Song & Stage

Adam Pascal of ‘Rent’ Fame Performs Saturday at Southampton Arts Center

Though Adam Pascal loves all the work he does on stage and before the camera, this multi-talented 43-year-old might change the order on his Wikipedia page from “actor, singer and musician” to read “musician” first. On Saturday, August 30, those who come to hear him interpret “classical Broadway standards” at the Southampton Arts Center will have a chance to see how Pascal’s various professional lives interact.

Pascal, who was born in the Bronx and grew up in Syosset, is excited about playing the Hamptons because he has fond party-time memories of Neptune Beach from his high school years, and he has since been a frequent visitor, though he now lives in L.A.

An award-winning musical theater actor, Pascal starred as the HIV-positive rock guitarist Roger Davis in Rent on Broadway, in the movie version in 2005 and in a touring production in 2009, performing in numerous cities in this country and in Japan and South Korea. Other musical acting credits include originating the role of the Egyptian general, Radames, in Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida and playing the Emcee in the 1998 revival of Cabaret. He recently appeared as Huey Calhoun in the Broadway company of Memphis and as Billy Flynn in Chicago. His movie and television work is extensive, and he is currently shooting a film in California, about which he will only say it’s a musical and he’s starring with “some legendary guys.”

After a brief stint as a personal trainer, Pascal moved into music as a hard rocker, playing guitar and bass in a number of bands, but he felt drawn to show tunes, which he has been doing for close to two decades, interpreting the American Broadway songbook with a powerful tenor voice. In 2006 he took part in the Macy’s Fourth of July Celebration, singing during the fireworks.

Amazingly, Pascal says he had no formal training, either as a singer or an actor. He confesses he was kind of “arrogant” in his younger days but now appreciates learning from colleagues, especially on stage when part of a professional company. But he does love the challenge of doing a solo or small-group gig, which has become the constant in his life. Some performers he cites as inspiration are Billy Joel (a fantastic musician but “an underappreciated fabulous singer”) and heavy metal and new wave Brits, including Iron Maiden and Queen.

Pascal will be the concluding act in the debut year of the Hamptons Songbook Salon Series, a collaboration between Guild Hall and the Southampton Arts Center. The series, says Guild Hall executive director Ruth Appelhof, “is a salute to the great classic standards and the mesmerizing artists who brilliantly bring these songs to life.” For Pascal, the 130-seat Southampton venue could not be better because he has moved steadily over the years from large halls to intimate spaces where he can perform with only one or two musicians. In 2006, the band he formed and for which he composed original material, Me and Larry, won the 2007-2008 Golden Icon Award for Best Small Venue Concert. He hopes audiences will like the spin he’s putting on some of the classics, an experience he’s particularly enjoyed because he got to look at older songs in new ways. He admits, for example, that he was never that much of  “a gut fan” of “Maria” from West Side Story, but something in it caught his fancy, and he felt a call to do “a jazz version.”

The Southampton Arts Center is located at 25 Jobs Lane, Southampton Village. Show time Saturday, August 30 is 8 p.m. Tickets are $58 for Guild Hall members, $60 for general admission, and $85 for VIP tickets with meet-and-greet. For info visit GuildHall.org, theatremania.com or call 631-324-4050 or 1-866-811-4111. Student rush tickets are available, but this event is likely to sell out. 

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