Who’s in Town? A Conversation with Adam Pascal, Performing in Concert with ‘Rent’ Costar Anthony Rapp at Strathmore This Friday, April 28th at 8pm

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Rent fans are in for a treat as Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp team up for a one-night-only concert event at Strathmore this Friday, April 28th at 8 PM.

Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp perform at Strathmore on Friday, April 28th at 8 PM. Photo courtesy of Strathmore.

Pascal and Rapp are forever joined in the hearts of musical theater fans thanks to their portrayals of Roger Davis and Mark Cohen in the original Broadway cast of the 1996 mega-hit.

Beyond Rent, Adam Pascal has been involved in many of Broadway’s most innovative shows, including his current stint as William Shakespeare in the national touring production of Something Rotten!.

I spoke to Adam Pascal between performances of Something Rotten!. He told me that while he and Rapp are both busy these days (Rapp is filming the new Star Trek movie), they have remained close and enjoy performing together “in their down time.”

Read on to learn about Pascal’s relationship with Rapp, life after Rent and why he doesn’t want to be pegged “that guy with the rock voice.”

Your “rock” voice was part of the Rent revolution. How did it feel to be received like that?

Adam Pascal. Photo courtesy of the artist.

The reaction I got to my voice in Rent was amazing, but I think timing had a lot to do with it. There were plenty of rock sounds in theater back in the 1970s – Jesus Christ Superstar, for example. But by the time Rent came on the scene, rock musicals hadn’t been done for a while so people weren’t used to voices like mine on Broadway.

It was incredibly flattering and amazing that people took to me in that regard, but I was always a little bit confused by it because I never thought my voice was that amazing or unique!

But you’ve done plenty of traditional Broadway shows too…Cabaret, Chicago

That’s true. These days, I’m much more interested in performing in more traditional sounding shows. Cabaret, Chicago, Something Rotten!, – I prefer to gravitate to areas that people are unfamiliar with me having the ability to do.

I often get people saying to me “I would love to see you in Superstar or Hedwig, or insert-any-rock-musical you can think of,” but I’m not really interested in that because I’ve done it. I much prefer to try things that are a little scary for me, a little different, a little bit of personal envelope pushing.

Does Something Rotten! fit that bill for you now?

Absolutely. I mean, it’s straight up farcical, musical comedy and it’s an absolute blast to perform in. Most people don’t know this, but that suits my personality. I love comedy, I love making people laugh and I love people who make me laugh. I really gravitate towards that more than anything else.

Speaking of Something Rotten!, you have twice stepped into Tony Award-winning roles (William Shakespeare in Something Rotten! and the Emcee in Cabaret). What kind of pressure does that put on you?

Being totally honest, no pressure at all. I don’t gauge my performance like that because I know that I am going to make the role unique to me. It’s not like I set out to be different, but you bring who you are to a role. That’s the nature of how it works. The pressure on me is to be good, not to live up to what the guy before me did, it’s just to be good.

I tell people who are doing Rent or Aida, the two roles I originated: “Forget about me. Forget about what you hear on the cast album. Just be you.” That’s all anybody wants.

Tell me about performing at Strathmore with Anthony.

Performing together is sort of our creative outlet when we have down time. The audiences love it and we get to hang out together. We’re both really busy now but we really wanted to fit in this show at Strathmore.

We will do a couple of songs from Rent together, and also perform individually. My set is going to be very classic rock influenced, tunes that influenced me growing up: U2, the Police, the Beatles, that kind of thing. And I’ll be playing the electric bass with my band.

What is your first memory of meeting Anthony?

Let’s see… I believe I met him for the first time at Jonathan Larson’s apartment. He was standing next to Daphne [Rubin-Vega, who played Mimi Marquez] and I knew right then that Rent was going to be a really exciting adventure. Just looking at the three of us, I thought “what a motley crew of weirdos!”

Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal in the original Broadway production of Rent. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Have you all stayed in touch?

We are all friends for life. Whether we are in touch regularly is another matter, but the friendship will always be there.

I actually grew up on the same block as Idina [Menzel]. I’ve known her since third grade. She’s the one who got me in Rent. She called me up one day and said she was doing this off-Broadway rock musical and that I should come audition for this part they were having trouble casting.

If you and Anthony were to reunite on Broadway, what show would you like to do?

I always thought it would be fun for us to do The Producers. We could be Max and Leo. I think that would be so fun!

Running Time: Approximately 95 minutes, with no intermission.

Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp play one night only on Friday, April 28, 2017 at The Music Center at Strathmore – 5301 Tuckerman Lane, in North Bethesda, MD. For tickets, call (301) 581-5100 or go online.

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