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35TH ANNUAL DAYTIME EMMY NOMINEE ROUND-UP

By Michael Fairman

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Listen to the audio:

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TV SOAP:
What was your initial thought when you heard you were nominated?

YOUNGER ACTRESS NOMINEE
EMILY O’BRIEN (Jana, “Y&R”):
I had so many thoughts, but I remember saying audibly, “No way, no way no way.”  I was stunned and so excited!

SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEE
TRACEY E. BREGMAN (Lauren, “Y&R”):
I was watching the east coast feed of “The View” and they announced four people in my category and stopped.  When they stopped at four, I went, “Oh my God!  Are there only four nominees this year?”  And then Ali Sweeney (Sami,”DAYS”) announced there was another one, and then Bryan Dattilo (Lucas, “DAYS”) misread my name.  So, what I did when I called Peter Bergman to congratulate him, I said, “I am now so excited to be part of the Bergman family!”  He was so hysterical, and when he called me back he went, “Tracey Bergman, this is Peter Bregman calling!”  So, we had this whole thing going all day long on Emmy day.

YOUNGER ACTRESS NOMINEE
RACHEL MELVIN (Chelsea, “DAYS”):
My reaction to it was when my mom called me.  We had relatives on the east coast who had seen the east coast feed of “The View”.   It was my grandmother’s birthday and they had called to wish her happy birthday.  And they said, “Tell Rachel congratulations.”  Then they called to tell me while I was on my way to work, and I was shocked.  I reacted in a very unpredictable manner, which was that I was very shocked and in awe of it all.  Now it’s sitting with me and it’s weird, in a great way.

YOUNGER ACTRESS NOMINEE
VAIL BLOOM (Heather, “Y&R”):
I went, “Holy Moly!”  I was surprised and thankful, and it’s really lovely to be recognized by your peers.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEE:
JUDI EVANS (EX-Bonnie and Adrienne, “DAYS”):
I thought someone was mistaken.  I thought it must be somebody else’s name that was called.  I was in denial and shocked!  I never thought I would hear my name again!
(She laughs)

YOUNGER ACTOR NOMINEE:
DARIN BROOKS (Max, “DAYS”):
It was actually interesting when I first found out I was nominated.  I was totally out of it because it was so early in the morning in LA when they were announced.  I was like, “What time is it?”  My initial reaction was confused and still being half asleep.  It was really cool because I was hanging out all day with Tracey Bregman from “Y&R”.  She and I are in the same acting class.  That day we were going to rehearse in the midst of my having to be at “DAYS”, so we were hanging out and text each other all morning.  We spent the day together hearing, “Congratulations!” from people.  I called Rachel Melvin when I found out.  I called her and all we wanted was a nomination.  For us to be recognized for our work is just fantastic for us.

LEAD ACTRESS NOMINEE:
MICHELLE STAFFORD (Phyllis, “Y&R):
I was on my computer and Stephanie Sloane, from Soap Opera Digest, sent me an email, “Congrats.”  Then I went downstairs to my phone and got a message from Carolyn Hinsey of Soap Opera Weekly that said, “Michelle Stafford, congratulations, you got nominated!”   I am just honored.   It’s really great.  That’s really the win, because you have been chosen out of this huge group of people.

LEAD ACTOR NOMINEE:
THAAO PENGHLIS (Tony, “DAYS”):
I was thrilled, pleasantly surprised, honored, and excited to be among the other actors in the category.  I am the Emmy rookie nominee in my group!  They have all won Emmys before.  I guess I am the dark horse.  The fact that I got in means, people are being objective about the work, which gives me some hope.  I certainly don’t feel I am out of my league.

TV SOAP:
What episodes/scenes did you choose to submit in your acting category, and why?

EMILY O’BRIEN:
I submitted two very different episodes.  The first was the episode with Colleen and Kevin held at gunpoint by my character in the freezer.  And, the second episode was a very vulnerable, yet endearing, side of Jana in the hospital with Kevin.

TRACEY E. BREGMAN:
Where Lauren sees Sheila for the first time, played by Michelle Stafford, in the exact replica of Fen’s nursery.  She basically says to Sheila, “You deserve to die.”  And, there is a very heartfelt scene where she thanks Paul for being the most unbelievable friend, ever.  Then, she goes home and sees the baby, and starts to melt down.  As she starts to melt down, she tears down the entire nursery and then flips out.  The second show I submitted was, when I find out Gloria contaminated the crème.  I confront her and find out that Michael has known all along and lied to me.  Then, I confront him about what kind of marriage and relationship we have.  There were a lot of scenes where I go from strong to vulnerable and crazy, and I thought it would show range.  I am the worst judge of my own work.  So, either Christian, Michelle, Greg or Kristoff, have picked almost everything I have ever submitted.  Michelle Stafford’s vote was the one I went with, because there was a little discrepancy of which tape was going first and which was going second.  That was a whole psychology, as well.  But, Michelle yelled the loudest.

RACHEL MELVIN:
I chose the one where I found out that Nick and Billie slept together.  There was one scene in there where I felt it was the best scene I had done all year.  It was good to me because I felt I was really in it, in the moment.  I poured my heart and soul into it.  I knew if I submitted that and I didn’t get nominated, I had submitted my best work.  On the second tape I was not crying at all.  It was when the sorority girls set up Ford.  I chose that one, which showed a different side of Chelsea.

VAIL BLOOM:
The two shows I submitted complemented each other, because they both involved the storyline with my father, Paul.  The first one was the episode where Paul confesses he is my father and I think he is going to confess a crime.  I picked that because it had a range of emotions and had a dramatic circumstance.  I thought that it was unusual for a younger actress to have that meaty material.   When I first started working, I don’t think anyone realized I was only 24.  I did not tell them when I auditioned, because I knew I was playing a young lawyer and I sort of tried to deepen my voice a little.  It did make me a bit nervous playing a bit older, but it worked out well.

JUDI EVANS:
I submitted a show with Bonnie and a show of Adrienne.  The show with Bonnie was when she and Conner snuck into the morgue to steal Bonnie’s husband’s bones.  They were well-written scenes and really funny.  As Adrienne, I picked the episode where Adrienne goes under cover in the mental institution to help Steve get his memory back and rescue him.   I am hoping that shows a range.

DARIN BROOKS:
I submitted the episode in “The Cheatin’ Heart” for the Save the World Campaign.  That’s when Ford Decker comes in, and I pick a fight with him, and it’s intense.  The other episode I submitted is when Stephanie and Max are cleaning up, “The Cheatin’ Heart” and we have the slow dance.  It showed some fun comedy stuff.

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
I chose the scenes when Sheila escapes, and it’s kind of a creepy, yet humorous show. The second one is when Nick had amnesia, and Phyllis had to go sell herself.  I loved that one.  It was so heartbreaking.  I loved it because it was painful to watch.  I liked evoking that emotion in others.  The reason I chose the Sheila tape was because Christian LeBlanc and Kristoff St. John were like, “Michelle, why aren’t you picking that Sheila scene?”  I go, “I think it’s a little too… watch me, because I am playing a dual role.”  But they said, “Yeah, but it’s really good.”  The other tape options were more of a bum out.  The Nick in the hospital episode I knew there was no question.   I listen to actor’s opinions, no one else.  Actors know, and those who have done this game were hands-down and overwhelming positive about the tape combination.  So basically, if I lose, it’s their fault!
(She laughs)

THAAO PENGHLIS:
I submitted the show when Andre was dressed up as the clown with Sami in the hospital.  It just was so interesting because clowns can be really sad people inside, which is why I had them put a tear on the clown make-up.  But, Andre was a bit of a menacing clown, as well.  And the other episode had scenes with Andre and Kate, and also scenes with Tony at his father’s grave.

TV SOAP:
Who was the first person YOU called to tell them you were nominated?

EMILY O’BRIEN:
I honestly don’t remember.  I know I called my mom, my sister, and a few of my theater professors from school.

TRACEY E. BREGMAN:
I will tell you that Christian called me as they were reading my name, because I had text he and Michelle.  I go, “Hey guys, People magazine said you guys would be nominated.” Christian was on the phone talking to me and I go, “Stop talking, I think they just said my name and if you stay on the phone with me, I will tell you if you were nominated.”  So, he stayed on the phone with me.  He was calling me from his car somewhere and, of course, I text everything to Michelle.  Then Michelle, Christian, my husband and I, all went out for dinner that night to celebrate.

RACHEL MELVIN:
I did not call one person, because they all called me.  That was really ‘rad’.  I was at work all day, and it felt like my birthday because so many people were calling me.  Darin Brooks did call me, and we said congratulations to each other.  We both are still in shock and disbelief.  I like to think we are humble about it, because we can’t believe it ourselves.

VAIL BLOOM:
I think I called a few friends, more like five of my friends.  All my family called me first, because a lot of them are on the east coast and heard about it on “The View”.

JUDI EVANS:
I called my husband Michael.  He was over the moon with joy.  He is my biggest cheerleader, along with my friend Debby O’Conner.  My son happened to be home from school that day, so he was screaming and running through the house when he heard about it.

DARIN BROOKS:
First person I called was my Dad in Hawaii.  I don’t think my mom even knows.  She went to China last Monday with my Aunt, to see the sites there.

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
I called my parents…. always.  My mom is always so excited and wonderful.

THAAO PENGHLIS:
My brother was actually visiting me from Australia, so I got to share it with him, and then we called my sister and my other relatives back in Sydney

TVSOAPS:
What is the best and worst part of being an Emmy nominee for the next two months?

EMILY O’BRIEN:
There is no worst part!  I just wish I could get a ticket for all of my friends and family. From now on, I will just enjoy the ride until the big night!

TRACEY E. BREGMAN
It’s interesting that normally at this juncture we are scrambling; going through and looking at more episodes for the second round of voting.  But, since they have changed the voting process, there is calmness in me, because it’s decided already and they know the winner. The fun part is congratulating everybody, and picking the dress.

RACHEL MELVIN:
The worst part is the anticipation of it all.  I don’t think there is a bad part, because the right people already know who the winners are.  There is only one judging panel, and what’s done is done.  To be nominated is what I wanted anyway.  I have been fortunate enough to attend and watch the Daytime Emmy show for the last two years and to have fun.

VAIL BLOOM:
The best part is that everyone here at “Y&R” is supportive, and there is such camaraderie.  Tammin Sursok is one of my closest friends, and I was really excited to see her on the ballot.  She is away from “Y&R” right now doing a film in Vancouver.  We texted each other when we both found out.  It was exciting!  And I just love Emily O’Brien’s work.   I have been enamored with her work.  She is really unassuming and a hard worker.  It’s great being one of the three girls from “Y&R” getting nominated in the younger category.

JUDI EVANS:
I can’t think of a worst part, just the anticipation.  I know it’s going to sound really corny but to be honored by your peers and that other people in this industry took notice, is really humbling and wonderful, actually.

DARIN BROOKS:
The best thing is that I hope it will open up another door for other things, as well as the recognition.  The worst part about it is just waiting and waiting till June 20th to find out who won.  But I am really excited, and I can’t wait!

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
The best is being a nominee, and most people in daytime did not get a nomination and a minority did.  It’s a complete honor! It’s a game. It’s not like in sports, where truly the best teams win.  I mean we don’t’ have an act-off! (She laughs)  Its not really the best actor wins, it’s the people who are fortunate enough to have two good shows, and what did they do in them and with them.

TV SOAP:
Michelle, what do you think about your competition for the Outstanding Lead Actress prize?

Audio

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
I talked to Nicole Forrester and was familiar with her work, and I think she is great. I am familiar with her from before too. Crystal Chappell is always great, and I think she had a great year this year. Didn’t her character get raped? She may take the Chachki.  Those are big Chachki moments exactly.

TV SOAP:
And Maura West got it last year, so that may be that?

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
Didn’t Maura have cancer this year? Well there you go, she may get the Chachki.  She may take it.

TV SOAP:
Jeanne was in the “Y&R” Out-of-the-Ashes storyline…

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
Oh, I thought she was really good in those, Oh she may take it!

TV SOAP:
Then it could be you?

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
Who knows? There it is.

THAAO PENGHLIS:
I don’t think there is anything bad.  The trouble is, the only time you get what it is all about, is at the end of it.  You forget, you haven’t taken the time to enjoy the process.  For me its like, I have taken this long journey and then finally seeing what I went through.  Certainly being nominated by my peers, and acknowledgement from my producers and the fans, helps the ride along.  I am quite sure the night of the Emmys will be nerve-wracking, even if you go up on stage and win.

TVSOAPS:
Now you have to find something to wear for the big night.  Have you thought about that yet?

VAIL BLOOM:
Everyone was telling me I have to get a dress.  I hadn’t gotten so far as to know when the Emmys were, and everyone kept asking me what day.  The dress thing boggles my mind.  I don’t have designer, designer dresses.  I don’t know what vibe to go for.  It will be fun, but a bit overwhelming!

TRACEY E. BREGMAN:
I have already picked mine.  This is the same designer that dressed me, Mark Zunino.  He has worked for Nolan Miller.  He designed my dress a couple of years ago.  Personally, I had never seen a better dress in my life, and this year it’s really cool and classic.

JUDI EVANS:
I have actually thought more about my son’s tuxedo than my dress. (She laughs) I met up with somebody yesterday at a photo shoot who is going to help me with my dress.  If it were up to me I would pick up something from Target.  I have about that much fashion sense!

DARIN BROOKS:
Of course not!  I don’t know what to do about that yet.  I might go out and buy a suit.  I kind of like pin-stripped suits, and last year I went black shirt and black tie.

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
It’s early to think about a dress.  Sometimes, I don’t decide till a week before.  I am kind of ‘last minute girl’ in my life.  I kind of like the game of putting it all together.  I try not to get too serious.  Then, the whole thing becomes too heavy and then it’s not very fun.  I think I work best under pressure

TV SOAP:
Thaao, what do you think the best and worst part is of being a Daytime Emmy nominee for the next two months?

Interviews

B&B’s Matthew Atkinson Weighs-In On Daytime’s Wildest Storyline, The Hope Mannequin & What’s Really Going On With Thomas

If you think you’ve seen it all on daytime soap operas, think again! Over the past several weeks viewers of CBS Daytime’s The Bold and the Beautiful have been witness to fashion designer Thomas Forrester’s (Matthew Atkinson) descent into madness, or is it?

In B&B’s thriller-esque storyline, complete with tight close-ups and tilted angles of Thomas and his co-star, the Hope Mannequin – yup, you read that right, the series is taking the audience on one wild ride, something we have not seen the likes of since back in the hey day of the late head writer, James Reilly, during his tenure on Days of our Lives or Passions.

Photo: JPI

Inspired by, believe it or not, true life events, B&B’s head writer and executive producer, Brad Bell and his creative team have served up a story generated off all of the buzz the show was receiving for using mannequins as scene partners for the actors in intimate moments to adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols.  B&B was the first American show back in production amid the pandemic.

 

Within this twisted tale, Thomas has the life-like version of Hope Logan Spencer (Annika Noelle) at home with him.  Those who have stumbled upon him with the mannequin, well, he has been able to explain that away by saying that having the doll with him is helping him create some of the best designs of his career.

The problem is the mannequin is talking to Thomas, it’s eyes have often turned devil-red, and on Friday’s episode it walked!  It’s objective is to get Thomas to kill Liam (Scott Clifton) and to get Hope back to be his one and only. Throughout many of the scenes in the storyline, Thomas suffers from what appears to be severe headaches.  All of this leading the audience to believe either … he has a brain tumor … he is being drugged … he is suffering from a severe mental break and disorder, or something else.

Photo: JPI

In a very candid and often humorous conversation with Michael Fairman for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Thomas’ portrayer, Matthew Atkinson, discusses some of the craziest scenes to shoot thus far including Thomas having dinner with the mannequin!  In addition, Atkinson reveals how he and Annika Noelle tape the scenes where she is the voice of the Hope mannequin while adhering to safety protocols,  and how Liam is the only one, apparently, thinking something is off with Thomas, and so much more.

Photo: Gilles Toucas

One thing is for certain, Matthew Atkinson is sinking his teeth into the material and making it must-see daytime drama through his performances while we all wait to see what the possessed mannequin does next.

Check out the full interview with Matthew below. 

Then let us know, what do you think is happening or wrong with Thomas? Are you getting a kick out of the Hope Mannequin storyline? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

 

 

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Interviews

Eric Nelsen Talks Latest Film, Becoming a Tony-Nominated Producer, ‘The Bay’, and His Elizabeth Gillies & Ariana Grande Connection

You can catch All My Children reboot alum, Eric Nelsen (Ex-AJ Chandler), just about everywhere this month, and that’s hard to do given that we are all living in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, this Daytime Emmy-winning actor has his hands in a myriad of projects of late including: appearing on season six of The Bay (new episodes every Tuesday on Popstar! TV) where he continues to play Daniel’s journey after the character has come to terms with his sexuality and finds love, plus his comedic turn in the film, 1 Night in San Diego, and recently becoming a Tony-nominated producer along with his wife Sainty for the critically-acclaimed, and now 11 times nominated Broadway play, The Inheritance.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Eric to get the lowdown on his busy professional life, and we were in for some surprises along the way including: what the producers of AMC had in mind for the character of AJ that ultimately did not happen, and that Eric starred on Broadway with Elizabeth Gillies (Fallon, Dynasty) and Pop superstar, Ariana Grande – and there’s more to that story below.

 

What makes Nelsen so good at what he does on-screen is that he is a like a chameleon; adept at playing the quirky, to the troubled bad boys, to the emotional heart-tugging anti-hero. So here’s what Eric had to say in this fascinating conversation.

Photo: : Metropolitan Entertainment,

Your latest film appearance in 1 Night in San Diego is out this week on multiple streaming on-demand platforms from: Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and more. Tell me about the movie and when did you film this?

ERIC:  We filmed it near San Diego, not this past February, but last February, and it’s hilarious.  It’s a female-driven comedy.  The cast is incredible.  Alexandra Daddario, who is just epic, and Jenna Ushkowitz, and Laura Ashley Samuels, they truly bring it in this powerhouse comedy, and it’s just one of those make-you -laugh movies from beginning to end, just silly, stupid stuff happening the whole time.  General Hospital’s Mark Lawson (Dustin) is also in the film.  While we don’t work in scenes together, I did get a chance to meet him and he’s a really great guy.  I play this off-the-wall character, named Gordo, who is a real burn-out, think Matthew McConaughey meets space cadet, which was a lot of fun to play.  Gordo is a great role.  I had more fun with this part than I’ve had in a long time.  So, it was cool to throw a comedy into all of the drama I have been playing in my other projects.

How does Gordo know the girls in the film?

ERIC:  One of the girls knew him back in the day, so they were in town looking to reconnect, and she’s like, “Oh, we want to party and let’s hit up Gordo,” and they do.  He has just gone completely off the rails, off the deep end with spirituality and kind of in his own world. They find themselves in quite a predicament when they come visit what they didn’t know was a commune, basically.  Gordo creates this hippie commune for a bunch of outcast musicians, (laughs) and I don’t want to give too much away, but a lot of interesting stuff happens there.

Photo: InheritancePlay

 

In addition, you are now a Tony-nominated producer for the play The Inheritance!

ERIC: That was crazy, because it’s always been a dream of mine to produce for Broadway.  That was how I got into the world of film and TV acting, which was through the theatre.  That’s where I started.  I was lucky enough to star on Broadway when I was 16 and 17, in a musical called, 13.  I started with Ariana Grande! It was so fun.

Wait, what?

ERIC:  Yeah, that was her first big show, and Elizabeth Gillies’.

Photo: AP

I think Elizabeth Gillies is terrific in Dynasty.

ERIC:  Oh yeah, and you know she and I dated for two and a half years during the whole run of the show 13.  Elizabeth is very talented.   She is amazing.  The funny part of it is, we were dating forever, and kind of had a bad breakup, and then Sainty, my wife, gets cast in her show Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, in the pilot to play Liz’s best friend on the series.  So, all of the sudden, I’m like, “Wait, wait, wait, out of all the shows, all of the things, this is who you have to get cast as best friends with?” and so they actually became really, really, close friends.  So, I’d actually come home from work or filming, and Liz would be on my couch sitting there giggling with Sainty.  I’m like, “This is just becoming too much.  This is a full-circle moment here.  I can’t deal.” (Laughs)

Now, you and Elizabeth are broken up at this point?

ERIC:  Yes.  We had been broken up at this point.  Sainty and I were actually together.  I started dating Sainty in New York and the pilot she was shooting was in New York, and she gets cast as Liz’s best friend, and I was like, “Oh, of course.”

Photo JPI

But Sainty knew you’d dated Elizabeth?

ERIC:  Yes, she did.

You must have been dying.

ERIC:  Yes, so dying.  Dying.   You know, it’s just one of those things that in a million years, you would never expect this to happen, and of course, Sainty and her had to become best friends in real life because they’re both great girls, and naturally, they would be friends, but now, I’m like this guy stuck in the middle who can’t believe what’s happening, and thought that was one chapter, and this is a different chapter, and now the chapters are combining.  It’s kind of a comedy act.

Photo: JPI

Since Ariana Grande was on Broadway with you and Liz, what was she like back then before her meteoric rise to fame?

ERIC:  Ariana was literally the sweetest, most innocent, and cutest – like my little sister.   To me, it was like, Liz and I were dating, and Ari was kind of like the little sister.  All of a sudden the show ended. Ariana got a Nickelodeon show, and after that, she became the most famous person in the world and was like this sex icon, and I couldn’t get over it.   She’s always had that talent with her voice and in 13 she was an ensemble member.  She wasn’t even one of the leads, but her voice was so incredible, even then as a young teenager.  I thought she was going to go on to have this great Broadway career as an actress and do musicals her whole life just because of her voice.  Then, all of the sudden, right after the musical, we all auditioned for the same Nickelodeon show.  I ended up going to the finals for the boyfriend role, Liz got the girlfriend role, and Ari got the funny friend on the show role.  That kind of catapulted them into the TV world, and Ari got a spinoff because of her character on that show for another Nickelodeon show, called Sam and Cat, and then after Sam and Cat, she went from this innocent, sweet, little Nickelodeon girl that I knew to being the biggest star.  It was unbelievable to me.

Photo: Broadway World

So, you started on Broadway as a teenager, and you found you always wanted to produce for the Great White Way? 

ERIC:  Yes, I did the Broadway thing, and then I got into film and TV, and then I got into film and TV producing.  As an actor, there are a lot of ups, a lot of downs.  So, in between the ups, I wanted to fill my time, so I got into producing, and I loved it.  I loved creating.  As an actor, we just show up, and everything is already done.  All we have to do is say our lines.  We get pampered, and we go home, but I wanted to know how it got to that point, like what happens before that.  So, I started producing film and found some success doing that, and it was so much fun for me.  Sainty’s and my first love, and what feels like home, is theatre.  So, I wanted to take it full circle and produce a Broadway show.  I just thought that would be such an incredible moment, and so that’s what I did.  I started emailing all of the Broadway producers who I had worked with as an actor, letting them know what I had been doing, kind of the success I had gotten from producing The Bay and some of these other things. Different shows came across my desk that I didn’t quite bite the bullet on, a couple of which I wish I would have, Dear Evan Hansen being one of them.  I would have been so rich by now!  (Laughs)

I just want to clarify for people who might not know, the word “producer” can mean different things.  There are “producers” who are putting money in … they’re backing projects or shows.  There are other people who are “producers” on the creative side of projects.  So, when you’re talking about producing a Broadway show, it is as an investor?

ERIC:  So for theatre, unless you’re the head producer who kind of gets creative control, every other producer listed in the credits is basically helping raise finances and is also very heavily involved in the process of everything else along the way, which is also what makes it special.  So finally, The Inheritance came across our desk, and it checked every single box.  It was just an epic play.  It’s a two-part play, and it’s just hours and hours and hours long.  You see it in multiple days or in multiple shows.  I remember reading the script and not stopping until I finished.  I was like, “This is amazing,” and it had just come off of a huge commercial successful run in London.  It won the Olivier Award for “Best New Play” and just about every other award you could win, and so I was like, “This is the one.  This is incredible.  I love the piece, love the message, and pulled the trigger,” and I would have done it all over again if we could.

Photo: Broadway World

The Inheritance is a generational piece centering on gay men during the AIDS crisis.  What can you say about it to those who don’t know about it, or have not seen it yet?

ERIC:  It takes place in the past, and then it fasts forward to the future.  You see two generations of gay men in New York City, and it’s all about the AIDS crisis, and so you’re bawling crying, and then you’re laughing throughout it.  It’s just one of those epic plays that pulls at every single emotion and you feel like you’re watching a movie.

It seems reminiscent of Angels In America, but different.   

ERIC:  Yes.  It’s definitely its own thing.  It’s actually an adaptation of Howard’s End, the novel by Forster, definitely different from Angels in America, but the two-part show is kind of what I was meaning by that.  People have said it is kind of our generation’s Angel’s in America in tone and subject matter.  It was just a dream come true, and like all other theatre that was open during our season, it had to close because of the pandemic, and it will have life after Broadway.  We are already slated for the Geffen Playhouse in LA, so I’m very excited for all of my LA friends and the public to get to see it.

Courtesy/ENelsen

And you get nominated in the year that the coronavirus pandemic shut down live theatre! But it is my understanding we still do not have a date for handing out this year’s Tony Awards.

ERIC:  No, we do not.  They finally announced that they were going to announce nominations, and for a while we didn’t even know that they were going to do that.  We received 11 nominations, which is incredible.  We were so excited.  I truly thought the American Theatre Wing and the Tony committee were not going to do the Tonys at all, and so we were just like, “I can’t believe the one year we pull the trigger on the show, this isn’t going to happen for us,” but then thank God, they came to their senses.  There were plenty of shows that opened and needed to be recognized.

How long was it open on Broadway?

ERIC:  We were open from September 2019 through February or March.  So, as long as your submission was open on Broadway before Covid-19 and had at least all of its previews and an opening night before Covid-19 hit, then you could qualify, and then in the play category, there were like 10 plays that had opened last year that were contenders.  So, that was definitely the hardest category.   It will be interesting to see what happens after all of this.  The only good thing I know that is going to come from this is the amount of creatives who have had so much time sitting at home to create and write, that there will be so many new scripts and plays and musicals that are going to come from this.  I think it’s’ going to be the biggest boom that we’ve probably ever seen in theatre, just because there’s been so much time to develop stuff.  At the same time, it’s piggybacking on the darkest time that theatre has ever seen.

Throughout the pandemic, I always stream all of the Broadway Actor’s Fund events.  It’s really sad.  It’s just a difficult time, those in the arts are struggling and especially in the live theatre and also musicians who can’t tour or play gigs in front of an audience. I know they said Broadway is closed through May 31, 2021.

ERIC:  It is really hard.  I’m happy that we are able to find other ways like streaming shows.  I’m actually producing a big benefit for Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS that will be airing on World AIDS Day, December 1st.  It’s a show called Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens.  The cast we have is everybody from Nathan Lane, to Academy Award winner J. K. Simmons.  It’s insane.  It will be streaming online on the Broadway HD network.  It is a huge list of Broadway stars and a lot of movie and TV stars as well that are participating.  We’ve got people from all over the map.

And … Ariana Grande? (Laughs)

ERIC:  (Laughs)  Ari is not in it, actually!

Photo: Prospect Park

So, in this week’s latest episode of The Bay, your character of Daniel Garrett makes his final choice for love between Caleb (Mike Manning) and Matthew (Randy Wayne).  When you came to the show, did you know that this part was going to wind-up being a gay character?

ERIC:  No, I did not.  I think I dropped a bird in Gregori Martin’s (creator, The Bay) ear by telling him that before All My Children ended, they were going to have my character of AJ Chandler have a storyline where he is gay.  The producers sat me down and talked through an entire storyline arc with me.  Basically, Ginger Smith (ex-executive producer, All My Children) and Alison, our casting director, and one other person from the show, took me to lunch in New York. They pitched me what they wanted to do for my character, and asked me if I would be comfortable with it, and they wanted my opinion, everything.  It was really cool how they approached it, and I was like, “100% completely.”  I look at what Chandler Massey (Ex-Will Horton) did on Days and where that brought him and his storyline, and I thought, “Yes, there’s going to be so much more depth and stuff to play than just being this fun little rich kid.”  At the time, there really wasn’t much depth to AJ.  So, I was like, “Yes.  I will be all over it.  Absolutely.”  So, I told Gregori that, and I don’t know if he already had something in his mind or not, or if that influenced it at all, but maybe he just figured that was something that would work well, and up till that point, I guess they didn’t really have that on the show.  Regardless, no, I wasn’t aware that that was the direction it was going in, but I was really happy with my storyline and it’s grown a lot since then, and in this current season especially.  It’s really given me an arc to play, which I’ve enjoyed.

Photo: LANYEntertainment

So for those who may not know let’s do a re-set.  Where is the character of Daniel at? It seems like he is at crossroads, and is making some important decisions, or trying to.

ERIC:  So Daniel was a wild party boy in the beginning, just head in the clouds, lives life with thinking there’s no repercussions and just doing what you want to do all of the time, and that got him into a lot of trouble with drugs and alcohol. Then, we realize why Daniel has been the way he is, and why he acts out, and why he has been so all over the place, and it’s because he hasn’t been able to come to terms with who he is.  Then, he admits it to himself and for the first time to somebody else – who happens to be his priest in a catholic church, ironically –  that he is gay and this is what he has been battling with.  For the first time (and I don’t know where on television it has depicted it this way), but the catholic priest looks at Daniel, and he’s like, “What’s your sin?  You haven’t sinned.  This is perfectly fine.”  So, I love that Gregori made that the outlet for which Daniel was able to basically come to terms with who he was, because he grew up in the church, and so he was always told that it was wrong.  Obviously, it’s not wrong, or obviously the church needs to change their mindset, but on The Bay, he chose that to be the outlet through which he came out, which I thought was really powerful.  Through that, Daniel experimented with other boys and such to figure out where he wanted to land, and then in this newest season, I can’t say much that gives anything away, but for the first time, we really see Daniel’s growth, and he’s making decisions, and the most mature we’ve ever seen him, and it’s been really cool to see that come full circle.  He’s making commitments to himself.

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

In story, Daniel chooses Caleb.  Why so?

ERIC:  Obviously, that’s who it works with,  Caleb is a teacher and a great guy.

… And Matthew is not a great guy?

ERIC:  He is… he’s just not the great guy for him.

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

This season of The Bay is heavily steeped with social issues of our time.  Covid-19 has come to Bay City and the Black Lives Matter movement also plays prominently.

ERIC:  Yes.  It’s kind of the beginning of the pandemic in The Bay and within all of the intense drama that Daniel has been having, he is still, for all intent and purposes the comedic relief of the show, and so there is a funny scene where I’m carrying like 28,000 rolls of toilet paper like, “Come on, guys.  We’ve got to stock up!”  We all remember those days, don’t we?

Photo: JPI

How do you feel about this season of the show and your work in it? You’ve previously won a Daytime Emmy for your performances on The Bay.

ERIC:  This season is more cemented in a character that has truly grounded himself.  So, the first Emmy I won was for a storyline of coming out and uncertainty and struggle and pain, whereas this season Daniel knows what he wants and is going for it.  There is much more passion and love in this season for Daniel, as opposed to struggle and heartache.

The cast and crew of The Bay all went away and quarantined at this ranch this past summer to get the new season completed.  What was that like?

ERIC:  We were actually in Santa Barbara, and filmed on this epic ranch up there.  It’s like this 500-acre ranch that we all quarantined on.  We had to do the testing, and temperatures three times a day, and the whole thing.  So, it was really structured, tough to pull off, but we were all so grateful that we were able to do this.  Luckily, we had this incredible kind of bubble of a ranch to live and work on while we were shooting.  They were really good about block shooting it all, so we’d kind of shoot one person’s character, then the next, so we wouldn’t have to ever be leaving the ranch before we were done.

Courtesy/ENelsen

Finally, how is being a dad?

ERIC:  Oh, it’s amazing.  I just can’t believe how fast the time is flying by because of it.  We just had Molly’s first birthday on October 1st, and I feel like yesterday she was born.  I sound like my parents when I say this, but it’s like the time keeps getting faster, but it’s so true.  She’s awesome.  We play Broadway musical soundtracks to her all day, and she sings.  She sits at the piano with me when I play, and she kind of plunks notes out next to me.  She loves music, and we’ve introduced it to her from day one.  We always joke that she won’t be able to watch any of daddy’s stuff until she’s 18 probably, but Sainty is a voice-over actress.  She has done parts for animated films and TV shows such as Trolls, and Barbie, and Boss Baby, so everything from the first part of my daughter’s life is all going to be Mommy’s stuff, and then, in the later part of life she can start watching Daddy’s stuff.

Right, she can’t watch anything that you do!  (Laughs) So, basically forget that!

ERIC:  (Laughs) Yep!

Check out the trailer for 1 Night in San Diego below.  Then share your thoughts on Eric’s current role on The Bay, if you hope he wins a Tony to go with his Daytime Emmy, the six degrees of separation between him, Elizabeth Gillies and his wife, and that the All My Children reboot considered making the character of AJ Chandler gay via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Peter Reckell Reflects On His Time As DAYS Iconic Bo Brady, Life In New Zealand & Christmas Music Project

Last week, Days of our Lives  turned 55-years young, and the historic long-running NBC daytime drama series has been home to some of the most memorable stars and characters of the soap opera genre, perhaps none more so than anti-hero Bo Brady played by Peter Reckell.

Reckell who appeared on the show for several runs that lasted over four decades, premiered as Bo back in 1983.  He then stayed through 1987, came back from 1990 to 1992, again from 1995 to 2012, and back again in 2015 during DAYS 50th anniversary and to wrap his run as Bo, when the character was killed-off, after Reckell made it clear that he wanted to give the audience closure for the character.  He later made another return in 2016 to help the character of Hope (Kristian Alfonso) move on with her life.  Hard to believe for all of those heart-tugging performances, Peter was nominated only once for a Daytime Emmy.

Photo: JPI

In this candid, deeply personal and enlightening new interview for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Reckell opens up as to: what led to many of the decisions he made throughout his time as Bo, how he helped craft the role from the start, the accident that almost took his life, how he handled all the fame that came his way as part of the Bo and Hope supercouple pairing, and how two women in the cast; the late Frances Reid (Alice) and Peggy McCay (Caroline) made lasting impressions on him that he will carrying with him for the rest of his life.

Photo: JPI

What would Peter say if somehow DAYS wanted him back and Bo was actually alive and well?  Find out as Peter weighs-in and wishes his former show a happy anniversary  In addition, he even shares how he felt when Robert Kelker-Kelly took over the role of Bo when he decided to leave the show at one point, and his time playing Johnny on primetime’s Knots Landing.

Photo: JPI

Reckell has moved his family to New Zealand, and this conversation was conducted from his home.  Peter is married to singer/songwriter/producer Kelly Moneymaker and the couple have a daughter, Loden.   It was not wanting to miss the moments of his daughter’s life growing up that has been much of the impetus for some of Peter’s career choices.

Photo: BlueAeris

With Christmastime approaching, Kelly and Peter are part of a brand new Christmas LP entitled Joy.  The album is now available for download on Spotify, Apple Music and major music streaming platforms.

In an exclusive during the interview, we give fans a sneak peek of Peter’s new music video for “Under the Mistletoe”, the song he sings that appears on Joy, which was written by his wife.  For more on the album project visit BlueAegis.com

Photo: BlueAegis

Now, check out the interview with Peter direct from New Zealand below! Then share your thoughts on Peter, Bo, and more via the comment section.

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B&B’s Matthew Atkinson chats with Michael Fairman about the wild ride of the Thomas/Hope Mamnequin storyline currently on The Bold and the Beautiful.Leave A Comment

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