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How This MLB Baseball Player Got Broadway’s Adam Pascal and All-Star Josh Bell to Collaborate on a Musical Theatre Album

4 min read
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How This MLB Baseball Player Got Broadway’s Adam Pascal and All-Star Josh Bell to Collaborate on a Musical Theatre Album

Steven Brault may be the pitcher of the Pittsburgh Pirates, but his theatre background takes center stage on his new album A Pitch at Broadway.

Whether it’s onstage or on the pitcher’s mound, Steven Brault is no stranger to performing. As a former vocal performance major at Regis University and current pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Brault has the unique distinction of being the only major league baseball player who has also released a musical theatre album. Titled A Pitch at Broadway, the album was released in the spring, and on June 30—the day MLB launches spring training—Brault and the members of the Broadway cast of Hadestown released new music videos of “Wait for Me” and an Anaïs Mitchell version of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

Being able to balance his love of being onstage and being on the mound was what attracted Brault to Regis in the first place. “My music director and my head coach sat down together…we basically hashed out how it would work,” Brault explains. “It was the only school that would let me play baseball and do my music major.”

While most players use the off-season to recharge and relax, Brault headed into the studio to record his first album, full of his favorite showtunes. He looked to childhood heroes, old school favorites, and the newer canon of modern musicals like Hadestown, Dear Evan Hansen, and Waitress for inspiration when constructing the track list. He started by making a list with music producer Loren Harriet of all his favorites. “We got probably 50 or 60 songs,” he says, “Just whittled it down through the season.” The last addition was “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel. “That song has a good message and a lot of impact and we got to do that with Stand up to Cancer…we had 17 cancer survivors come in and sing on the track.”

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Brault had one specific performer at the top of his list when considering guests for the album: Adam Pascal. “He was one of my favorite singers when I was younger,” Brault explained. “I loved Rent. His performance of ‘Pity the Child’ in the Chess concert is one of the best single live performances of all time, in my opinion.” He decided to reach out and ask if he wanted to collaborate, and Pascal said yes. “One of my favorite parts of recording this whole thing was getting to work with him in the studio, it was awesome.”

At first glance, theatre and baseball don’t seem to have much in common, but Brault thinks there’s more than meets the eye. “It’s the same idea,” he says. “The spotlight is on you and can you perform when the spotlight is on you? It’s a different avenue of competitive performance.” One difference Brault sees is who you’re competing against. “Onstage, you’re competing against yourself. You’re trying to do better than the night before. That one thing you messed up, you’re going to nail it tonight. All of the people in the audience are paying to watch you do something well.” Baseball is a whole different animal. “Half our games…we’re standing in front of thousands of people who actively want us to fail,” He says, referring to the fact that half of baseball’s 162 games are not played at a team’s home ballpark. “That’s a different kind of pressure.”

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When it comes to uniting baseball and theatre, Brault has done his part by bringing the Pirates’ All-Star first baseman, Josh Bell, on board to perform on the album. “We were doing a spoken word thing from Hadestown, and I was like, ‘You know who’s got a great voice? Josh. It’s super low pitched and it’s got some gravelly kind of tenor to it,” He explains. “So I texted him…he responded back immediately like, ‘Hell yeah, I would love to do that.””

Is he the only lover of showtunes in MLB? “There are some Broadway fans in baseball, they aren’t completely separate entities,” He says. “If I could get people to pen up to trying some Broadway or get some Broadway fans interested in baseball, I’ll be stoked.” On the subject of theatre-baseball collaborations, Brault is in favor: “Who doesn’t love a crossover episode, right?”

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