By Joey Phoenix

Adam Pascal, known for playing Roger in both the stage production and movie adaptation of the acclaimed rock musical Rent is making a special stop in Salem this Monday January 23 to teach an auditioning master class geared towards kids — and Salem is delighted to have him.
The workshop is part of an ongoing plan devised by the YMCA of the North Shore Theater Arts Company to bring more engagement and productive kid-centric theater activities to local YMCA’s throughout the North Shore.
Adam Pascal Creative Salem“The Y is not just about swimming.” Says Theater Director Nicole Heena. “It has theater. If people start thinking of the Y as a place to go to when they have a kid interested in theater, that’s a dream for me.”

Since 2014, The YMCA of the North Shore Theater Company has called the beautIful Ames Hall their Salem home, giving the current and upcoming generations of thespians a chance to perform on a unique, historical stage.

Yet, it’s not just Salem that’s making kids’ theater a priority, as productions are now also being staged in Manchester-Essex, Haverhill, Swampscott, and Cape Ann.

“I’m directing Willy Wonka at East Gloucester Elementary School,” Nicole explains, “and it’s exciting because it’s our first time working with that school. It’s also our first time doing something with the Cape Ann community, where we’ve had a Y but no theater programming until now.
“We’ve started working with a lot of schools in the community which has been really awesome.” she continues. “We do some enrichment programming with them and sometimes we do full productions. It really just is the whole gamut of truly exciting ways in which we can give kids an opportunity to perform when their schools wouldn’t be able to otherwise.”

So far this year, the YMCA of the North Shore Theater Company has had auditions for their a cappella group “Y-cappella” and for the teen production of High School Musical, which will be put on in Salem.

“We try to do one show each that is for a bit of an older demographic to give them more challenging experience.” Nicole explains.

“In Salem we also do one non-musical every year. This year we’re doing a Shakespeare production in the summer — and it’s always fun to get kids doing Shakespeare as early as possible. It’s certainly hard, but the earlier they start doing it the sooner they’ll become more comfortable with it.”

The company also plans to put on Mulan Jr. in the fall.

Several months ago, Straight from New York — a company which specializes in connecting student and young adult based theater companies with Broadway actors for workshops and specialized training — reached out to Nicole about potentially bringing in a Broadway actor to teach a workshop in Salem.

Up until now the timing never worked out right, but when SFNY mentioned that Adam Pascal would not only be in town at the end of January, but would also be willing to teach a workshop, Nicole jumped at the opportunity.

“It was a no-brainer. We were going to figure out how to work out the details, because it’s not very often that someone so iconic to the musical theater world and so recognizable to current musical theater kids and parents gets to come to our community.
“Rent is still so important, and it changed the musical theater game. And he’s still in the game, he’s touring now and I just think it’s going to be such an amazing opportunity for the kids. And everyone coming to observe will learn so much as well. Just to see how he interacts with people and what he does in auditions.”

The focus of the master class will be musical theater, and kids with musical theater aspirations aged 11–19 are invited to participate in the workshop (there are currently a handful of spots remaining).

“Some of these kids are as young as 13 and 14 who have signed up to it.” Nicole says. “I would have died if I could’ve done that when I was younger, because there’s only so much kids listen to their YMCA teachers but he’s someone who knows the industry — and he’s done things that I would never be able to dream of doing, and he has the experience in this world that kids dream of doing themselves.

“It’s going to inspire them.”
— — —
Where: Ames Hall — 290 Essex Street Salem, MA
There are a handful of spots remaining. Click here to register.
Don’t want to participate in the workshop but would like to attend anyways? Well, you can. Observational tickets are $10 apiece.

About Adam Pascal
Adam Pascal is a Tony Award nominee, best known for his role as Roger in RENT, which he originated both on Broadway and in the 2005 film. He has also starred on Broadway in Aida (Radames), Cabaret (Emcee), Chess (Freddie), Chicago (Billy), Memphis (Huey), Disaster (Chad), and most recently, Something Rotten (Shakespeare). He has released two solo rock albums, Model Prisoner (2000), Civilian (2004), as well as a collaborative rock album Blinding Light (2008) with pianist, Larry Edoff. In television and film, he has appeared in RENT (2005), School of Rock, (2003), Temptation (2004), and Cold Case (2006). Adam also tours regularly, performing sold-out solo concerts all around the country.

”One Song Glory” – Rent (Movie 2005)

Adam Pascal – One song glory Lyrics: I’m Writing One Great Song Before I …

About YMCA of the North Shore Theater Company
The YMCA of the North Shore Theater Company strives to enrich the community by creating a place for children of all ages and backgrounds to join together in a love of stage. In an educational and nurturing environment, we inspire tomorrow’s artists through performance, classroom education, and mentorship. The Y Theater Company encourages children to embrace diversity, grow in individuality, and cultivate relationships throughout the North Shore.

About Straight from New York
Straight From New York provides performance training opportunities and college audition prep to students interested in acting and musical theatre through masterclasses and coaching from our acclaimed artists who have been recognized for their abilities in the Broadway industry, including many Tony Award winners and nominees.

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