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Stepping Out

Adam Pascal revisits his career 'So Far'

An intimate retrospective with the 'Rent' star


Adam Pascal has built an impressively diverse and extensive career since originating the role of Roger in Broadway’s “Rent” in 1996. With eight Broadway shows under his belt, it is only fitting that Pascal, who grew up in Syosset, titled his new cabaret show “So Far.”

He debuts his acoustic solo evening at Madison Theatre, at Molloy College, on Friday, July 12. He’ll walk fans through his career — spanning from his Tony-nominated performance in “Rent” to his stint as the final Master of Ceremonies in the 1998 production of “Cabaret,” through his most recent role, Edward Lewis, in “Pretty Woman.”

“The show seemed like it named itself and it became obvious to me,” Pascal says of “So Far.” “I’d been wanting to do a show like this for a really long time because whenever I go out there’s always people who are asking me to do songs from the shows I have done. It seemed like a great opportunity to put together a retrospective.”

Interestingly, not every song that Pascal performs will be numbers that his characters performed in the shows.

“The reason I do that is because I like those songs better and the style in which I am performing those songs is just me on an acoustic guitar,” he says of the bold choice. “The ‘Chicago’ stuff doesn’t lend itself to that kind of interpretation,” he says, revealing that he will be performing “Funny Honey,” one of Roxie Hart’s big numbers (he played Billy Flynn). “I think people will really like my version.”

Other favorites in his repertoire include what Pascal calls “quintessential songs.” Audiences will hear hits in the order in which they were featured throughout his career, beginning with “Rent’s” “One Song Glory,” and moving through “Aida’s” “Elaborate Lives” and the “Memphis” showstopper “Memphis Lives in Me.”

However, “So Far” covers his career comprehensively, so other defining moments are featured as well. Fans will enjoy his concert staple “Pity the Child” from “Chess” at London’s Royal Albert Hall, where Pascal performed with Idina Menzel and Josh Groban.

Pascal is excited to share personal anecdotes throughout the evening, and even has a surprise in store for audiences. “I’m going to give the audience the opportunity to ask questions periodically. I think it will be cool for them.”

Although he has frequently performed on Long Island (often with “Rent” co-star Anthony Rapp), this marks his debut at Madison Theatre as well as the debut of “So Far” (which he will be bringing to Green Room 42 in Manhattan next).

“The best part of performing in the area is that I always get amazing surprise guests that come to see me; old friends that I haven’t seen in years will show up at gigs,” he says, laughing.

“For many of them, the last time they saw me perform was in Battle of the Bands at Syosset High School. It’s a great way to see them and for them to come see me perform in a way that I’m sure they never imagined back then.”

When Pascal was growing up he never thought that he would be associated with “something as positive as ‘Rent,’ that has such longevity.”

The show recently celebrated its 23rd anniversary. “The biggest surprise is that it’s still so popular and resonates in the same way,” he says. “It almost resonates more now in certain ways! I think ‘Rent’ speaks to anyone who has ever felt different or other.”

Of course“So Far” will feature stories from “Rent,” but Pascal is looking forward to sharing lesser-known tidbits from other favorite times in his life, including his experience as Shakespeare in “Something Rotten!”

He points to “Hard to be the Bard” as a pivotal song in “So Far” and in his career. “I love that show so much and it was such a joyful experience to be in it every night,” he remembers fondly. “It was so much fun and so silly. I’ve never done a show where I literally looked forward to it every night for a year and a half.”

After performing in it on Broadway, Pascal starred in the national tour. “I also learned something for “Something Rotten!” that I thought I’d never be able to do — tap dance. It holds a really special place for me.”

The care that Pascal has for his craft is evident in all of his concerts, but it is clear that he will be wearing his heart on his sleeve in “So Far.” He credits this to what he took away from his experience in “Cabaret.”

“I perform [the song] ‘Maybe This Time’ because even though I only did the show for a few months, it initiated me into a world of Broadway performers that I thought I’d never be part of,” he says.

“Everything I did in it was a new skill for me: the German accent, the [tremendous] choreography…I probably worked fifteen hours each day to perfect that. I was closing out the show and didn’t want it to be a dud! It changed my perspective on performing and acting, and it gave me a newfound respect for it.”

For tickets and information, visit www.madisontheatreny.org or call (516) 323-4444.