Adam Pascal is an actor, singer, and musician most widely known for originating the role of Roger in the original 1996 cast of Jonathan Larson‘s musical Rent on Broadway. Rent was not only his Broadway debut, it also earned him a Tony Award nomination, a Theater World award, and an Obie Award. He went on to originate the role of Radames in Aida, as well as play the Emcee in the 1998 revival of Cabaret, Huey Calhoun in Memphis, Billy Flynn in the revival of Chicago, Chad in Disaster!, and William Shakespeare in Something Rotten! Adam reprised his role as Roger in the 2005 movie version of Rent, as well as the Broadway tour in 2009. He also performed in the London concert version of Chess at the Royal Albert Hall in London, alongside his Rent co-star and friend, Idina Menzel. Adam has two solo rock albums to his name, Model Prisoner (2000) and Civilian (2004), as well as a collaborative rock album called Blinding Light (2008) with pianist Larry Edoff. Most recently Adam has been seen onstage in limited engagements of Pretty Woman. And soon he can be seen virtually as part of the Times Square Alliance Broadway Busker’s Concert series.
During our conversation, Adam shares how growing up and becoming a responsible adult was a challenge after having had his first audition experience lead to such success so early on. Amid this initial success, Adam recalls still being one hundred percent focused on playing in a rock band one day. When he started getting offers to audition for starring roles in Hollywood, what he really wanted was a record deal. This disconnect led to him making some “bad decisions” based on his ego, which he then spent years working on scaling back. Rent began the long journey of accepting the harsh realities of the career in which he found himself, but it also gave him a sense of safety. It gave him the overwhelming feeling of comfort whenever he walked out on stage. The feeling of being home in a way that playing in a rock band had never given him. He finally felt like he was where he belonged. And 25 years later, he’s still going strong.
In this episode, we talk about:
- Which movie musicals had an influence on him as a child
- How his friendship with Idina Menzel led to his audition for Rent
- The struggles that came with early success and recognition
- How he helped open the door for different types of voices on Broadway
- Why he prefers playing pre-existing roles to originating a character
- His desire for a record deal, and finally getting one
- What he would want to talk to Jonathan Larson about today
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