Growing up a heavy metal-inspired teenage musician in Long Island during the mid-eighties, Broadway seemed like the last place in the world Adam Pascal would hit it big.
Determined to make it in the music business, but willing to venture out into theater, Pascal auditioned for a small Broadway production named â€œRentâ€ and was soon cast as the hard lucked musician Roger. What precipitated was the beginning of a career that later spawned starring roles in elite Broadway shows like â€œCabaretâ€ and â€œAida,â€ performances on television shows and motion pictures like â€œCold Caseâ€ and â€œSchool of Rockâ€ and even two music albums.
While Pascal stresses that his music career is extremely important to him and in essence, the reason why he has a career to begin with.
â€œI wouldnâ€™t have gotten anywhere without my singing. I think thatâ€™s what my gift is. I feel like Iâ€™m a good actor, but I wouldnâ€™t call myself a gifted actor. Being in â€œRentâ€ changed my life in every single way. I had never done anything like that before and to go and become a major part of this thing that became a cultural phenomenon for a brief period of time was pretty wild,â€ said Pascal, via telephone.
â€œYou really donâ€™t realize it until you have a few years distance to look back at it. It was an incredible experience; it introduced me to a love of theater and a love of performing that type of material that I never knew I had. It established a career for me.â€
Unlike his career establishing performance in â€œRent,â€ Pascal feels that playing Radames in Aida gave him a chance to hone his acting skills, cementing his reputation as a performer. Surprisingly, however, during his time on â€œAida,â€ the thought passed through Pascalâ€™s mind that he might be pigeonholing himself into a career on Broadway, when his music career was the most important thing to him.
â€œAida was like you know; now youâ€™re really a Broadway guy. It wasnâ€™t just that one show [Rent]. At that point, music was still so important to me and I wanted it to be a dominant part of my career, so I was very concerned with becoming â€œThe Broadway Guyâ€ and never being taken seriously [as a musician]. It took me years to realize that whatever I did, whether I did Aida or not, it probably wasnâ€™t a factor in me getting the musical recognition that I felt at the time I deserved,â€ said Pascal.
â€œThe actuality is what I was doing material-wise just wasnâ€™t good enough. But Aida was great because I made that jump and it was another learning experience on the next level. Playing a character in Aida was much more of an acting role than Roger was in Rent, at least from my perspective.â€
Now a seasoned Broadway veteran, with a few motion pictures roles under his belt as well, Pascal has now begun taking his career down a new, yet familiar path, as he has gone back to his roots and is currently touring with pianist Larry Edoff on a small east coast college tour, giving himself the chance to focus on his music career that he didnâ€™t have while performing on Broadway for so many years.
â€œItâ€™s an interesting concept to me, in terms of musical accompaniment because Iâ€™m playing bass and acoustic guitar and heâ€™s playing piano. Heâ€™s a brilliant piano player and he makes my stuff come alive in a way I just never imagined,â€ he said. â€œWe have also done a few really interesting rearrangements of Broadway tunes and covers in the vain of this two-man operation weâ€™re doing.â€
In addition to working on his music career, Pascal also wants to continue acting, preferably on the big screen, rather than on Broadway this time around.
Rather than become complacent with the level of success he has achieved in his career thus far, or feel lost in the midst of redefining it, Pascal seems to understand that in order for his career to truly flourish, he has to try different things.
â€œMy intention is to try and do more TV and film stuff, so I would imagine the theater stuff is going to take a back seat,” he said. “The music is always going to be there, but hopefully I can shift into more TV and film stuff and to continue what Iâ€™m doing musically. I would love to go back to Broadway, but thereâ€™s just nothing thatâ€™s right for me, or that Iâ€™m right for. There are no projects even on the horizon that are appropriate for me. So, itâ€™s time to try something new.â€
This article was originally published in June 2006.