Conversation With Adam Pascal

If you've been fortunate enough to see Adam Pascal in Broadway's smash hit Rent, the Elton John/Tim Rice-produced Aida, or the timeless Cabaret, then you know he brings his A-game to every performance. What you might not know is that the star also writes, records, and performs his own music. When he comes to Charlotte November 9 with Larry Edoff, he'll be performing some original pieces including new music off his soon-to-be-released third album, which he refers to as the "Me and Larry Project."


You originated the role of Roger Davis in Rent in 1996 on Broadway, played him in the 2005 film version of the play, and again recently on Broadway. Is Roger becoming an alter ego?
The short answer is no. I'm certainly connected to that character culturally because I originated the character and he became so popular and then I solidified it on film. At this point, I'm assuming my experience, in terms of performing in the show, will be over after this last stint. We share a similarity in the sense that we're both songwriters, but that's where it ends. I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and be the one that's connected to this character. A lot of people who originate roles feel like they created the role, but they didn't do that, the writers did. I don't feel that sense of ownership at all.

What originally drew you to the character?
The music, really. I didn't audition for the show because I heard there was this character and I was intrigued and wanted to play him. I auditioned because I'd never done a musical before.

Do you have a dream role you'd like to take on?
Playing the Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret was pretty much a dream role. I'm interested in doing things that are unexpected of me. I have no interest in doing things like Jesus Christ Superstar or any of these rock musicals. I feel like I've been there and done that and it's a no-brainer. I'm not interested in doing that kind of stuff. I want to do things that intrigue people.

What will you do in your live show that might surprise audience members?
We do some radically rearranged versions of some Broadway stuff like "Glory" from Rent. People seem to be excited by the way Larry [Edoff] and I have rearranged some of the Broadway songs.

You have your third solo (yet-to-be-named) album coming out. What has been the biggest influence?
On the "Me and Larry Project," I'd have to say it's the expression of myself as a player and a musician in addition to singing. I'm finding that particularly inspiring. I've worked very hard over the last few years to make myself a better musician, and I've worked very hard to make myself better on these experiences. It's been very cathartic.

Are you more comfortable playing music or acting?
Playing my own stuff is generally the only time I get nervous. In that particular environment you're the most exposed. In terms of a comfort level, and maybe because I care less about it, I'm more comfortable acting. But it's because of that strange concept of caring less about it.

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