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Broadway star Adam Pascal Offers Advice to Students at Midland University


For an actor who gained fame on Broadway, Adam Pascal doesn’t think getting there should be a career-defining goal for those trying to break into show business.

“Broadway shouldn’t be the end-all, be-all pinnacle of being an actor,” Pascal told a group of students at Midland University on Thursday. “It’s great to get there, but there is fantastic regional theater being done all over the country. 

“The goal should be to work,” he added. “If you (don’t) have (to have) another job, you’re a successful actor. … If you can work and support yourself and/or a family, you’re a bigger success than a lot of people who have been on Broadway.”

Pascal is best known for his performance in the original and film cast of “Rent” and currently is performing in the touring production of “Something Rotten,” which opened at Omaha’s Orpheum Theatre. On Thursday, he led a master class for area students at Midland’s Kimmel Theatre. 

Several Midland performing arts students presented audition pieces with Pascal offering advice on ways to improve the specific performance. He also offered advice to the middle and high school students who attended the class as well as answering questions about a life on stage and screen.

Those attending were from schools that included Arlington, Clarkson/Leigh, Council Bluffs Lewis Central, Elkhorn South, Fremont, Millard West, Missouri Valley, Oakland-Craig, Omaha Burke, Omaha Northwest, Nebraska City and Papillion-LaVista.

Pascal talked about singing technique (you must enunciate); song choice (stay away from those that are difficult and hard on your accompanist); and how to dress for the audition (like you’re going to a job interview). But he also discussed how to have a happy, fulfilling life as a singer and actor.

“The goal of the audition should always be to give a great audition, not to get the job,” he told the students. “Getting the job is completely out of your control and out of your hands. The only thing that’s in your hands is whether or not you give a great performance. … There are a million and one reasons all of which go into why you do or don’t get cast. So, don’t make that your goal because then you’ll just always be unhappy. Most of us won’t get the job most of the time. That’s just the reality.”

The reality for Pascal, however, has been a busy and successful career. He has been in a string of Broadway hits, from “Aida,” “Memphis” and “Something Rotten” to his personal favorite, “Cabaret.”

“It’s such a great show, but that particular production was so special and unique,” Pascal said of his time performing in the 1998 Broadway revival of the show. “It was such an honor to be asked to be part of that company. It happened at a moment in my life where I needed that pushing of my own personal envelope – what I was capable of. It changed my life.”

Performing musical theater seemed natural for the New York native who began playing in rock bands at the age of 12.

“The first time I walked out on stage with ‘Rent,’ it felt so natural to me,” he said. “It felt so comfortable in a way that playing in rock bands never felt. There was always something that felt a little askew about that, and I could never quite put my finger on what it was. Once I started doing theater, it felt so comfortable, so natural that I just knew that this must be what I’m supposed to be doing.”

His advice just might help a new crop of performers find success.

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