As members of the original cast from that legendary first production of Jonathan Larson’s RENT,Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp were present at the creation for a new kind of Broadway musical — a work of life and love and passion that took on the big issues and told the highly personal stories of a generation, even as it spawned a whole new generation of dedicated “Rentheads.”
Despite the different paths that brought them to that place — Midwesterner Anthony began his career as a stage and screen player at the age of six, while native New Yorker Adam was a rock singer making his first foray into acting — the two RENTmates forged a professional bond that saw them reunite for the 2005 film version, the 2009 Broadway tour, and an all new concert presentation that comes to the stage of the Pollak Theatre at Monmouth University on Saturday, April 21.
A three-part program presented under the title Adam & Anthony Live, the 8 p.m. event spotlights the two young veterans in the context of their most current musical projects — with the “tag team” joining forces once more for a climactic salute to the game-changing musical that made them famous.
Adam — whose Obie-winning run as Roger, the HIV-positive musician of Larson’s 1980s-set opus, was followed by major stage turns in the Elton John-Tim Rice Aida, in Memphis, and in the 1998 revival of Cabaret — kicks off the evening with a set by his three-piece combo Me & Larry, an acclaimed endeavor that teams him with the extraordinary pianist Larry Edoff. Drawing from their album Blinding Light — and adding some revelatory new takes on familiar showtune standards from West Side Story and A Chorus Line — Pascal lends his powerful pipes (as well as his underrated guitar and bass skills) to a bold sound that stands as a refreshing alternative to the run of overly orchestrated “songbook” CDs on the market.
Anthony, whose own personal journey through life (via his RENT role as Roger’s filmmaker roommate Mark) was related in his memoir Without You, joins Adam for a song as the stage is set for Rapp’s solo turn. Fronting a five piece band led by former RENT keyboardist Dan Weiss, Anthony delivers a powerhouse mix of original compositions and covers of some of his favorite songs — selections that range from Hedwig and the Angry Inch showstoppers, to covers from the likes of Talking Heads, Crowded House and REM (whose “Losing My Religion” has become one of the singer’s signature performances).
The bespectacled vocalist whose many stage and screen appearances include a starring stint in the 1999 Broadway revival of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (and who is currently developing a live theater piece based on Without You) will be joined once more by Adam Pascal for the final segment of the concert — an interlude in which the two stars share stories and standout songs from the show that, in Anthony’s words, “resonates so much in our lives.”
“At the end of the day, there’s no replacement for live performance,” says Adam of the concert presented here by the Center for the Arts at Monmouth. “You have to come out to see this.”
To purchase tickets, please contact the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at www.monmouth.edu/arts. To schedule an interview, please contact Eileen Chapman at 732-571-3512.
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Media contact: Petra Ludwig at 732-263-5507