the host asked him about playing for Prince, who tweeted in March that Hamilton was “the best history class ever!”
“It’s humbling. We don’t take it for granted at all. I remember we got invited the day-of to this private concert he gave in Harlem. He went on at 2 in the morning and played until like 3:30. So we went to see that and then he came [to the show] the next night,” Odom Jr. said. “We saw him sitting in the box with his shades on the whole time. It meant the world to us. Prince didn’t come backstage — he wasn’t big on stuff like that — but then we were all waiting to see, did he like it? Did he care about it? Then he sent that tweet. We’ll never forget stuff like that.”
The Hamilton cast concluded their Thursday night performance with a rendition of Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.” Creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted that they spent the day preparing, and Miranda himself kicked off the song by reciting its famous opening lines (“dearly beloved…”).
Watch Colbert’s chat with Odom Jr. below.