The Edward M. Kennedy Institute held its annual gala Monday, and the evening featured a few songs from the Broadway phenomenon “Hamilton” performed by Daveed Diggs and Leslie Odom Jr., members of the musical’s original cast.
Attendees at Monday’s fund-raiser included Ted Kennedy’s widow, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, his sons, Patrick and Ted Kennedy Jr., Senator Ed Markey, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, former senators Mo Cowan and Paul Kirk, state Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, state Representative Daniel Hunt, city councilors Ayanna Pressley and Annissa Essaibi George, Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, the late senator’s onetime chief of staff Ranny Cooper, UMass president Marty Meehan, UMass chancellor Keith Motley, Hill Holliday cofounder Jack Connors, and Boston Globe owners John and Linda Henry.
Linda Henry and Cowan introduced Diggs and Odom Jr., and, let’s face it, that’s who much of the audience were there to see, though it looked for a moment like they might not perform songs from “Hamilton.”
“I turned this gig down, like, three times,” said Diggs, who played Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette in the hit musical. “I love ‘Hamilton,’ but it’s not what I do.”
What Diggs does is act — he’s in the ABC series “Black-ish” — and also rap, and he treated the audience to a few of his own hip-hop compositions. Odom’s post-“Hamilton” plate is likewise full, with a new jazz album that he previewed for the crowd.
But Odom was happy to also perform a few selections from “Hamilton,” including “Dear Theodosia” and “Wait for It,” which Diggs couldn’t resist joining in on. The response from the crowd was enthusiastic. (Ted Kennedy Jr., in particular, grooved to the music.)
Asked in what ways enormous success of “Hamilton” has changed their lives, Daveed said, “I have the opportunity now to do things I want to do and not do the things I don’t want to do.”
Odom agreed, but said it’s sometimes strange.
“People applaud when I say ‘Good evening,’ ” he said.