Broadway star visits Shubert Theatre

By on January 30, 2008

With two solo rock records and 10 years of Broadway and film roles under his belt, Adam Pascal shows no signs of slowing down. Pascal and his writing partner, pianist Larry Edoff, visited the Shubert Theater in New Haven on Jan. 19 while touring the country with material from their upcoming record.

Pascal is best known for his role as Roger Davis in the original Broadway cast and 2005 film version of “Rent.” The Chronicle sat down with the 37-year-old musician after his show at the Shubert to discuss his new album, a possible return to Broadway, and balancing family, a rock career and Hollywood.

His latest project, a collaborative album titled “Blinding Light,” is scheduled for release on April 30. His fans may be used to the sounds of drums and guitar accompanying his voice, but Pascal has exchanged the electric guitar for a piano this time around.

“I just love the sound of piano. I love to sing with a piano,” said Pascal while describing the more stripped down sound of his new album.

“I’ve made a conscious effort over the past four years to really become a better player, to become a better musician.” Pascal said, referring to the time since the release of his last solo effort, “Civilian,” in 2004.

What comes first, Pascal makes clear, is his own music. “I don’t want to be thought of as an actor who’s also got a band,” Pascal said, “That doesn’t fly for me.”

Fronting rock bands since his early teens, and listening to bands like The Beatles and Pink Floyd, Pascal originally tried to make a name in hard rock. “I never in a million years considered doing musical theater or Broadway,” said the singer, “That was never something I ever wanted to do until I started doing it. I didn’t realize how natural it was.”

After leaving his long time band, luck brought Pascal to an audition to the then unknown off-Broadway production of “Rent,” and he’s been on the Broadway stage (“Aida,” “Cabaret”) and in films, like “School of Rock,” ever since.

He’ll also be appearing in the upcoming independent film “American Primitive,” co-starring Tate Donovan, where they play a gay couple trying to deal with their relationship being exposed to their teenage daughters.

Pascal returned to the great white way last summer with fellow original “Rent” cast member Anthony Rapp for a limited engagement in the show that made him famous. Is a return to Broadway in his future?

“I probably will end up playing the Phantom at some point,” Pascal told The Chronicle, “because that’s a part that I really want to play.”

Pascal recently moved to Los Angeles from New York with his wife and two sons, which he says makes committing to developing new musicals difficult. He added, “If the level of success that I achieve is held back because of the sacrifices I’ve had to make for my family, then so be it. As far as I’m concerned, the family will always win.”

What’s in the cards next for Pascal? Between the occasional independent film, Broadway roles, touring with Edoff, and working on other solo projects, he says he’ll be busy for a long time. Pascal also talked about the possibility of joining the touring production of “Rent” for 20 weeks with Rapp after the show ends its 12 year run on June 1.

“We’re talking to the producers about doing that, and it may happen, and it may not,” Pascal said with a laugh. Audiences won’t be forgetting his name anytime soon.


About Jenna Bissonnette