Josh Rittberg

Staff Writer

On the night of Monday December 5, audience members who walked into Ephrata’s Main Theatre’s concert hall were in for a real treat. Adam Pascal who has graced the Broadway stage in musical hits, like “Rent”, “Aida”, “Cabaret”, and currently “Something Rotten”, performed a one night only concert that truly was one for the ages. This was an evening full of excellent performances and highly entertaining stories told by Pascal. The energy in the theater was buzzing even before the performance began.  The audience was a diverse crowd of fans from past performances and people who just wanted to see an entertaining evening of music.  Audience members at Pascal’s concert got all of that and more.

The concert began with PRiMA Theater’s Executive Producer and Founder: Mitch Nugent’s rousing welcome to Pascal. When Pascal stepped on stage with his guitar, the energy in the room was truly electric.  The concert began with Pascal performing an acapella rendition of the song “Anthem” from Tim Rice’s “Chess”. The combination of his powerful vocals and emotional inflections made “Anthem” a powerful start to the concert. Throughout the concert, Pascal sang mashups of his favorite pop and rock songs. One of the many highlights of the evening occurred when Pascal sang a stirring mashup of Stephen Sondheim’s “Johanna” from the musical “Sweeney Todd” and Jeff Buckley’s “Lover You Should Have Come Over”.  The lush vocals and tender strumming by Pascal really made this number soar. This winning combination of the rock and theater world left the audience truly speechless.

After a couple of songs by Pascal,  Nugent came back on stage for a very insightful question and answer session. Throughout the session, Pascal shared interesting and engaging stories about his times in show business. According to Pascal, “What I love about performing in concert is that it’s where I truly get to just be myself on stage”. This was clearly shone throughout the question and answer session.

One of the most powerful stories was when Pascal expressed how he felt about performing “Rent” after the composer, Jonathan Larson, passed away. Pascal only knew Larson for a couple of months after he got cast in “Rent”. Tragically, Jonathan Larson passed away on the morning of “Rent’s” first preview performance off Broadway, and he never got to see the phenomenon that his musical would become.

After the question and answer session, Pascal performed a couple more songs for the adoring audience. In the second half, Pascal sang some of his favorite songs from stage and screen. At the beginning of the second half, Pascal sang “Over at Frankenstein’s Place” from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. During the concert, Pascal shared that “Rocky Horror” has held a special place in his heart ever since he first saw it as a teenager. Pascal’s love of this musical showed clearly in his inspired rendition of this “Rocky Horror” classic.

In the second half of his show, Pascal sang a spirited version of the song “Why” from Jonathan Larson’s “Tick Tick Boom”, which began as a solo piece created by Larson, but was expanded into a three-actor off Broadway piece after Larson’s death. PRiMA Theater is putting on the piece next year, and Pascal’s rendition was a wonderful tie into PRiMA’s upcoming production. With the number “It’s Hard to be the Bard”, the audience got a sneak peak of Pascal’s hysterical portrayal of William Shakespeare in the musical “Something Rotten”, which he is currently performing on Broadway. After “Rotten” closes in January, Pascal will also be reprising his role in the national tour.

Last but certainly not least, Pascal closed the show with a powerful rendition of the Cats classic “Memory”.  Pascal admitted that “Cats” is not one of his favorite musicals, but nevertheless his rendition drew the show to a stunning conclusion. The evening ended with an encore performance of the iconic “One Song Glory”; this was the song the audience was waiting for, and it certainly did not disappoint.

Overall, Adam Pascal’s one-night only concert proved to be a great success for PRiMA Theater. It was a real treat to have a night of entertainment by one of Broadway’s best. This landmark concert for PRiMA is one that will not be forgotten.