​Leslie Odom Jr., Andra Day to headline Bicentennial Launch Celebration

“Hamilton” star Odom and R&B musician Day will perform the evening of Oct. 6, exactly 200 years after the laying of the University’s cornerstone.


The "Hamilton" star and R&B singer will headline the Oct. 6 event.

Courtesy U.Va. Today

The University released more details Tuesday about the Bicentennial Launch Celebration, announcing that Tony award-winning actor Leslie Odom, Jr. and R&B singer Andra Day will headline the Oct. 6 event. A third special guest, to be announced later, will close the event.

“On Oct. 6, 1817, three U.S. presidents — Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and James Madison — gathered on what would become the University of Virginia’s Lawn for the ceremonial placing of its first cornerstone,” a University Communications press release read. “Exactly two hundred years later, students, faculty and alumni of the University will gather in the same spot — now a UNESCO World Heritage Site — to celebrate the extraordinary legacy begun that day.”

The Bicentennial Launch Celebration will take play Thursday, Oct. 5, through Saturday, Oct. 7, beginning a series of events throughout the school year that mark milestones in University history. The celebration will begin with a discussion led by BackStory, a history podcast, at the Paramount Theater Thursday and end with a music festival at IX Art Park Saturday.

Jody Kielbasa, Vice Provost for the Arts, said the Oct. 6 event will have “Olympic-style” opening ceremony and a projection mapping show playing on the Rotunda and Old Cabell Hall.

“The 200th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone is a great opportunity for a celebratory evening featuring UVA’s arts departments and programs,” Kielbasa said. “There is nothing quite like the arts to serve up a great celebration, and we have a lot of incredible things in store that we are very excited about.”

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