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ABC SUPER SOAP WEEKEND – STAR INTERVIEWS PART ONE

erika-super.jpgAs many in the industry, and many soap fans know, ABC Super Soap Weekend 13 held this past weekend at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida was the final version of this staple fan fest. “On-Air On-Soaps” participated in the finale and got the chance to catch up with the best from ABC Daytime’s star-studded line-up!

ERIKA SLEZAK
ONE LIFE TO LIVE

As Viki Davidson, Erika Slezak is the most acclaimed and heralded actresses of the soap genre. From critics, fans, and her peers, it is her name that is mentioned more often than any other working actress of the genre.

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

What has been your favorite storyline that you played as Viki?

ERIKA:

I used to say heaven, because I loved going to “heaven” and I loved the multiple personality story. But, I have to tell you, a big place in my heart is the Paris, Texas story, and I loved that. It was the whole idea of getting away from everything that bothers you, and everything you live with everyday, and the aggravation, and all the people bothering Viki all the time, family complaining, and problems. And, to go there and live a completely anonymous life, and the wonderful characters she got to meet, Mo, Noelle and Gigi, was magical for me. I adored that set, the “Bon Jour” café; it was the highlight of the last couple of decades for me. I enjoyed that story and I was so grateful and happy when they brought in Farah Fath, as Gigi.

MICHAEL:

When Viki had to say goodbye to everybody at the ‘Bon Jour” café, that was one scene I needed my hankies for! What a wonderful performance!

ERIKA:

It was not a performance. I was so sad that it was ending, because I did not know it was not ending at the time.

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MICHAEL:

As Vikis’ daughter, Jessica battles yet more issues with integration of her DID, what is the most fun of Viki’s “alters” to play? “Alters” Jean and Niki, appeared as hallucinations in recent episodes.

ERIKA:

I love playing the “alters”, and I went home one day from playing “Tommy” who is a thirteen-year-old boy, and an angry boy, and I said to my husband and my son, “I am so sorry. I had no idea how tiring it is being a boy.” Oh, my God! Niki takes an incredible amount of energy and is so fun. Well, they are all fun. Jean is so different, she is completely without emotion, which is fun to play, and she does not care what she says to anybody. It used to be our producers favorite for that reason, as well. She could say anything to anybody, and it doesn’t matter.

erika.jpgMICHAEL:

Mark Derwin returned during the 40th anniversary storyline as Viki’s dead husband, Ben. How was it working with him again?

ERIKA:

Mark is my favorite 14-year-old, and we had such fun. (She laughs) We played so much. He is delightful!

MICHAEL:

What about Viki’s new guy, Charlie Banks? How is working with Brian Kerwin?

ERIKA:

I adore Brian Kerwin. He is so nice. Charlie is completely different than anybody else that Viki has been involved with. With Charlie, even though he lied, what you see is what you get… so open, so vulnerable, and so real. Brian Kerwin is such a good actor.

MICHAEL:

What would you love to see happen to Viki, that the writers have not given you the opportunity to play, thus far?

ERIKA:

The only thing Viki has left is an appendix, (She laughs) and I would like to just keep living her life and see what happens. You know, my brain does not work that way. I am used to picking up a script and going “Oh, whoa… Hello, where am I?” I try not to out guess the writers, because if you get something stuck in your mind and get married to it, and they don’t write it, it’s disappointing. They have always written such wonderful stuff for me. I have never been disappointed.

MICHAEL:

Where are your record six Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series? What do you think when you see them?

ERIKA:

They are at home. I look at them everyday. We have a tiny library, they are in a bookcase in there, and every time I look at them my heart goes, “Wow, that’s amazing!” It is amazing, and I am just so proud of them

AIDEN TURNER
aidan-rebecca.jpgALL MY CHILDREN

As PI Aidan Devane, this guy has just showed another side to his character, and the audience of “AMC” gets to see some different shades of actor, Aiden Turner in the process.

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MICHAEL:

The storyline with ‘Whacko Annie’, where you see the heel turn in Aidan, and the reveal that you and Annie were plotting this revenge, using Emma against Ryan and Greenlee, was a stunner. Oh, it was sooo bad of Aidan!

AIDEN:

It was bad. I was really impressed the way it was written, and we shot it all in two days. It was really well put together. I knew a few weeks before about the twist, but I have a leak who works upstairs. (He laughs) I like to know what is going on so I can develop the character.

MICHAEL:

So do you like to know what lies ahead for your character? Some actors don’t.

AIDEN:

Most of the time it’s not important, but with this, it’s an important story. I needed to know what I am doing, and why I am doing this. I can play it wrong and I don’t want that to happen. I had my “source” who told me, and then I went to our executive producer. I wanted to find out exactly what was happening, so she filled me in. I just hope that I am doing the best job I can.

MICHAEL:

How is working with Melissa Claire Egan, as Annie?

AIDEN:

Melissa Egan is fun to play with. There will be more of us together, but I don’t know if it’s as a love interest. Not only is Melissa talented, but she is also doing a great job, as far as acting crazy.

MICHAEL:

How do you feel now that Rebecca Budig (Greenlee) is leaving the show once again?

AIDEN:

I knew she was coming back for only a year. I am glad I got to be the guy to work with her the time she was here. She is a solid actress, and a beautiful girl. I will miss her a lot. Now, the only time I am going to see her is when I am visiting LA.

MICHAEL:

What would you love to see happen to Aidan?

AIDEN:

I think now he is going to look out for number one, and not always do the right thing. I think you will see a lot more ‘out of character’ for him. I know I am going to help Annie out, so she will not to go to jail for killing Richie when she comes out of Oak Haven. However, at the same time I would love him to meet some new girl in Pine Valley, sweep her off her feet, and have her be a stable girlfriend!

melissa-claire.jpgMELISSA CLAIRE EGAN
ALL MY CHILDREN

As Annie becomes more nuts and whacked out, fans of “AMC” and soap critics are reveling in her tour de force performance.

MICHAEL:

I am so glad they made Annie a whack-job!

MELISSA:

It’s juicy and something to do everyday. I like Whacko Annie, too.

MICHAEL:

I loved the ‘switcheroo’ Annie in cahoots with Aidan, by using Emma to get back at Ryan and Greenlee.

MELISSA:

When I first heard about it I was a little concerned, because I heard it about it from our producer before I read it. My concern was how is Annie going to be redeemable? But the way they wrote it, you see her having an emotional breakdown. She thinks this is how she is going to save her marriage. So, once I started reading the scripts, I was excited about it, like, “What a neat twist!” It’s neat that she was behind it.

MICHAEL:

So, do you see redemption in Annie’s future?

MELISSA:

I don’t know if there will be redemption for her. How do you redeem the stuff she has been doing, and the stuff that comes up with Erica? But, she goes nuts, so later in time that can be redeemed. A lot of people in soaps go to Oak Haven and have inoperable brain tumors, or overdose on medicine and end up being totally fine. So, we will see.

MICHAEL:

How has it been to work with Aiden Turner (Aidan) and Cameron Mathison (Ryan)?

MELISSA:

It’s great! With ‘Camie’, when I heard we were going to be divorced on the show, I was sad, because we are buds. So, I thought it would stink that we would not work together as much. Now we are fighting in the storyline, and Ryan is trying to help Annie. We are not in love in the storyline, but we are still working together, which is great and still fun. Well, with Aidan, he is so much fun and that accent is just so sexy… isn’t it?

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MICHAEL:

What has been your favorite Whacko Annie moment?

MELISSA:

It’s the stuff coming up with Erica. Annie shows up at a party, and she stabs Erica, but you don’t see it. She is completely a mess, make-up smeared, and blood all over her wedding dress. That was hard to do, because I loved that wedding dress that I wore two years ago on the show. That was so sad. It’s just crazy!

tyler.jpgTYLER CHRISTOPHER
GENERAL HOSPITAL

As the dark prince of Port Charles, Tyler Christopher stunning portrayal the past soap season losing the love of his life Emily and battling his own health crisis were stunning. Now it looks like this charmer may get some lighter material and a new lady love.

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MICHAEL:

This is the final “Super Soap” weekend. What are your thoughts about it?

TYLER:

This is the very last “Super Soap” and its kind of bittersweet, being the very last one. I was at the first one in 1996, and it seems like eons ago. It’s exciting and time to close it out, I guess. I know we are doing and what has been dubbed and will be known as “The Soap Nation”. We will be moving in to the philanthropic area of soaps and try to spread the love a little bit, and tour different cities. We would like to get people in other cities who may not be fans of the shows, to take a look and see if it’s for them or not.

MICHAEL:

Your brief scene with Genie Francis (Laura) this November Sweeps was wonderful. Your relationship as mother/son on-screen has been amazing. Were you sad to see her go, yet again?

TYLER:

From a personal point of view, I always believe you are only as good as your partner, and I think Genie is one of the finest actresses out there. I think she brings out the best in me as a performer, and my character as well. It’s really easy to display emotion like that with her because she is so giving as an actress. That has been our relationship for 13 years, and it’s sad that was my only scene. Hopefully, I think she will be back. She has earned the right to come and go as she pleases. I would like to have her there everyday, but that’s not the reality.

MICHAEL:

It seems that Nikolas is getting interested in Nadine and we are starting to see a different side of him. What are your thoughts on this?

TYLER:

It’s great! The character of Nikolas had always been so heavy-hearted, and for him to show a lighter, funnier side is nice to play for a change.

MICHAEL:

I still like the tortured prince!

michael-easton.jpgMICHAEL EASTON
ONE LIFE TO LIVE

Author, actor and fan favorite, Michael Easton brings powerful and passionate performances to his Detective John McBain. Embroiled in front burner storyline, the actor discusses what’s next for his character, Todd and Marty.

MICHAEL:

On recent episodes you beat the crap out of Todd, while finally locating Marty. We got to see John packing pistols and ammunition and knives to go after Todd!

MICHAEL EASTON:

It was nice to see him being driven to that edge after being so patient for so long, and it really brought the storyline to a nice boil. It’s always great to work with Susan Haskell

(Marty), and Trevor St. John (Todd), who have done fantastic work. I have always loved their work, but to see them do this particular stuff was wonderful. The nice thing that comes out of this is even more wonderful… John quits the police department and goes into another part of his life. He has lost faith in the police department and the system, and he steps away. Marty has feelings for both Todd and John, so she is stepping away, and it just keeps snowballing.

MICHAEL:

You play John with so much inner emotion and very contained, yet with deep pain. Is it difficult to portray this kind of character in this medium?

MICHAEL EASTON:

It’s difficult on soap opera to play that. He is almost like an open wound, and to be that reserved, and that damaged a character, you have to find a balance. A woman at “Super Soap” came up to me last night and said, “I was married three times to a cop and you remind me so much of them.” They see a lot of life, and see a lot of damage, and they are sort of reserved. They do come out of their shells occasionally, and that’s how you fall in love with them. He is not going to give you a lot, but when he does give you something, you end up feeling something for him.

MICHAEL:

Tell us about your new book, “Soul Stealer”.

MICHAEL EASTON:

Yes, it’s a graphic novel called “Soul Stealer”. It is just beautiful and I wrote it with Christopher Shy. It’s a 150-page epic love story, sort of like we are doing on “OLTL”!

MICHAEL:

Is there a hardest emotion for you to play?

MICHAEL EASTON:

I think just finding and having the emotion, and hiding the emotion, is what we do to protect ourselves. Very rarely in life do you see other people crying, and very rarely, looking at them, do they want to withdraw and fight it off. I love watching people who are hurting on the inside, but trying to laugh it off on the outside.

thor-kaye.jpgTHORSTEN KAYE
ALL MY CHILDREN

Zach Slater has a big problem on his hands. His wife is in a coma, and his sister-in-law blew into town in the middle of tornado, and gave birth to his child via artificial insemination. What’s next for encore?

MICHAEL:

What’s going on in Zach’s storylines with all the women of Pine Valley? He can’t help himself when he sees a damsel in distress.

THORSTEN:

It was never romantic with these other ladies. I think young Zach has an issue helping women with problems, and to be there and help anybody. Ryan is the hero, but Zach is the anti-hero. Like all anti-heroes, they want to see the underdog get some help and that is what Zach brings to the show… or is supposed to, anyway.

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MICHAEL:

What are your thoughts on the new Bianca baby storyline, where Zach is the father of her newborn?

THORSTEN:

I don’t like the idea that Zach did not tell his wife, Kendall. But you know, it’s a story that plays everyday, and sometimes you have to push the envelope a little bit. I am glad that Eden Riegel (Bianca) is back, and Tamara Braun (Reese), who is such a good actress, is part of that. You can’t look too far in the future. I know Kendall is going to wake up and be pissed at Zach.

thorstein-alicia.jpgMICHAEL:

Susan Haskell and you are married in real life and both are now on east coast soaps. How has that been for your off-screen relationship?

THORSTEN:

We are both on the east coast now, and we were always together as husband and wife, but it makes for a much healthier relationship to live together with the kids.

MICHAEL:

Do you and Susan critique each others work?

THORSTEN:

No. We do not watch each other’s work, because we both know how much it takes for scenes to look real to people. Sometimes, it can be borderline hurtful to see your spouse make out with somebody else, and that is not fun to watch. Jealous as a monkey, that is what I am. But, Susan is doing a great job on “OLTL”

MICHAEL:

What are your thoughts as we come to the close of the final “Super Soap”?

THORSTEN:

It’s nice to see people, and it’s cool that during economic times they come out to see us. It’s much appreciated and they have a good time.

MICHAEL:

What is the hardest emotion for you to play, as Zach?

THORSTEN:

I don’t think it’s as simple as that. The tough part is to make a scene work for everybody and try to find out what they want. The toughest thing is to see what happens after, and how it affects somebody. I don’t want to give any specifics, but there are a few things coming up with Bianca and Kendall. How do you explain and justify that you did not tell your wife? So that’s angry, sad, and happy, all in one. Keep watching, it’s going to be good.

thompson.jpgJASON THOMPSON
GENERAL HOSPITAL

As Dr. Patrick Drake, Jason Thompson has proven his metal with difficult and emotional story opposite Kimberly McCullough’s (Robin). We chatted about new found fatherhood for Patrick and those tough scenes.

MICHAEL:

What an emotional roller coaster in recent weeks for Patrick! He and Robin had a new baby. Then, Robin was sick and going to die and Patrick cries his heart out at the thought of losing Robin and having to raise the baby on his own. It seems effortless that you are able to cry so well and so often. Is that easy for you?

JASON:

Sometimes it’s easy, and sometimes it’s hard. The great thing about working with Kimberly McCullough (Robin), is that we have become great friends. We do care about each other. When I am thinking about her, and the situation we are in, it’s not that hard to feel that, which is, “Who does not cry over a new born baby?” Sometimes, I feel like I needed to hold back more, and I was way too emotional. Not a lot of times, but sometimes, but there are definitely times I try and get there.

MICHAEL:

It seems now the great “switcheroo” that Kimberly told me she would like to see happen in a recent interview, is coming to fruition. Patrick takes the dad role to heart and is a good dad, while Robin is struggling with new found motherhood and her role in it.

JASON:

With everything that they have been through, it’s a great switcheroo. Patrick is actually taking to fatherhood pretty easily, and he is good with the baby. The baby stops crying when he picks her up. These babies that are playing our daughter, are such beautiful little babies. That’s the good part.

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MICHAEL:

Over the summer, on “GH: Night Shift”, there was a very memorable scene between Jagger Cates and Robin Scorpio, where she confesses to her friend that perhaps it might be better if she and Patrick were both HIV positive. I thought that was a very real feeling that happens in reality, with relationships where one is positive and one is HIV negative.

JASON:

Its just one of those things and it’s a heightened reality, where one person is one thing and one person is another thing. I think people have to talk about things, and for Patrick and Robin, it was a thing to be honest about it. I am living with this, and you are not. The feeling that, “I may not make it with this,” even though there is a dwindling number dying from it… Thank, God. But yeah, it was an honest way for them to talk about it, and about time that they did. It should be talked about.

laura-wright.jpgLAURA WRIGHT
GENERAL HOSPITAL

As Carly, Laura Wright brings her own unique stamp to the pivotal role of the women in Sonny and Jax’s life.

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MICHAEL:

This is the final “Super Soap”. What are your feelings reflecting on the event’s history?

LAURA:

I am really bummed about it. It’s such a great event. We get to bring our families down to Walt Disney World, and all the actors get to see each other and their fans. It’s a big bummer, and I hope that people will be so upset and write in.

MICHAEL:

Carly just saved Sonny again from drowning. Every time she is there for him. Carly justifies it so well, and yet she loves Jax!

LAURA:

I love that she has this struggle with Sonny, and I believe it. Carly has great scenes where she says, “I did not want to help him and I don’t know why I did,” and Jax says, “You can’t disappoint him.” That I love! She can’t disappoint that guy, who by the way, told her that, “We are not getting back together.” So, don’t expect anything, but she still goes back, just like a drug. And many people are like that.

MICHAEL:

You have been Carly for a while now. Is it odd still having the original Carly, Sarah Brown, back on “GH”, as Claudia?

LAURA:

I have been on “GH” for three years now, as Carly. When Sarah came back, I thought it was going to be weird, but it could not be more fun, and she is great! We have not had any weird situations. She is so great, and one of my favorite people to work with, so… it’s not weird at all.

MICHAEL:

How is it to still work with Maurice Benard (Sonny)?

LAURA:

I love working with Maurice. We enjoy our Sonny/Carly banter and relationship, and enjoy our work together. I also love the Carly/ Jax Relationship, and adore working with Ingo, as well.

herbst.jpgREBECCA HERBST
GENERAL HOSPITAL

As Elizabeth Webber, Becky Herbst tackles the role of a mother and loving woman desperately wanting to be with the man she loves, mobster Jason Morgan, but how long can she keep this balancing act up without getting much in return?

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MICHAEL:

What is Elizabeth going to do about Jason? I am getting fed up with her!

REBECCA:

What is she going to do about Jason? You’re fed up? I am super fed up! He shot someone the other day. Things are going to happen because Jake has been kidnapped now, and she has hit rock bottom. I think she is at the end of her rope with Jason…. for now.

MICHAEL:

Do you think Elizabeth should, perhaps, get a new love interest, and stop pining away over Jason?

REBECCA:

Oh, I am not sure there is a new interest right now. She just can’t fathom putting her kid’s life on the line, being with Jason

MICHAEL:

What is the hardest thing for you to play? I am assuming being the mother of a kidnapped child!

REBECCA:

Absolutely, because baby Jake has been kidnapped twice, and he is only 18 months old. That is hard when I have to play that my kids have been kidnapped. I don’t go home and think, “Oh, I feel so good today from work.” I am a mom in real life, and I can’t even think about it. It’s the worst thing in the world!

MICHAEL:

How is it to still work with Steve Burton (Jason)?

REBECCA:

You know, it’s really tough. (She mocks) I have to wake up in the morning and convince myself. I have Laura Wright (Carly) and Kelly Monaco (Sam) there, and Greg Vaughn (Lucky), and I go, “I have to work with Steve?” (She laughs) When I get to work with Steve, those are always good days, especially, when he is not telling me what to do. (She laughs)

MICHAEL:

What would you love to see happen to Elizabeth, if you were writing the show?

REBECCA:

I would love for Elizabeth to run away and go to some strange country where no one can find Jason, so she can have this life with him. She loves him and wants to be with him, and they have their kids, and they could have more babies. However, I don’t want Elizabeth Webber to go anywhere out of Port Charles, because that means I am not working. I am glad she is going to stay in Port Charles and remain loveless. (She laughs).

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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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