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BWW Review: ADAM PASCAL Rocks the House at 54 Below

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Adam Pascal's Acoustic Show Runs Through August 9

BWW Review: ADAM PASCAL Rocks the House at 54 Below

Adam Pascal has starred in half a dozen Broadway shows. He is, by any measure, a Broadway star. He was the lead in a seminal musical that changed the zeitgeist and the sound of Broadway. His every move is the topic of bloggers in Broadway chat rooms. So why is it, after so much success in the theatre, that Adam Pascal (Rent, Aida, Memphis, Something Rotten) still in so many ways feels like a fish out of water?

His lovely acoustic show, which opened last night at 54 Below, helps to unravel the mystery a bit. Adam Pascal is a Broadway star who struggles with Broadway because he is, in his very soul a rock star. That dichotomy has always been the appeal of Pascal's work. He walks in the Broadway world, but he's not quite OF it. His show was a no-frills tour through his unexpected career. Just him, a guitar, his stories, and that voice. It is an entirely unique instrument. No one else sounds like him. His voice is as thrilling at 50 as it was when he played Roger Davis at 25.

He began with a now-familiar mantra:

No other road, no other way,

No day but today.

Then he launched into "Fake Plastic Trees" by Radiohead. The juxtaposition of the Broadway tune and the alt-rock song doesn't feel accidental.

He explained the process of how he came to be in Rent, even going so far as to sing the song he used to audition, U2's "Red Mill Mining Town." He then sang the song he will forever be associated with, "One Song, Glory." It's always wonderful to hear how an artist grows into his signature song. Pascal continues to find new things in this tune. He gave us another audition tune. This time his audition for Elton John and Aida. "Vienna" by Billy Joel.

He shared a great story about the oddness of fame, when he talked about causing internet outrage by making an offhand comment about Julie Taymor that unexpectedly went viral, even ending up on CNN. This lead to a section where he sang songs from all his Broadway triumphs. First a great rendition of "Maybe This Time" from Cabaret. Then he showed off his sense of humor with "Hard to Be the Bard" from Something Rotten. He gave a tender reading of "Elaborate Lives" from Aida and a bravura performance of "Memphis Lives in Me." The surprise of the evening came in a charming performance of "Funny Honey" from Chicago told from Roxie's point of view.

To wrap up his exciting set, he returned to the music of Elton John. "Rocket Man" seems like the perfect song to descibe the meteoric rise and shining career of Broadway's premier rock star.

Adam Pascal returns to 54 Below at various times through August 9. Visit 54below.com for showtimes and tickets. To learn more about Adam Pascal, follow him @adampascal on Instagram.


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