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Interview: Adam Pascal Looks Back on His Career in a New Streaming Concert

Adam Pascal…So Far streams on Stellar on Tuesday, August 17.

Just as Rent is turning 25, original star Adam Pascal is looking back on his career. In the streaming concert Adam Pascal...So Far, airing Tuesday, August 17, on Stellar, the original Roger takes us through hits from Rent and Aida, Memphis and Pretty Woman, and much more. Here, Pascal discusses the show and tells us what to expect.

Adam Pascal
(© Josh Lehrer)

Tell me about this concert.
For the past couple years, I've been doing an acoustic show which is a retrospective of my career. I play something from every show I've been in and I talk about where I was in my life when I was in each of these shows. I was commissioned during the lockdown to do a recorded version of it, and so that's what I did. When I perform the show live, I'm talking to the audience, and when I was recording it, I wanted to be able to capture some of that, but I didn't want to talk to the camera. So I had a buddy of mine, Jarrod Emick, come over and interview me, and we'll intercut that into the show. Interspersed between the songs is Jarrod and I sitting around with a couple of beers talking.

What are some of the songs we'll hear?
I play my audition songs for Rent and Aida, which people are always excited about. The song I auditioned for Rent with was "Red Hill Mining Town" by U2, and my Aida audition song was "Vienna" by Billy Joel. From Chicago, I do "Funny Honey," which is a Roxie song, even though I played Billy Flynn. People seem to like those.

How did you record this? Was it just you in your house, basically?
Yes. The way I recorded it, and because of the nature of what I had to do...I didn't do it all at once. I shot maybe two songs a day over the course of five days. I had to record the songs on three separate 4k cameras, and I then had to upload the footage, which took several hours. Which was fine. But it worked out better that way. I think it captures it as well as I could have captured it.

Is it hard to do a concert without the audience?
It's hard when you don't have that response from the audience. During lockdown, I did a lot of different types of recorded or live or Zoom stuff. I also did stuff in a club on a stage, which the most unnerving of all of it.

Why?
I'm fine doing it in my living room, but doing it in a club with no audience was horrible. I hated it and I didn't even give a good performance. I was thrown by the whole thing.

We just passed the 25th anniversary of Rent? What is it like to look back on that experience?
The most ironic thing about the whole situation is that I'm playing this character who...All he wants to do is create something he will be remembered for. And I have now become known for that show and that song, and I was a similar person to Roger in that regard. I always wanted that, because I'm a songwriter. I've been connected to and synonymous with this show and song in a way that I have always dreamed of, playing a character who has always wanted to be connected to something like this. I think Roger would have given his right arm to have been in something like Rent.

Does it amaze you that Rent is now a staple of school and community theater groups around the world?
I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it, but I'm amazed by it. Not by the success of the show, but that I'm a part of that. That's what I find so amazing. I think the show deserves all it's achieved. I'm fascinated that I'm part of it, because I think I'm just a schmo from Syosett. I'm amazed by my own career.

For tickets to Adam Pascal...So Far, click here.

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