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Interview: Adam Pascal Brings SO FAR Solo Concert to Axelrod Performing Arts Center's Vogel Summer Concert Series 7/28-7/29

Adam Pascal, original cast member of RENT, is coming to the Jersey Shore this summer!

Interview: Adam Pascal Brings SO FAR Solo Concert to Axelrod Performing Arts Center's Vogel Summer Concert Series 7/28-7/29

The Axelrod Performing Arts Center will bring live performances to the Jersey Shore with the Vogel Summer Concert Series. The shows will take place outdoors split between the Arthur Pryor Bandshell in Asbury Park and Bell Works in Holmdel. An incredible group of Broadway talent and musical guests are set to appear in this series, including Broadway star Adam Pascal.

Adam Pascal has enjoyed an exciting career on Broadway since creating the role of Roger in Rent in 1996, for which he received a Tony nomination. He also created the role of Radames in Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida and played the Emcee in the Studio 54 revival of Cabaret, Huey Calhoun in Memphis, and most recently, the Bard himself in Something Rotten! Adam has also recorded solo albums and appeared in film and TV. had the incredible opportunity to interview Adam Pascal before his concerts.

Was there a specific moment you knew you wanted to be a performer?

I started singing in rock bands at probably 12 years old and that was the career trajectory my whole life up until I started doing theater. So doing theater was never something that was a part of my life growing up. I was just a singer in a band. It wasn't until I got the opportunity to audition for this Off-Broadway musical RENT that theater ever sort of entered my thought process. It was a long evolution for me to actually get to the place of doing theater. But once it actually happened, it was like the most natural thing to be there doing it.

Who are some of the people who have inspired your career?

There are certainly a lot of artists who have inspired my career because I aspire to be like them. The first one that comes to mind is Bono. I have been so lucky to be inspired by so many of the actors that I've worked with in all of the shows that I've done on Broadway so far. I'm constantly inspired by all of these incredibly talented people who I learn from. I think back to a show like Disaster! that I got to work with Roger Bart, Faith Prince, Kevin Chamberlin, Kerry Butler, and Jennifer Simard. They are all of these people who are so talented. It's like taking comedy lessons every night on stage. Even with RENT, I was surrounded by these incredibly talented people who had lots of skills that I didn't have and I just wanted to be around them and absorb that from them.

What can audience members expect from your upcoming concerts at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center's Vogel Summer Concert Series? Can you tease any songs?

I have a solo acoustic show that I do and it's called "So Far." It's basically a retrospect of my career on Broadway so far. I start with RENT, and I take it up through Pretty Woman, and I sing songs from every show I've been in which includes Aida, Chicago, Disaster, Something Rotten, Memphis, Cabaret, and Chess. I tell stories about the shows and talk to the audience. What I was doing pre-pandemic, I don't know if I'm gonna keep doing it, I was actually taking questions from the audience which was kind of fun. That's what the show is. It's this solo acoustic thing that I do.

Interview: Adam Pascal Brings SO FAR Solo Concert to Axelrod Performing Arts Center's Vogel Summer Concert Series 7/28-7/29
Adam Pascal performs at Feinstein's/54 Below
in 2016. Photo by Walter McBride

How does performing in concerts compare to performing in musicals and do you prefer one over the other?

It's taken a long time for me to get to a place where my solo performing is as comfortable to me as getting on stage in a musical. It's been many years of evolution of honing my skills. It's not easy to do that. To do a solo acoustic show for 90 minutes requires a lot of attention, which I sometimes don't have so much of. I do prefer being in a show over doing a concert, I can say that. I love being in a musical on stage with other people telling a story. That's kind of like my favorite place to be, to be honest. Needless to say, I'm more than excited to be getting back on stage at whatever the first opportunity is in that type of capacity.

Is preparing for a concert different than preparing to play a role on Broadway?

They both require practice and rehearsal and different skills. When I'm rehearsing a musical, I'm rehearsing that show with other people in an environment where we are blocking, choreographing, and rehearsing and all that stuff. When I'm rehearsing my show, it's just me with my guitar. I've actually started incorporating new elements into the show - sonic elements, effects, and things like that. I've been rehearsing this new dynamic to the show and figuring out how to do it, constantly pressing petals and things like that.

RENT is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. Do you have a favorite memory from the show that stands out to you from being in the original cast?

It's hard to pick just one. The one that always sticks out was the first day that all fifteen of us got together for rehearsal and the first song we learned was "Seasons of Love." I'll never forget that because it was the first time all fifteen of us learned this new, kind of strange song and what that sounded like in the rehearsal room and how sort of truly magical it sounded. It was incredible.

The story of RENT has touched generations. Do you have a favorite line from the show, like something at the level of "No Day But Today" that is meaningful to you?

It's kind of that one - "No Day But Today." Over the years, I've seen dozens of tattoos on people's bodies of that phrase. It is such a simple concept, but it is a universal idea of enjoying and appreciating your life. Maybe not enjoying life - because we can't always enjoy things, but you can certainly appreciate your life.

Interview: Adam Pascal Brings SO FAR Solo Concert to Axelrod Performing Arts Center's Vogel Summer Concert Series 7/28-7/29
Adam Pascal as Roger in the Original Broadway production
of RENT in 1996. Photo by Joan Marcus/Carol Rosegg

In addition to RENT, you've played many other roles in Broadway shows like Aida, Chicago, Memphis, and Something Rotten. How do you approach each role differently, whether you're originating it or stepping in as a replacement?

It requires a different skill set of learning. When you're originating a role it's a much longer, drawn-out process over the course of sometimes years. When you're taking over for a part, it's something that already exists and you've got two weeks to learn it. You don't have the time for character development and I've got to find this, and find that. No, I have to learn where to stand and what the actual words are that I'm going to be singing or saying. And two weeks, certainly for the roles that I've done which are big lead roles, is a lot to learn. That is really the biggest difference of the process. I love taking over for roles, I prefer it. I just want to get to work. I want to learn the show, two weeks, boom, I'm in and I'm off and running.

Broadway shows are beginning to open up this fall. How do you think the pandemic will change theater in the future?

I think the act of going and sitting down in a theatre with someone right next to you is gonna be the same. That's not gonna change. The experience I think from that perspective is just like what people are used to. It's gonna be going to the theatre, and people are gonna be packed in, and you're gonna see a great show like you always did. That kind of thing won't be different. There may be protocols in terms of people entering and exiting the theatre so there's better distribution of people so people aren't on top of each other as they're coming in and going out. You'll see lots of hand sanitizing stations everywhere, and maybe different bathroom protocols in terms of allowing how people go to the bathrooms. Those are the changes you'll see. The audience members and people working at the theaters will definitely still be in masks. You probably won't see any stage-dooring, although maybe you will. We'll see. If people outside are wearing masks and actors have the choice if they want to interact or not. That remains to be seen. They have a lot of time to figure this out, shows aren't coming back until the fall.

To keep up with Adam, you can follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

Tickets for the Axelrod Performing Arts Center's Vogel Summer Concert Series can be purchased by calling 732-531-9106 ex.14 or by visiting the Axelrod Performing Arts Center website at Adam Pascal's concerts will take place on July 28th at 5:30pm and 8:00pm at the Arthur Pryor Bandshell in Asbury Park, NJ and July 29th at 5:30pm and 8:00pm at Bell Works in Holmdel, NJ. Bell Works is located at 101 Crawfords Corner Rd in Holmdel. The Arthur Pryor Bandshell is located at 1200 Ocean Avenue in Asbury Park.

At both venues, audiences will be socially distant and are required to wear masks to enter the venue. Full bar and menu available at both venues. Bar Bellà and Bell Market at Bell Works. The Iron Whale on the Asbury Park Boardwalk.

For more information on the Axelrod Performing Arts Center, you can follow them on Twitter and Instagram @axelrodarts or on Facebook at

Photo Courtesy of Michael Pitcherilli

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