All The World's A Stage :: 'Something Rotten''s Adam Pascal

by Tim Parks

Rage Monthly

Monday November 6, 2017

Shakespeare once wrote in the play "As You Like It" that "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." The tried-and-true adage

is something actor Adam Pascal can certainly relate to, as he has spent much of his life under the stage's spotlight.

The singer/actor made his presence known in the 1996 Broadway production of "RENT" as Roger Davis, then in 2005's film version, followed by the Broadway Tour in 2009. He also originated the role of Radames in Elton John and Tim Rice's "Aida," had emcee duties in "Cabaret" and portrayed Huey Calhoun in "Memphis." Currently, Pascal is taking on the role of William Shakespeare in "Something Rotten!," which tells the tale musically of the Bottom Brothers (Rob McClure and Josh Grisetti) and their quest to outshine the wunderkind by crafting a play with music and lyrics... Hilarity naturally ensues in this Tony-nominated effort.

The Rage Monthly caught up with Pascal to see how his lifelong love of music helped pay the RENT and what he loves about his no-holds-Bard performance in "Something Rotten!"

Pascal knew from an early age that performance was in his blood, as he explained. "Probably around 12, I'd say," he said. "I started singing before that, but actually singing in front of people, I started doing at 12. I started playing in rock bands and that's what I did up until I ended up in 'RENT.' When I was 12, I formed a band with some of my friends and kind of never stopped. I loved music, I loved playing in a band and I loved singing, it was such a part of my DNA."

Something else that also became an integral part of who Pascal was meant to be was his role as Roger Davis in "RENT." The Tony Award-winning rock musical, based on "La Bohme," detailed the lives of the denizens in New York's East Village, a group of penurious artists who were living under the deadly specter of the early HIV and AIDS epidemic. In a cruel twist of fate, the show's creator Jonathan Larson died suddenly the night prior to the Off-Broadway debut, an event which cast its own shadow over the production's premiere.

He said that this situation and the whole "RENT" experience, served as both a learning lesson and then later as a catharsis in his life. "I certainly learned so much. I think I learned a lot of what not to do and it only came to me years later," Pascal explained. "I would say to not allow your ego to dictate decisions you make in your life. Each time I went back and revisited the show in whatever capacity, I was in a different place in my life. It felt great to go back and reassess that as a different person."

"It was a great opportunity and I felt very fortunate to have ended my 'RENT' run on that tour in 2009. All of that pain of Jonathan Larson dying and all of the drama that went on around the original production, made it not always so much fun to do the show," he recalled. "It was difficult most of the time, quite frankly, both emotionally and physically. But to have the opportunity to come back years later-without all of that baggage-it allowed me to come back and revisit it and perform it with much more clarity and without all of that heaviness."

One might expect playing a real-life figure to bring its own type of gravity, but for Pascal it is quite the opposite. "I don't feel any pressure," Pascal responded. "Shakespeare is so iconic, but we don't really know that much about his personality. He could have been like anything, we just don't know. The poetic license that one is allowed to take with a character like that, allows you to do whatever you want. That's a lot of fun and I love playing this character because of that. This is the most fun I've had in a show and I love the opportunity to play somebody with such frivolity."

That fun is contagious, making "Something Rotten!" a rousing spectacle, a production that Pascal had nothing but praise for. "I love costumes and makeup and sort of slip into someone else's skin and disappear," Pascal said. "That's so much fun for me and we all get to do it in such a heavy-duty way in this show. The music is great and the comedy is funny and I love the people that I'm on stage with every night, so I'm very fortunate to be in this production."

"Something Rotten!" runs from Tuesday, November 7 to Sunday, November 19 at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. For tickets and more information, call 714.556.2787 or go to

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