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The Greg Rikaart and Elizabeth Hendrickson Interview – The Young and the Restless

© JPI Studios

© JPI Studios

If there are two young stars that break the mold from your standardized soap opera acting  style, the names Greg Rikaart and Elizabeth Hendrickson of The Young and the Restless are at the very top of the list.  As Genoa City’s unconventional, at times eccentric and flawed duo, Kevin Fisher and Chloe Mitchell, they make this on-screen duo endearing to our hearts, and yet they have the ability to break them at the same time.  Not an easy feat, but the accomplished Rikaart and Hendrickson can pull all the strings making us laugh, cry, or leaving us plain surprised on what their alter-egos reactions and behavior might be in their growing complex relationship.

Greg and Liz, who are great friends in real life, translated that chemistry on screen to Kevin and Chloe becoming great buds and roommates on the Genoa City canvas. However, fans of Y&R this past week saw pivotal episodes where their relationship took a turn, when Kevin gets up the courage and admits to Chloe that he has deep feelings for her that are more than friendship.  In another of Rikaart’s moving performances, Kevin announces to Chloe, “I’m a really good guy.  And you should want to be with me the way I want to be with you.”  He goes on to tell Chloe, “You’re smart, beautiful, my best friend…”  I mean what girl wouldn’t just melt?  Well, not exactly, Chloe.  Her reaction included walking out on him!  So, what’s a guy to do?  Have sex with your ex!  Enter crazy Jana.

On-Air On-Soaps caught up with the two Y&R scene stealers to discuss Kevin and Chloe’s burgeoning romance, how it is being good friends while having to play
high emotional stakes, and to take a look back and look ahead for their characters
as the year comes to a close.  Here’s our chat with Greg and Elizabeth!

MICHAEL:

The two of you are very good friends off camera.  How did you come to get acquainted with each other, which in turn blossomed into this great dynamic between you and has manifested itself into an on-screen relationship between Kevin and Chloe?

LIZ:

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We knew about each other.  I remember meeting Greg through my friend Emily.  I remember saying “Hi” to you at a soap event in New York.  It might even have been the Emmys years ago, when I was on All My Children.

GREG:

I guess we knew of each other, but we did not become chummy until she started working on Y&R. We did a stage reading of a one act together for a friend and we worked together a little bit in that. Then, Barbara Bloom (CBS Sr. VP Daytime Programming) had been a really big fan of Liz’s.  So when she came in to read, I remember them wanting us to read together, which is kind of funny in a roundabout way, that here we are three years later and we are finally working together.  But it was a chemistry read.

LIZ:

Yes. It was a chemistry read.  I thought you were the one they were going to put me with.   I recall I had met Barbara when I first moved to L.A.  I had a meeting with her and nothing came of it ever again.  Then two years later, I was doing this stage reading with a friend, and that is when I officially met Greg.  Barbara came to see the show and a week or so later I got a phone call that she wanted to do a chemistry reading with me at the studio, and that was with Greg. And prior to that, I was driving with AMC’s Rebecca Budig (Greenlee) and Bob Guiney, and they were looking for a house. We were coming from the dog park with our dogs and Greg was standing outside. They saw a for sale sign, and they went, “Oh look! This house is for sale.” And I went, “Oh, that’s that kid from The Young and the Restless.”  They rolled down the window and went in and bought the house!  That was the other time, except times throughout the soap world, that I met Greg.  So I am kind of responsible for your house being sold, Greg!

GREG:

Well thanks, I owe you.  It’s funny. We have been kindredly connected before we were friends, so it’s kind of nice.

MICHAEL:

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Liz, what makes Greg a great friend?

LIZ:

Let’s see…Greg stealing my phone and hacking into my facebook page! (Laughs)

GREG:

I think what she means to say is…. that she loves me so much that she sub-consciously leaves her phone on the set, and then I will hack her status update and make up something… and I post it for the world to see. (Laughs)

LIZ:

From the very beginning, Greg and I have had an awesome time with each other. I think that is why you enjoy watching us on television, and thank you very much to the fans for enjoying us, but we are really comfortable with each other.  We have a very similar sense of humor and we don’t take ourselves too seriously. When I work with Greg, I tend to be more myself.  So it’s always a safe supportive place to be.  I have a lot of fun with it because I feel I can fully trust it.  And so whatever I do, I know he will always be there to catch me if I fall, or make fun of me.  And, we have an awesome banter with each other!

GREG:

That is a good way of putting it.  Liz is a great dance partner and I feel the same way around her.  The level of comfort is so easy, certainly for portraying the friendship part of the Kevin/Chloe relationship, that is a no-brainer.  So it was like, when are we going to have to start acting?  I think there was a lot of material that was scripted not too dissimilar to the way we would goof around in real life, even when the relationship starts to change a little bit.  For instance, there is something coming up next week where she does something physical to me. It was as simple as her saying to me, “Hey, this is what I am thinking of doing. What are your parameters?”  I think there is that trust and comfort.  And off-camera, I love palling around with her, whether it’s at work or hanging out outside of work.  It’s a fun relationship.

MICHAEL:

So was it your personal relationship that influenced Y&R executive producer and head writer Maria Bell and her creative team, to pair you on screen as Kevin and Chloe?  Because as you know, many times in soaps, writers will tell you that in watching the actors on set, they see something that strikes a chord for them and they run with it.

LIZ:

We were gunning for it and planted a seed a long time ago. (To Greg) Should we let him in on our little secret?  Ok, remember the holiday party…

© JPI Studios

GREG:

I will never forget.  I was at the Y&R holiday party and I said to Liz, Maria Bell is having a cocktail, so this would be a good time to be subtle and casually mention that we would be interested in working together, which Liz interpreted as walking right up to Maria and saying, “We want to work together!” (Laughs).

LIZ:

Any chance we could get, we would have fun with it.  And whether that be that I would shamelessly flirt with him in front of Maria, or make sure to hop in front of the camera so they can see us being really cute together.

GREG:

But also, my interest in working with Liz was less about that I love her as a person and more about that I think she is fantastic on the show. And from day one, I always thought she is really like a Fisher/Baldwin.

LIZ:

That is what I wanted to be when I came on the show!  All I wanted to be was a Fisher/Baldwin. (Laughs)

GREG:

You know, I think our on-screen family has all very solid actors who are all a bit off and quirky, and I think she kind of fits in perfectly.

MICHAEL:

What do the two of you think of the repositioning and retooling of Jana being the bad girl in the mix?  And, how is Emily O’Brien (Jana) to work with in this new beat of story?

GREG:

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I think it’s the most genius thing she has gotten to do. She has always been amazing, but Emily playing crazy with a lid on it, with sort of a Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction vibe, or Rebecca De Mornay in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, is so genius. And, I think it’s amazing.  I also like that it created such obstacles within our story.  I love it and I think it’s great.

LIZ:

I love it, too. This is the first chance I have gotten to work with Emily.  I have wanted to work with her for a long time, just like I was waiting to work with Greg, because I have always enjoyed their work together.  She just takes us by surprise every time.  It is so far from who she is as a person, and so when you are with Emily on stage, you are so in it. Sometimes I find myself watching her rather than being in the scene with her, which works because it’s kind of the way you look at a crazy person. You think, “Is this real or is it not?”  Sometimes it even cracks me up, and we have laughed at the end of some tapings.  It wasn’t funny when Greg and I would later watch it back, and then I don’t remember why it was so funny in the first place.

GREG:

You know what I think?  I think sometimes the laughter comes from how uncomfortable she makes you feel.  And you think, “Ok, I am going to nervously laugh now, because I wonder if Emily is legitimately crazy?”

MICHAEL:

How are we justifying this evil turn of Jana?  Was it the countless brain surgeries that have damaged her, or do you think its kind of the more extreme version of the original Jana that was a bit of whack-job?

GREG:

I think the character of Jana, and like the character of Kevin and other characters on the show, is a rather loose canon.  I don’t think she has ever been completely rational and normal.  Even before the brain tumor, she killed Carmen Mesta… (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

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Greg, Kevin is so great with Chloe’s little girl Delia, and he has also come to the aid and defense of Daisy, wanting to make sure her baby is loved and has a father.  Does Kevin want to be a dad?  Why does he want to help Daisy so bad, after all the things she has done to his loved ones?

GREG:

I don’t know he necessarily wants be a dad just yet, but he wants to sort of protect that innocence that he sees in Daisy’s baby, and protect her from the horror that he and Ryder and Daisy went through. I think that is more motivated about him wanting to protect her then him wanting to raise a kid.  Kevin loves Delia, too.

MICHAEL:

This past week we saw some game-changing moments in the relationship between Kevin and Chloe, especially, when Kevin bares his soul and feelings to Chloe.  I feel bad for Kevin!

LIZ:

I felt so bad for Kevin.

GREG:

I do remember Liz telling me that she did feel bad for me.

LIZ:

© JPI Studios

I felt horrible almost in the way that I played it.

GREG:

It came out of that sort of build of emotions that have been happening within him, that whether he realized it or not, has been going on for a long time already.  It all came to a head when he needed to step up in some way with the whole incident with Child Protective Services. Then he really lays into Jana after that and accuses her of masterminding that, and in the midst of that, getting shot down with Chloe when she says something while Billy is there that sort of diminishes their relationship.  I think that made something in him snap and he thought, “Alright, I can’t keep this to myself anymore.”   I think at that moment he had no choice.  He thought either I am going to go crazy, or I am just going to tell her how I feel.

MICHAEL:

Liz, so Chloe really had no clue that Kevin could possibly have deep romantic feelings for her? How did you decide to play those beats of the story that just aired?

LIZ:

I think she had been through so much with guys, and even if she had feelings for Kevin, it was so deep down that it wasn’t even something she was willing to recognize.  I think that what happened between her two great loves had damaged her so much, that I don’t think she was willing to accept the fact that this is possibly what love could be like.  Having it come from a friendship and think, why would you ruin something that is so great? Anything with Chloe that started on the right foot got ruined.  Even Chance started on the right foot and got ruined. With Kevin, that is something you keep in a safe place and it’s not even something you go near because, God forbid, if I lost that person, I would have nothing.  And so, she finally finds someone she can trust and be with, and it’s not how she associates love, or how she would even think about it.  I think that begins to change the minute she sees him with someone else, and it’s like daggers to the heart.  I am trying to play the fine line because I know Chloe is getting jealous of Jana.  She was originally thinking, “Well, she is not good enough for you.”  But she wasn’t taking it as, “Well, I want to be that girl.”  I think until she sees him with someone else, it is then she realizes it is a different feeling.  I mean your heart should not sink into your stomach if you walk in and see a guy with another girl.  If she didn’t have feelings for him, she would have been able to walk in and go, “Eww! That’s disgusting. I just saw my best friend half-naked.”  And not be repulsed by the fact that his tongue is down her throat.  I think just the thought of her having to disappoint her daughter again and have another man come in and out of her life is a major issue for her. Chloe thought Kevin was there with her and Delia for a reason.  So she thinks we are going to keep Kevin in that place because this is safe. I think it appears to be almost too good to be true. When Kevin shows her the Christmas photos, it is the life that she pictures, but I just don’t think she really knows how to get it and hold on to it. I think she gets that from the last screw-up she had with Ronan.  I don’t think Chloe thinks she deserves to be treated well.

© JPI Studios

MICHAEL:

By the way, I like the Chloe/Kevin Christmas card! So cute!

GREG:

(Laughs)  I was not at the Y&R Christmas Party, but I heard they had that picture blown up.

LIZ:

They did?

MICHAEL:

Greg, be honest, was it revenge sex for Kevin with Jana? (Laughs)

GREG:

Yeah, basically. (Laughs)  The thing is, no matter what Jana has put Kevin through, he doesn’t hate her, and certainly, he’s not trying to cause her any grief.  It was totally revenge sex.  Kevin was in a pretty vulnerable place where he was feeling pretty bad about himself, and here Jana comes along and she feels for him the way he wishes Chloe did.

MICHAEL:

Why are you able to tap into Kevin’s vulnerability so well?

GREG:

I think for me, it’s not trying to manipulate the audience, but saying he is doing some bad stuff.  Having sex with a woman he has no interest in, is one of them.  If you do that it’s too black and white, and he looks like an asshole.  So you say, this is what he is going to do, so how do I make this real for me?  He is really hurt.  I think showing vulnerability gets me through the tough stuff that comes his way sometimes, where it’s like me as an ethical person might judge Kevin’s motives.

© JPI Studios

MICHAEL:

Liz, looking back as 2010 comes to a close, what was your favorite Chloe moment?

LIZ:

This has been the most fun material I have gotten to play since when I first started on Y&R.  That was fun when I was kind of being bitchy, manipulative, and taking advantage of people. The first thing that came to mind when you asked, is anytime I get to play a little comedy.  I can’t just pick one.  I just know this is the most comfortable I have been since being on the show and being able to do everything I wanted to do in daytime.  I have been able to explore them over the last few months, and that is just having those moments and just letting things pop up and happen. On the flipside as my other favorite Chloe moment, would be the reveal of Chance cheating on her. That for me was the first time I was able to connect and feel the pain of being heartbroken.  It was actually the most heartbreaking thing for me to let myself go there.

MICHAEL:

Greg, your turn. What was your favorite Kevin moment of 2010?

GREG:

One thing that comes to mind is, whatever I am getting to do, I always like getting a break from that.  So, if I have been in a heavy storyline, it’s always nice to have a comedic break or vice versa. That was what was nice about the scenes that aired this week.  Kevin and Chloe’s relationship for the last few months has been light, fresh and fun. I think my favorite moment was our first real scenes together. That is when Kevin gets really drunk at the bar and they are commiserating and he is complaining about Jana and Ryder, and it was right at the same time that Chloe was dealing with her Chance issues.  I remember those being inherently funny because Kevin was getting really drunk, but there were serious moments, too.  It was the first time Liz and I got to play around together. And I think there were scenes where Kevin walks in on Jana and Ryder at the Athletic Club.  I think while he had been suspicious and confused by her attachment to Ryder, I think that was the moment where she tells him where her priorities lie, and it was devastating for Kevin, and are some my favorite scenes, too.

© JPI Studios

LIZ:

Wait… that just took me back to when we had those first scenes together, because I am just so proud of us for that!  We used to not be able to look at each other, because we would break out in laughter and non-stop giggles.  We were getting really nervous on set, and we thought, what are we going to do?  Even those scenes Greg is talking about that he did such an excellent job with.  I think the first time we did it, I laughed at him and we had to do the scene over again.  Greg, we have come so far!  (Laughs)

GREG:

Yeah, I know.  It was like if we were even in a group scene and I looked at her and she looked at me, we would giggle.  Liz still makes me laugh all the time and Emily, too.  I have gotten quite giggly of late on set. I am sure I am going to get a talking to soon.  I have been having a lot of fun lately with Liz; it’s not the worst thing. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

I assume you may have shared a romantic kiss on-screen, or that it may be coming at some point soon.  Is there any trepidation knowing that you’re dear friends in real life and now the time has come where you have to, or had to, have your lips locked?  Any apprehension about it?

GREG:

No, not for me.

LIZ:

You know, it’s really funny because I thought I was going to, after I got what I asked for! All of a sudden when the time was near it was, “Oh, wait. Ok. Hmmm.” And the minute it happened, Greg went, “You’re a good kisser,” and I went, “So are you!”  And you know what it totally goes back to, is the whole trust safety thing. The fact that I know that if there was ever a time I did something and I looked at him and I was not comfortable with something, I know he would go, “Ok. We will never do that ever again.”

MICHAEL:

So would you say, Liz, that Greg rates as a one of the best kissers of all your Y&R leading men?

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LIZ:

Definitely!

GREG:

I would tease her though, and say, “I am going to stick my tongue as far down your throat as I can! (Laughs)

LIZ:

I know! (Laughs)

GREG:

I would be reviewing the scenes we have to do the night before taping, and I will send Liz a text and say, “Get ready!”

MICHAEL:

As had been announced in the soap magazines for this coming week, Jana is going to try to capitalize on an invitation to Christmas dinner at Katherine’s house.  That is bound to be an uncomfortable situation for Chloe and Kevin.  As we head into the holidays, can we expect any happiness, or more sadness and conflicted feelings, for your on-screen alter-egos?

GREG:

Kevin and Chloe’s Christmas and New Year’s will be sort of affected by what you just saw happen on air this past week.  I think things go from bad to worse.

MICHAEL:

Are the two of you checking out the message boards and getting fan reaction and feedback to see if the fans want Kevin and Chloe as a “love” couple, or if they want them to just stay best friends?

LIZ:

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We are.  Look, I never pay attention to the bad press, because it makes me upset.  I have definitely paid attention and heard people at the studio say, “I like you two together.” And the fact that someone even had an opinion about it is good enough for me.  If you like it or don’t like it, that means you’re involved.  And if they are involved, that means we have you thinking about something and you are kind of waiting to see what happens next.

GREG:

The stuff I have seen and heard is mixed.  I think fans like us as friends, but I don’t know if everyone is sold on wanting us to be anything more.  If I have something big that happens in a storyline, and if and when I have time, I will go and see what the fan reaction is.  I don’t look to see if they say it’s good or bad.  I just look to see if they are talking about it. You are better off having people disagree and chatting about it versus people who don’t really care.

LIZ:

It’s the same thing of, if you hate me, that’s good.  Love to hate me; at least you’re having an opinion about something.

GREG:

The worse thing to be on a soap is boring, and I always say that. With thirty some actors on our show, it’s one of the most challenging part of the job, and that is figuring out what your niche is supposed to be, and what am I going to do that nobody else is doing. That is the other thing I like about our relationship.  There is that quirkiness factor …

LIZ:

There are no other characters on our show that are like us.

GREG:

Sometimes I wonder what came first, the chicken or the egg?  Did they have the idea to do awkward family photos for Christmas first?  Or was it, what are we going to do for Kevin and Chloe?  I think no matter what, when the idea came up of who is going to do the awkward photo, the powers-that-be thought, “Oh yeah, Kevin and Chloe.”  No one else fits that other than us.

MICHAEL:

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Do you think Kevin and Chloe could still be friends, if they embarked on a romance and it fell apart?

GREG:

It’s tricky, because you build up to this point and the whole thing is now, will they or won’t they?  My ideal situation for us would be if we can keep some sort of obstacle in our way for as long as we can, because who wants to be a happy couple?

LIZ:

I don’t want to be a happy couple! (Laughs)  I love the fact of Kevin still having a pull towards Jana. There is some sort of push and pull going on with them. I hope this goes on all year round, and we got to keep things moving, or we all are going to get boring.

GREG:

Kevin wants to get Chloe in the sack a couple of times, but living happily ever after?  I am sure Kevin would like that, but I would not like that.

MICHAEL:

In closing, Greg, what is your New Year’s wish for Kevin? What would you like to see him get involved with in 2011?

GREG:

What I like most about Kevin is the push/pull that happens in his brain, where he is like, “I want to be a better person. I want to be a good guy.”  Then it’s really easy for him to get lured into some sort of underhanded stuff.  I would like to see more of that in the New Year, and for him to continue to battle himself.  I would like to see him find some luck in love, but not too much.  And, I would love to see more integration of the fun family stuff as was in the past with Judith Chapman (Gloria) and Ted Shackelford (Jeffrey) and the Fisher/Baldwin gang.

© JPI Studios

MICHAEL:

Liz, what is your New Year’s wish for Chloe?

LIZ:

I would love to see Chloe get back to her passion of styling and fashion, and start to take over some jobs (Laughs).  I want to take someone down and replace someone, and go toe to toe with a really strong female.

GREG:

On that note, I would like to have Kevin and Chloe become allies on a caper to take somebody down… now that sounds like fun for the New Year!

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Sunshine
Sunshine

I Absolutely loved this interview! EH and GR work so well together and they have a great relationship! I don’t think either one of them have had better chemistry with someone than they do with each other! I hope to see them as a couple on Y&R because like GR said they both play Fishers really well. They are Perfect for each other! Love, love, love them! Chloe & Kevin FTW!!!

Judy
Judy

What a great interview! At this point I see them still more as friends but I’m more open to it becoming more after reading this. I guess more than anything I am afraid of having their friendship end if the romance doesn’t work and that I would miss. I’m definitely willing to give it a shot. I don’t want it all hearts and roses but rather some effort to make it work. I do think there is potential there!

Thanks for another great interview!

Robin S.
Robin S.

Great interview, Michael! Love the show and their characters. Great questions. The interview didn’t feel like the staged ones one reads in magazines. This felt like a truly intimate conversation between three friends.
I love their take on their character’s relationships with themselves and with each other. GREAT JOB!!!!!!

Yvonne G.
Yvonne G.

I absolutely love them together! Great interview. Love them as friends and have no doubt I will love them even more as a romantic couple. I hope we get to see that soon on the show.

Doe
Doe

loved the interview, Michael. These are two very fine actors who got lucky with their chemistry. They obviously play off each other extremely well. I enjoy what is happening within this triangle with Jana, Chloe and Kevin. Emily is doing a very fine job as well with all her connivings. I don’t want Kevin to go back to Jana. She is a loose canon!

Stephanie
Stephanie

This interview was amazing!! Pure gold!!

Fan
Fan

I FLOVE these two, That was a great interview. I am a huge Kevin/Chloe shipper, If the right kinda chem is between two characters/actos, I love soap romances that start as friend and lead to more. The only thing I wouldnt want is if they were to end, they stop being friends and having scenes together. I think its their fear too. They want their characters to hook up, but are afraid if they get torn apart they wont get to work together anymore. Sidenote: Jana freaks the hell outta me!!

semaj
semaj

love chloe and kevin pairing

Y&R Fan
Y&R Fan

I absolutely LOVE the pairing of Chloe & Kevin. The chemistry between Elizabeth and Greg is amazing. I have become such a fan that I literally fast forward to their scenes. Now this is the type of love story daytime needs. I FLOVE them so much! Chloe and Kevin have become my #1 favorite daytime couple to watch. Kudos to the writers.

Y&R Fan
Y&R Fan

I’ve said this numerous times and it’s been reaffirmed in this interview. There’s no two characters like Kevin and Chloe on any soap let alone theirs. Put the two together and call it a day. I’m a fan…a big fan.

Carrie
Carrie

I loved the scene when where Jana was “hot to trot”, and keeps asking Kevin for sex…When he said he was having “Gender Confusion” issues, it was laugh out loud funny, and a great excuse.
Also, the scenes in the theater with Jana and Kevin…Chloe throwing popcorn from the back rows..I loved them.
We Need A Little Humor…Right This Very Minute…
Bravo!

Peyton
Peyton

Like their friendship, but they don’t really work in a romantic sense at ALL! They are more like Carly/Jason. Chloe comes across really insecure and whiny with him.

Chloe Fan
Chloe Fan

Chloe and Kevin are awesome friends but there is no romantic chemistry at all. (IMO) Kevin is Chloe’s worst pairing by far! Chloe worked best with Ronan, I’m bitter that they dropped them like a hot potato! Now talk about passion and chemistry and a great duo! Kevin and Chloe just don’t do it for me as a couple, but great interview! Love Chloe and Liz Hendrickson!

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Alum Kevin Spirtas Chats On His Heart-Tugging Series ‘After Forever’ & Love and Life In Your 50s

Filling the void in the digital drama series arena, the eight episodes first season of After Forever (available on Amazon), tackles the journey of a two middle-aged gay men in their 50’s in a deep romantic relationship, and looks at it through its various stages of love, loss, and moving on with one’s life when suddenly your world is turned upside down, when one of them has died.

While the LGBT community has seen other love-centric and dramatic web series, none have really taken a deep dive into the difficulties of starting anew in your 50’s or even older.  Leave it to former Days of our Lives alum and Broadway producer, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley), along with another DAYS alum, writer, Michael Slade, and the two put their shared experiences, and dramatic ideas into this emotional series, that is not limited to anyone who is gay, but touches on the universal themes that anyone may have, or will experience, at one time in their lives.

Spirtas, brought along with him none some notables for his passion project.  First, none other than former Prospect Park One Life to Live EP, Jennifer Pepperman, to bring his vision to life, and some amazing co-stars: Mitchell Anderson (Ex-Party Of Five), MIchael Urie (Ugly Betty), Cady Huffman (Ex-OLTL), Anita Gillette, Colleen Zenk (Ex-Barbara, ATWT) to  name just a few.

While the series bowed a little over a month ago, if you haven’t taken a look, check out our interview with Spirtas for some juicy insight into the making of and the construct of, After Forever.  Following that, check out the teaser for the series, and the video for the theme song, “My Forever” by Lio Nicol which becomes available tomorrow June 4th on Amazon and iTunes.

What was the genesis of the idea for the series?

Photo Credit/JPI Studios

KEVIN:  Patrika Darbo, came to New York close to 7 years ago. She had called me ahead of time, and said, “I was asked to present at the ISA Awards, and you’re coming with me.”  She was getting very involved in the world of the web series. I looked at this amazing presentation of content that was being shown at the ISA’s.  I was blown away. It was better than half the stuff on TV, theater, or film. At that point, I made a mad rush for a gentleman by the name of Sebastian La Cause.  Sebastian had won several awards that night and his material was so well presented, and beautifully shot, and his acting was very unique.

Sebastian La Cause was the star of the web series Hustling, right?

KEVIN:  Yes, it was Hustling, the first season.  I went up to him and I said, “I’m Kevin Spirtas. I’m an actor, I did a soap …”  He goes, “Kevin, I know who you are.” I was starstruck, and impressed, and inspired, because he is exactly the kind of person I want to work with.  He is talented, and creative and I want to work with those kind of people. I said to him, “If you do a second season, I’d love to be considered for anything you might be doing.”  Wouldn’t you know? He wrote me in. I fell in love with the story. I was very clear to me, that you have to start creating for yourself, because creating your own content in this industry now is king.  The third season of Hustling then crossed me over to appearing in Winterthorne.  That was also the first year that NATAS opened up the judging to the digital world.  I got nominated for an Emmy. It inspired me to start thinking about, ‘What do I know?  What do I have in my life that I feel is worth sharing and putting out there to help heal, or inspire?’  I had been producing in New York City for 3 years at this point.

Photo Credit/JPI Studios

It becomes every performer’s concern, as they get older, that they can still be considered for the roles they would like to play.  Sometimes, actors can grow into the types of roles, and sometimes they’ve expired past those types of roles. Was creating After Forever also a way to re-enter being part of the conversation?

KEVIN:  Well, I was hoping to write something for myself … because I just didn’t see the roles coming toward me anymore.  My name wasn’t on them as I imagined them or had seen them in the past. I was worried about that. I thought, “If I have a chance to keep working, I’ve got to keep current.”

And somehow, you and Michael Slade ran into each other, and thus, a collaboration began that would eventually turn into After Forever?

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  Then, I ran into Michael Slade at a gym… I had never met him before, he was a writer on Days as I was leaving the show.  And I remember saying to myself, “wouldn’t it be great to work with somebody, and see what kind of story we could come up with?”  Unbeknownst to me, Michael, at that particular time in his life, was working on the very same type of story and idea about what it’s like to be who he is, at his age, where he’s at, and what he knows.  I pitched him this idea: “I think there’s some really funny ideas I could express to the world about my experience as a single gay man at this point.” He said, “Call me.” In short, he was living life as a single gay man, and I was living life as a single gay man, and that’s how After Forever was born.  Michael had the experience of losing his long-time partner of 25 years.  There’s a part in the story where Brian and Jason are going along and they have everything in their life that they could possibly want, and then they don’t, because Jason is diagnosed with cancer and it takes him away.

Do we see Jason die in this?

KEVIN:  You just might! … It’s how we incorporated him in the story…

Courtesy/AfterForever

After Forever bounces back and forth in time, obviously, that was part of the unique structure of the storytelling?

KEVIN:  It does do that.  It tells the story through a lot of present, and a lot of flashbacks.  There is also the present with Brian, and his memory of Jason. As Brian is going through the next chapter of his life as a single man, he has to look at his life and learn how to continue to love even though the person’s not there.  When someone dies, the love doesn’t die, the relationship doesn’t die, it keeps growing on a certain level. So, if he turns around, and he sees him, is it real? Is it him working it out in his own mind? It’s a tool to tell more story …

Tell me about casting Mitchell Anderson?  He had retired and moved to Atlanta, and he ends up playing the love of Brian’s life.

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  When Michael and I were writing, we threw out, “Who do you think would play this part?”  One day, I just dropped the name “Mitchell Anderson” I said, “I just see him as Jason.” Michael said to me, “Kevin, he’s retired.”  I just knew Mitchell and I had great history in the business. We started off as actors together in class. He went one direction, I went another, then he left the business, but I just felt there was something about his persona – not to mention his talent – his unique humor, his sensibility, and style, so I said, “I think we should ask him.”  We did. Mitchell said, “Okay, Kevin. Let me read the script.” He called back immediately after receiving it, and said, “I would love to do this!” I have not stopped thanking him every day. He’s so good in it.

The main character of Brian goes on this journey: he meets other guys, some appear younger than others! (Laughs)

KEVIN:  It’s a year after Jason is gone, Brian is trying to settle into his new life, but he’s guilty that his partner has died.  He has sadness, grief, and so much love for Jason that he’s having trouble moving forward, and everyone is trying to push him forward.  Brian is not necessarily ready, but sometimes his body is ready, while emotionally, he’s not. It’s how we deal with all that navigation of seeing good-looking guys.  He meets a guy in the middle of the series, and it starts to open up the doors. That’s the beauty of what happens when he starts to let himself open up to the possibilities.  There are some great rollercoaster moments that you’ll see.

Would you do another season of After Forever?

KEVIN:  Oh, my God!  Michael and I have already started to script out seasons 2 and 3.

Courtesy/AfterForever

Middle-aged gay men do have it rough in the relationship department, if they’re not already partnered up by this point in their life.  Younger guys think they’re over the hill, older guys aren’t necessarily interested either, and unfortunately, the LGBTQ community is unforgiving to community if you’re not young and pretty, and not in your 20s or 30s. There aren’t a lot of LGBT-oriented shows out there like this.  On that level, I think the concept of the show is an important story to tell.

KEVIN:  We were absolutely committed to writing not just another gay story.  We’ve seen those. I think the beauty of After Forever is that it’s not just a gay story- even though it’s told through two gay men… but, it’s a story about love … it’s a story about loss.  Everyone is going to have to deal with this in their life.

Courtesy/AfterForever

Dealing with loss is part of the circle of life, whether it’s a parent, a child, a lover, a friend, or your longtime partner. Many in the LGBT community succumbed to AIDS in the ‘80s and ‘90s, which was a pivotal moment in the gay movement.

KEVIN:  We lost half of our community.  We lost half of our brothers. To jump back to that history with Mitchell, he and I had so many mutual friends who aren’t here anymore.  We would look at the scene that was at hand, take a breath, look at each other, and they’d say “action” and we’d step into these people. Yes, it’s gay themed, because it’s told by two leading male characters who are gay.  But, I have heard more people in the last two months since this has come out, who have not only stopped and said, “Thank you for writing such a wonderful story about love and loss, and new beginnings, but also, what it’s like to have to confront that loss.” They also went on to say, “For so many years, gay people have had to watch the heterosexual world. People are trying to fit themselves into our world now, into our story, and how they would feel navigating it.”

Michael Urie is in it too? And you have some pretty accomplished people in your cast.  

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  Yes, there’s Michael Urie, Cady Huffman who sings in one of the episodes.  Tere is a scene in episode 3 that it still floors me, I can’t watch it without losing it.  Then, there’s Anita Gillette, Lenny Wolpe, David Dean Bottrell. Everyone is perfect, and everyone was able to show up, and everyone delivered a million percent.

What’s the response you’ve been getting from people who have watched After Forever?  You mentioned it’s been very positive.  

KEVIN:  Everyone has been touched.  The majority who have seen this, are just moved to tears and full of excitement.

I saw that Jennifer Pepperman, ex-executive producer of One Life to Live, directed your series.  What was it like working with Jen?

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  We had a lot of people who we could have pulled from.  Jennifer came up in conversation, because she had sent Michael an invitation to go see her new short film that she had done with Austin Peck (Ex-Austin, Days) and his wife, Teri Conn (Ex-Katie, ATWT).  I said, “Maybe if I go see the show and I like it, I can introduced myself to Jennifer.”  I called him right after and I said, “If we don’t get her, we’re crazy!” She’s so good. What she did is perfection.  We shot the whole thing like a movie. It was shot in 12 days. She knew everything she wanted to do and it shows in the edit.  And, this extraordinarily, talented girl named Colleen Kwok, who was the director of photography. She’s the real thing. She got it.  She got the style we were going for immediately.

So, we want to tell people to binge watch the series on Amazon.

KEVIN:  Binge it, or make it last for 15 days…

How many hankies will I need for this? 10? 5?

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  I say Kleenex is not included … Anybody who has ever loved, anybody who has ever lost, must see this show, because it unifies all of us, it shows us that we are the same.  It shows us that we still have love in our lives, regardless of if that person is gone, the relationship never ends, it never dies. That’s what people are getting from this.  That’s what people are taking away from it. You and I were raised with the symbols of a straight world and how we had to fit into that certain way of life. That’s changed now.  We have Will & Grace … we have RuPaul … all these great things that are illustrating our diversity.  Now, people are going, “it’s just a story being told.”

What was Mitchell’s reaction when he saw the final product?

KEVIN:  We saw it together…We just sat there and cried.  It’s hard. Especially, the first two episodes and the last two episodes.  We served it up, Michael, we served it up!

Courtesy/AfterForever

I think you spoke to a greater issue, as you move through this career, you have to remain relevant as things change.  So, you’ve dipped yourself into this pool and now you can do more.

KEVIN:  I hope so.  You and I talked about this along time ago, when I first started on Days Of Our Lives, it was still a different world.

It was so different back then.  Actors couldn’t be out. There was still that stigma that if the audience at home knew they were gay, they wouldn’t buy into what they were portraying.

KEVIN:  That’s where I kind of worked it out, because I didn’t pretend not to be me, I just wasn’t very open about everything in my life.  Not that I still am. There’s certain things that I don’t talk about, because it’s not relevant, or it’s no one’s business.

So, do you get the obligatory question, “What’s a guy like you doing being single”? (Laughs)

KEVIN:  Michael said to me one day, “How come a guy like you is single?”  I made a joke out of it and said, “Have you seen me eat? Come on!”

So, intrigued to check out After Forever? What do you think about its central theme looking at what happens when one loses their partner at middle-age and more?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

GH’s Laura Wright and Wes Ramsey Talk Their Love Connection & The Demands Of Daytime

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

After presenting for the first time together, at the 45th Annual Daytime Emmys since they’ve been a couple, Laura Wright (Carly) and Wes Ramsey (Peter aka Henrik) of General Hospital have certainly been in the throes of a romantic, fun, and cherished relationship. The two former stars of Guiding Light reconnected last year at Emmy time. Now, sharing their over one year anniversary, Michael Fairman TV caught up with Laura and Wes to get some insight into what makes their relationship work amidst the hustle and bustle, and pace of both being on a network television daytime drama series, and with the pressures of Hollywood where often relationships between two actors seem to start hot and heavy but then fizzle out.

If you caught this week’s GH, you witnessed that the town of Port Charles has found out that Peter is the notorious Cesar Faison’s son, and the ramifications that will be felt for weeks and months and potentially years to come. Meanwhile, Carly is in all sorts of trouble, thanks to naughty Nelle (Chloe Lanier). Nelle is making Carly look awfully unstable and what happens next could change Carly’s life forever.

So, what do these two lovebirds have to say about their relationship and their passion for working on the soaps? Check out what they had to share below. 

Wes, you had met Laura originally years ago on Guiding Light.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Yes, 15 years ago in New York.

And what did you think of her then?

Wes: Well, I was smitten, but I had to keep it to myself.

You had to keep it under wraps, huh?

Wes: Yep!

Laura: I was married then.

Wes: She was pregnant with her second child.

Laura: And he’s a good Kentucky boy.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Uh-huh! But we would run lines in the green room and I would try very hard to make sure she didn’t catch me staring at her… too often. But we laughed, and had great conversation.

Laura: I would always say, “Wes, will you run lines with me?,” because I would want to run my lines.

Wes: We never had story together, but she always knew I was game to hang out with her for a moment.

It’s good when you’re in a relationship with someone and you can laugh with them. You seem to be able to do that a lot!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Laura: Oh, gosh. I think that’s all we do.

Wes: Yes, yes, yes, yes…

Laura: Like, we belly laugh. It gets to the point where people would think we were ridiculous. We’ll say things and just think it’s the funniest thing ever and people would be like, “You guys have a problem …” and we’re like, “Yeah.” (Laughs)

Laura, and then he comes back into your life years later…

Wes: That’s right, it was Emmy weekend 2017.

Laura: I totally was not expecting it at all. Even when I gave him my number I walked away going “huh…”

You mean you thought he wouldn’t call?

Laura: No, I didn’t feel that… because he hit on me hard. He’ll tell you that.

Wes: I still am hitting on her.

Laura: I remember I walked away quick after he got my number. I was like, “Oh, my God … I gotta go.”

Courtesy/Instagram

Wes: There was an assertiveness on my part that was for sure 15 years in the making. I did not expect to run into her. I also did not expect for her to tell me that she was recently single. In that split second, it was one of those, “stop the presses!” moments. Like, you need to give me your number, I’m taking you to dinner.

Laura: I go, “Oh, be quiet! Are you like, 32, because I can’t do that.” (Laughs)

Wes: And I said, “Far from it.”

Laura: He’s like, “I’m getting ready to be 40.” And I’m like, “I can do that!”

Then, on top of all of this, Wes, you land a primo role on General Hospital. That of Henrik aka Peter, Cesar Faison’s son.

Photo Credit: Courtesy/ABC

Wes: Yes, a dream come true.

Laura: I’m going to jump in and say it’s a role that he worked all on his own for. He had to screen test against 8 plus guys, 3 different auditions, 2 different days.

Wes: That’s true.

Laura: I can’t say strong enough that the best actor got the role. Meaning, Wesley is so talented and has the ability to give this character the depth, and emotion, and layers that it needs to tell the story that needs to be told. I just think he’s incredible.

So, did you know from the get-go who you were going to be playing?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: I did not.

Laura: I did! (Laughs)

Wes: I’m thrilled that the writers have been giving me such incredible material to dive into.   Each month that goes by, it becomes more and more complex, and more and more layered and intense. I love the depth… I love the conflicts… I love the humanity… I love the desperation… I love the psychology behind it. It’s a very interesting story and a great journey to tell.

Laura: I was getting ready to say, where you mentally have to go to be the son of Faison and Anna Devane (Finola Hughes)! To blend that together is amazing. It’s incredible to watch.

You used to run lines together on Guiding Light. Do you run lines together now on GH? It’s like a full circle moment.

Laura: We do, and we carpool.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Something we were trying to manifest together. We thought it would be a lot of fun to work together one day.

Laura: The last week we worked, we didn’t. He worked all afternoon. I worked all morning. I was like, “Are they doing this on purpose?” I was so mad! I was like, “Why are you in the afternoon everyday?” (Laughs)

Wes: She lost her chauffeur. (Laughs)

Laura: I did! He always drives us to work. I also love when we both have afternoon calls, because we love having mornings together. So, I didn’t get my morning, nor did I have my chauffeur!

So, two actors can have a good relationship? You see so many Hollywood relationships with actors and they go bust. But that’s not always the case …

Wes: Oh, my God, yes.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Laura: I’m going to say this; I think I can see it being more difficult for daytime actors, because the work we do is so intense. I know the weeks he’s getting ready to go into, and I’m getting ready to go into. Where we go emotionally and psychologically to tell these stories, on the level that we tell them, as quick as we tell them, you kind of have to become really in a headspace. The fact that we can …

Wes: … the long hours …

Laura: Yes, and exhaustion! You really have to go, “Wow! It’s not about me right now. It’s about us individually as actors.” Thank God, we know the workload. I know what he’s getting ready to go through.

Wes: I have always had so much respect for Laura’s work. On Guiding Light, I’ve always been in awe of what she’s capable of doing. So, the level of respect is obviously there. But also, the understanding whatever it is that you need from a personal assistant in one moment… or a life partner in another moment … or a best friend in moment … or whatever it is in order to get through the day-to-day and the week-to-week, so we can do what we love to do. We know we’re very lucky to have the opportunity to do what we love.

Courtesy/welcometolaurasworld Instagram

Laura was such a great co-host on my Soap Nation Live! Daytime Emmy Nomination Specials, in particular when she talks about acting. It’s so rewarding to hear the other actors who are guests on the show listening to what Laura has to say about her craft and respecting the hell out of her.

Wes: Without a doubt. You can’t watch her work and not be in awe. It speaks for itself.

Laura: I just love the journey of going to the places that we go; to bleed for it.

Wes: Leave it all out on the floor.

Laura: I know that process. So, when I see another actor that’s bleeding, I just bow to them, because I know what it takes to go there. I know the work that Wesley does. When I see that he’s spent at the end of the day, I’m like, “Babe, I so get it.” So, I can see where it could be really difficult for people that haven’t been there, because it’s a lot of work and you’re spent. It’s hard! For us, that works.

What do you think of Laura and Wes’ love connection? What do you think of the latest developments for GH’s Carly and Henrik? Comment below.

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Interviews

EXCLUSIVE: 45th Annual Daytime Emmys Winners & Backstage Video Interviews!

Photo : MF Soaps Inc

The 45th Annual Daytime Emmys are in the record books.  And as previously reported, it was a big night for NBC’s Days of our Lives taking Outstanding Drama Series, Writing and Directing in a Drama Series Awards, plus top acting nods to James Reynolds (Abe) and Greg Vaughan (Eric).

Behind the scenes while the ceremony continued on-stage, and as the night’s big winners and several presenters were whisked away backstage following their victory, they took to the Winner’s Walk and chatted with Michael Fairman who got their reactions to winning the gold, or presenting important moments of the night during the live-stream broadcast.

From DAYS Deidre Hall (Marlena), Dr. Oz, The Ladies of The Talk, and GH’Chris Van Etten to DAYS head scribe Ron Carlivati, to Y&R’s actress winners: Eileen Davidson (Ashley) and Camryn Grimes (Mariah), and GH’s Chloe Lanier (Nelle, Vernee Watson (Stella) and more now you can watch the complete backstage series of conversations on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.  Make sure to “subscribe” for these and more celebrity interviews.

After the jump, check out some of the winners and backstage interviews with Michael.  You can also go directly to the video you are looking to view, by clicking on the blue hyperlink on the interviewees name. (more…)

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Video du Jour

This week, Nick lost temporary custody of Christian leading to a defiant and emotional turn by Joshua Morrow (Nick) as he has to say farewell to the little boy he has come to love as his own son, and give him to his father, Victor, who wanted and was granted custody of the child. Watch the hankie-inducing moment! Leave A Comment

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Joshua Morrow as Nick

The Young and the Restless

Airdate: 6-14-2018

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