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ABC SUPER SOAP WEEKEND – STAR INTERVIEWS PART TWO

cameron.jpgCAMERON MATHISON
ALL MY CHILDREN

As Ryan Lavery, Cameron has been a staple at “AMC” and “Super Soap” and now one of the most recognizable daytime stars anywhere in the industry. Catching up with Cameron is always fun. Read about his take on what could be next for Pine Valley’s resident hero.

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

Cameron, do you have a better side for the camera or a bad side?

CAMERON:

All my sides are bad. This is just a façade.

MICHAEL:

“All My Sides”!

CAMERON:

I have several sides. They do ask in make-up which is my bad side?

MICHAEL:

They do not!

CAMERON:

Yes, and its put on over a mask every morning and every thing is fake. (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

When we last checked in with each other at the Daytime Emmys this past June, Ryan had amnesia and had kind of lost his way, and you told me there would be a clearing up of that. I mean, he did get his brain back. However, now after sort of getting back with Greenlee, Rebecca Budig (Greenlee) is exiting the show. How do you feel about that?

CAMERON:

Selfishly, I am not happy about it. I am excited for my friend, and she is taking a chance and going after her dream and I respect that. But selfishly, I am really pissed. I would say that if she were standing right there.

MICHAEL:

What then is going to happen to our Ryan?

CAMERON:

We don’t know. I think it’s interesting that Annie has done all those horrible things. She kidnapped his child, pretended Emma was in a grave, and made him dig up her grave. Now, I think Ryan has some compassion because he is like, “My God. Did I drive this woman to the brink?” Even though his heart is not here, he is not in love with her, but he wants to make sure she gets the help she needs. It is almost like a purification thing for him, and going through it with a lot of compassion for her. That will be one beat, and I think there will be stuff coming up with Kendall and Zach that people will dig

MICHAEL:

And I think, some with Kendall and you?

CAMERON:

You think so because of the whole Reese thing, and back door with Ryan, so to speak? I like that. And, I would like to see Ryan and Zach have these two camps and go head to head and sort of build up this long on-going rivalry. I think one of the things in soaps that is so successful over the years are rivalries. I remember back on “AMC”, when Dimitri and Edmund had this rivalry and other shows had them, too. So, I think it would be good for us.

JP-car1.jpgJOHN-PAUL LAVOISIER
ONE LIFE TO LIVE

As Rex Balsom, John- Paul has turned in out-of-the-box performances of wit, humor, passion and drama. At “Super Soap” he hosted The Triple Play Game Show and showed off his emcee abilities. We caught up with JP to ask him some quick questions about Sexy Rexy.

MICHAEL:

As Rex, on “One Life”, you are so entertaining and interesting to watch. What is the most fun thing for you to do on the show, in terms of performances?

JP:

The most fun is they let me try anything I want. They let me be quirky, or goofy, or funny, or try to do physical comedy whether it be jumping over a desk or trying to hug Bo, and they let me fly with it. The only note I get is, “JP, you need to pull back.” I never get the note, “Do more.” I always get the note to do less.

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MICHAEL:

The 40th anniversary “Time Travel” storyline was heralded by critics and fans, and then later and at times slammed. Personally, I loved it. I thought it was so much fun to watch. In the end, what were your thoughts looking back on it?

JP:

I think the point of the storyline was what had happened in the end with Rex and Gigi connecting, and Bo finding out about his father, Asa. So, Bo and Rex came together, which was fun. It got mixed-up in everyone thinking Bo was Asa, and Rex was Bo. Eventually we separated a little bit and we went back to the future, separately. What “OLTL” head writer, Ron Carlivati, wanted to get across, I think happened. Personally, it was the best storyline I had been involved in. I had so much fun. Some fans hated it and some loved it. I could have done this storyline all year. I got to ride a real horse, and get electrocuted by a cell phone, and with the pyrotechnics, it was so much fun. I can understand some people would think, “No, they can’t be in 1968.” They may think it’s silly, but it’s just entertainment for two months, so enjoy the ride!

MICHAEL:

You and Farah Fath, (Gigi) are dating in real-life and play each other’s romantic interest on the show. How is seeing someone you work with all the time outside the show?

JP:

We bowl every Tuesday. We have a blast! Somebody said the other day that “Wait, you guys work together and you are never apart!” We are only apart when I go to the gym and go golfing. But, winter is coming so we will be together more because I won’ be golfing.

MICHAEL:

What are the fans saying to you, when you are out doing autograph sessions?

JP:

In general, they are saying, “Can I have a kiss?”

MICHAEL:

Do you give them kisses?

JP:

Sometimes. It depends on where they want the kiss.

farahfath1.jpgFARAH FATH
ONE LIFE TO LIVE

As Gigi Morasco, Farah burst on to the Llanview canvas in a role tailor made for her. She tells “On-Air On-Soaps” how she nabbed the role, and how she fell into a real-life romance with her co-star.

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MICHAEL:

This role as Gigi Morasco really took off from the start. Now that you have been playing her for a while, how would you compare it to your former role as Mimi on “DAYS”?

FARAH:

Gigi is a more grown-up role for me. I started off with Erika Slezak (Viki) in the Paris, Texas storyline at the diner. So, the start of my time on the show was pretty awesome. Then, I was slowly but surely pushed into the drama we call soap opera. Now, it’s all about my son, Shane. It’s kind of hard for me to play a mom to an eleven-year-old.

MICHAEL:

Why is it hard?

FARAH:

It’s hard for me to relate to, it really is. Sometimes I read my scenes, and I go, “Shut up.” I have to always remember to tell myself I have to be sensitive to him, and I don’t know if I am playing being a mom right. I miss playing Mimi on “DAYS”, and miss my “DAYS” family, but I have my hands full on “One Life”.

MICHAEL:

So, JP was telling me you guys bowl. Who wins?

FARAH:

We bowl every Tuesday, and it’s neck and neck. The last game we played I beat him by a landslide, but he usually beats me. Anyway, he has a lot of hobbies, and I realize I did not have a lot of hobbies. So, I thought bowling would be fun because I use to do it as a kid. So, we got our own bowling balls, and mine is leopard. I started playing poker with him, too. These are my two new vices.

farahjp.jpgMICHAEL:

What about Poker?

FARAH:

Now we have things to do on our down time. We are kind on the back burner right now on “OLTL”. So, we can go bowling, and I am super good at Poker. I would love to do a celebrity poker tournament. We have played in tournaments that have lasted seventh hours. JP and I played in an 80-man tournament, and I beat him in the second tournament. He was 30th and I was 11th.

MICHAEL:

How did your romance with JP start, on and off screen?

FARAH:

JP and I just hit it off right away. We had similar personalities and we laughed a lot. I was hired solely to play opposite of him. President of ABC Daytime/SOAPnet, Brian Frons, and “OLTL” executive producer, Frank Valentini, they originally screen tested me for the role of Sarah when they hired me for the show. I think they knew they did not want me for Sarah. I think they just wanted to see me on camera. They had already written the part and had the story idea for Rex and Gigi. Brian knew of my personality from “DAYS”, and JP’s personality, and thought we would work well together. I knew of him, but I thought he is much more striking in person. I don’t think the camera does him justice at all. Every time someone meets him in person, they go, “Oh, he’s so hot,” and I go, “Yeah, I know.” At work, I was like, “Oh, wow!” Then I was like, “Don’t have a crush on him. You are not supposed to have one with people you work with. That’s trouble!”

bradford1.jpgBRADFORD ANDERSON
GENERAL HOSPITAL

As Spinelli, Bradford has captured the hearts of soap viewers young and old with a quirky, offbeat portrayal of Port Charles’s lovable computer geek. But geekhood has suited him well. He is one of the most beloved actors on ABC Daytime, as proven by the reactions of his fans at “Super Soap”.

MICHAEL:

You were so great on stage performing at “Street Jam”. Have you sung in the past?

BRADFORD:

I used to sing a lot. Since I don’t sing as much as I used to, I am not always in the best singing shape. The more you sing, the stronger the voice is.

MICHAEL:

What songs did you perform?

BRADFORD:

The first song was “No One Like You” by the Scorpions, and the second one was “Happy Together” by The Turtles.

MICHAEL:

“Happy Together” you proclaimed on stage was, “More like you”.

BRADFORD:

Yeah. I would never envision myself being a rock star. So, to sing an 80’s hair band song was not really something I would have assumed I would do. It would be more like happy, lovey sixties vibe that seemed to be more my style. But, I had so much fun doing the Scorpions song. It’s such a great song, the lyrics of “No One Like You” and speaking to the “Super Soap” audience. It was very truthful, “There is No One Like Them”.

MICHAEL:

And, there is no one like you because I went to all the fan events, and the young girls had tons of Spinelli T- Shirts with all of Spinelli’s catch phrases on them.

bradfordwfan.jpgBRADFORD:

I know. There was this one girl who had everything I ever said on her shirt, and that is a lot!

MICHAEL:

I think you’re the rock star out there!

BRADFORD:

Well, thank you, I just try to bring it. When I come here I want to make sure I am in great physical and emotional shape, and to get some sleep. Every experience I have when I come here, I try to give all I can.

MICHAEL:

Kirsten Storms and you have made such an interesting pairing on “GH”. Do you think that will last? Or do you think they will try to break Maxie and Spinelli up?

BRADFORD:

I think we are very lucky that Maxie/Spinelli, established a friendship first, before the romance. It’s hard to break up a friendship because there are so many ways you can have bitterness in romance. But with the deep abiding friendship that they have, it’s harder to make sense of tearing that apart. Then of course, as soon as it turns to romance, there are always those possibilities. The show is enjoying what we are doing, and we are enjoying what we are doing. It will be fun to watch.

MICHAEL:

When you were meeting the fans at “Super Soap”, what did they say?

BRADFORD:

Same question from day one… How do you memorize all those lines? How do you talk like that? I understand that, it’s a good question. I sometimes don’t know how I do it.

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MICHAEL:

You and Steve Burton (Jason) are working constantly together. Jason and Spinelli are their own super couple!

BRADFORD:

Oh, that makes me so happy to hear you say that. (He laughs) He is the reason I am still here. I was supposed to be on the show for a couple of months, and he taught me a lot as an actor and as a person. I am forever grateful. Thankfully, he liked me at the beginning, and he said, “OK, We can keep this kid.” It’s the people upstairs prerogative, but I think having Steve like you is not a bad thing.

brandon.jpgBRANDON BARASH
GENERAL HOSPITAL

As Johnny on “GH”, Brandon tows the line between bad boy gone good… or good boy gone bad…which ever way you look it. Brandon chatted about what’s next for his alter ego in Port Charles.

MICHAEL:

You wowed the crowd at the “Street Jam”, you little rocker you! What did you perform?

BRANDON:

I performed a little bit of Rolling Stones “Jumping Jack Flash”, and a little “School Daze”, by Chuck Berry. I busted out the harmonica there, and had a lot of fun.

MICHAEL:

Would you do more singing concerts if given the opportunity?

BRANDON:

I guess so. I do it when I have the chance and it’s so much fun. I would do more singing, absolutely. I could do a concert. I would sell that house and rock that!

MICHAEL:

What’s ahead for your character, Johnny Zacchara, on “GH”?

BRANDON:

Johnny is going to struggle to be or not to be. Do I become this infamous man like my father? Or, do I take ‘The Road Less Traveled’ by Robert Frost, and take the more difficult, less traveled road and go against his destiny. He is really going to take some initiative, and have a lot of inner conflict.

MICHAEL:

What do the fans say to you the most, when they meet you in person at, “Super Soap”?

BRANDON:

It’s a lot of, “Oh, you’re better looking in person!” And, I really don’t know how to take that. Do I look bad on TV? Maybe the camera adds 50 lbs to me! (He laughs) I don’t know!

jason-cook.jpgJASON COOK
GENERAL HOSPITAL

As Dr. Matt Hunter, Jason Cook has begun to be integrated more into the Port Charles canvas. “On-Air On-Soaps” caught up with Jason and reminisced about his time at “DAYS” and developing his new character on “GH”.


MICHAEL:

How has “Super Soap” been for you? What are the fans asking you, for the most part?

JASON:

“Super Soap” has been great. A lot of it’s been, “Who are you going to get with on the show? Why aren’t you on DAYS? Why is Matt so much meaner than your old character of Shawn on DAYS?” Matt is kind of a jerk. They wanted him to be the biggest jerk he can possibly be.

MICHAEL:

Is that easy? (He laughs)

JASON:

No, but it’s funny. I got a lot of ‘shtick’ from my family and I really felt bad. I did not audition, because if I had to audition for the role of Matt I would never have had a job. They said be arrogant, angry and pissed off. But, you can’t be overt, or the yelling at people kind of jerk… but be a kind of jerk who throws out barbs and stuff to people without cussing. (He laughs)

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MICHAEL:

How are they developing the relationship between Matt and his brother, Patrick, played by Jason Thompson? Will they continue to be adversarial?

JASON:

They are going to develop it more. Patrick’s character is more of a straight guy who walks the straight and narrow more than Matt. He is like the brilliant neurosurgeon who is kind of like: he is getting married and has a baby, and he is starting to care about the real things in life. Matt is like, “Whatever, I don’t care.” That kind of dynamic is good, and as brothers they can razz each other, which will be great on screen and cause conflict.

MICHAEL:

Did you know from the beginning that Matt was going to be Dr. Noah Drake’s son, played by Rick Springfield?

JASON:

I did not know I was going to be Noah’s son. When they brought me on, all I knew was I was going to be involved in a counterfeit drug storyline. I don’t even know if they are writing that anymore.

MICHAEL:

All the rumors were that you were going to be paired with Kirsten Storms (Maxie), who played Belle on “DAYS” when you were Shawn on that show. So far, that has not happened. Is that just around the corner?

JASON:

It’s funny, and everyone assumed it. I get it, and it’s not a huge stretch of the imagination to see that. We have worked together for so many years for like a third of our lives, and I am not quite thirty. I have known Kirsten since she was fourteen. So when you know someone for that long it helps the chemistry, and its fun to work with her. I am sure they are going to explore it at some point. Matt needs something. There was one show where Matt hit on three different women! I was like, “Can one of you pay attention to Matt for just one second?” and it did not happen.

darnell.jpgDARNELL WILLIAMS
ALL MY CHILDREN

As Jesse Hubbard, Darnell Williams returned to “AMC” in his much heralded role this year. We asked him about the reunion with Debbi Morgan, Angie Hubbard and the woman no one knew existed, Rebecca!

MICHAEL:

How did you like the ending of the 20 year Angie/Jesse reuniting storyline? I thought it was really good, but did not understand why your characters were dressed in 1890’s outfits on the train tracks.

DARNELL:

I did not even see it. But, we had fun doing it and it looked good. This whole go around, they are really wardrobe oriented. You kind of expect to see it in daytime.

MICHAEL:

When Jesse came back was wearing his leather cap!

DARNELL:

I think that was their little signature piece, to the throwback of Jesse.

MICHAEL:

How is working with Laura Koffman (Rebecca)? Will your storyline with her last for awhile?

DARNELL:

Laura is wonderful, and a very giving actor. I don’t know how quickly our story will wrap up. It’s got a few months at least, and it’s hard to say where it’s going to go.

MICHAEL:

Of course, you and Debbi Morgan (Angie) have such amazing on screen chemistry. How is working with her again after all these years?

DARNELL:

She is one of the most beautiful people in the world. And those dimples! She is one of my closest friends and I love working with her. The way we play off of each other is such a comfort zone for me.

MICHAEL:

Is there an emotion harder to play for you than others on-screen?

DARNELL:

As I have been doing it for a couple of decades now, there are tricks that have come to a different level now. They are a little more organic by nature and become instinctive to your response to anything as an actor.

MICHAEL:

Where are your two Daytime Emmys?

DARNELL:

They are home in New York, and they are in storage for a while. But I am so proud of them, and it’s a pretty statue and kind of nice.

brit-jansoning.jpgBRITTANY UNDERWOOD AND JASON TAM
ONE LIFE TO LIVE

As high school sweethearts Langston and Markko starred in “One Life to Live: High School Musical” episodes, they continued their singing talents right to the stages of “Super Soap”. Their portrayers, Brittany Underwood and Jason Tam told us about all they have experienced.

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MICHAEL:

Brittany, you sang in the “Street Jam”. How was that experience in front of all those fans at “Super Soap”?

BRITTANY:

I was really nervous. I don’t think I have ever been that nervous. I sang Corinne Bailey Rae’s, “Put Your Records On”, and I love that song. I was excited that they told me I could do that song. I guess because we were performing for the fans, and we have such a special relationship with our fans, I was OK. I said to myself, “This is Ok, because we are in front of the fans that know and love us, so it will be OK.”

MICHAEL:

Jason, you’ve done a lot of singing on stage, haven’t you?

JASON:

I started out doing musical theatre and I love singing. It was a blast last night singing in front of those people on that stage, and have all that energy coming back to us, with the lights, and the band. It was a perfect venue.

MICHAEL:

What’s it like working with Robin Strasser (Dorian)?

BRITTANY:

I love her so much and she is so amazing. She looks after everyone, and always has such great ideas. If I know I am working with Robin, I know it’s going to be a good day.

MICHAEL:

Jason, what’s it like working with Brittany as your girlfriend on “OLTL”?

JASON:

Amazing! Brittany is so giving, and she is so emotionally full. She will just cry at the drop of a hat, feather, and dime.

brandon-kristen.jpgBRANDON BUDDY AND KRISTEN ALDERSON
ONE LIFE TO LIVE

As Cole and Starr, emotional storylines and tough social topics are nothing Brandon and Kristen can’t pull off. Way beyond their years in acting ability, we caught up with them and found out how they felt about recent storyline developments.

MICHAEL:

You were one of the biggest hits of the “Street Jam”! Everyone loves Kristen and Starr! What did you sing?

KRISTEN:

I sang, “Journey to the Past” from Anastasia, and then “Mother’s Prayer” with Kassie DePaiva (Blair). Then I sang, “Lean on Me” with Jason Tam (Markko) and Brittany Underwood (Langston).

MICHAEL:

And Brandon, you and I were on the sidelines and you mentioned you were not singing, but making a special appearance in the song with your three co-stars. What happened? It seemed like there was a mic malfunction?

BRANDON:

I was supposed to come out on the stage and the microphone didn’t come on. The song is “Lean on Me”, so I was supposed to come out there and go, “Oh, I lost my girlfriend. My life is a mess!” and I am out there and the microphone did not work. So Kristen walked over to me with the microphone and saved it.

MICHAEL:

The scenes that have just aired where Cole sees his mom, Marty, again were so moving! Hankies!

BRANDON:

It was intense stuff. To see that your mom is not dead after a year and a half, and then to see her alive, is very intense. Cole has been through a lot.

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MICHAEL:

And Kristen, the whole dramatic turn of Starr giving birth and then believing her baby was dead was so hard to watch. Were you drained from those scenes?

KRISTEN:

I actually got physically sick! The first day we taped the delivery scenes, and the next day I had to tape a whole bunch of scenes where I found out that the baby is dead. Then, I had to tell Cole the baby is dead. The night before I was getting so sad. Taping the delivery scenes were emotional in a happy way. But then, to know I had to go there and mourn the loss of my child the next day… I was really sad just thinking about it. But, I had to hold it all in. The next day I came into work drained and not feeling well.

eden-minnie1.jpgEDEN RIEGEL
ALL MY CHILDREN

As Bianca, Eden came back to “AMC” during the tornado sequences with a shocking new storyline twist and new lover. One of soaps most beloved characters is back, and Eden professes, “There’s more to the story!”

MICHAEL:

So, you blew into town in the tornado shows! Did you like how Bianca ended up coming into the disaster, pregnant and trapped?

EDEN:

The tornado was incredible, and I loved the special effects. It was fun to be a part of it and it was like the show was saying, “Here you are. Welcome back. You’re in the rumble, you are a part of this, and you are nine months pregnant!” And they threw me right in there, in the drama of it all.

MICHAEL:

I was very concerned about this new storyline, where Bianca got pregnant with Zach’s child and the cover-up. How do you really feel about this plot device?

EDEN:

Very concerned. It is similar to what Babe did to Bianca, but not as bad. This is very out of character for Bianca. It’s hard, but it’s a fun challenge for me, especially in trying to figure out the circumstances in which Bianca would do this to her sister. I have come up with some really good justifications for it! Bianca and Reese were in this bubble of love in Paris. Everything was working out OK, and then here is Zach. I had a feeling Miranda said to Bianca, “Where is my Dad?” Zach is a wonderful male presence. I could see Bianca wanting that, and Kendall saying “No”, and Bianca listening to Zach saying, “It will be alright, I will tell her. Do it! Kendall does not need to know.” Then when it dawned on her, when she became pregnant, she thought, “What did I just do?” It became harder and harder for her to tell Kendall, and she knows Kendall is not going to be cool with it. But Bianca has always been a good person. I think it will be interesting, as an actress, to play what she goes through when she realizes she made a mistake.

MICHAEL:

What is going to happen next to you and your on-screen lady love Reese, played by the incredible Tamara Braun?

EDEN:

It’s Pine Valley! Paris was perfect and beautiful. But, back home there are stresses of the family, your sister is in a coma, there are the kids and work, and a million different things. By the way, there are more secrets coming! As couples go through conflict, when they come out the other end they are stronger because of it.

ricky-paul1.jpgRICKY PAULL GOLDIN
ALL MY CHILDREN

As Jake Martin, Ricky Paull and the “AMC” audience have kept a close eye on one of “GL’s” all-time favorite leading men. Ricky Paull explains how things are going with the adjustment to his new role and fan expectations.

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MICHAEL:

You performed in the “Street Jam”, and the crowd seemed to eat it up!

RICKY PAULL:

I sang Steppenwolf’s ‘Magic Carpet Ride”, and played harmonica. It was fun and a blast! We had a built in audience and I probably sucked, and they are still nice to you! You’ve got to love that.

MICHAEL:

How is the story coming along with you and Beth Ehlers (Taylor) now that you have been on-air on “AMC” for a short while? How do you feel its going?

RICKY PAULL:

It takes a while to get these things going. I don’t think the idea is to just grab two people from one show and put them on another, and make them do the same thing now. Beth Ehlers is a great actress, and we love what we do. If I fall in love with her character, and if the fans fall in love, that’s great. It’s like going to your parents and asking their blessing to move forward with the relationship. In this instance, the fans would be our parents, and we would ask them, “Do you approve?” If they did, we would move forward.

MICHAEL:

Ok, then do you ever say to yourself, “What if it did not work this time? What will the show do with us?”

RICKY PAULL:

We are not joined at the hip. I would say Beth would say the same thing, even if she was standing right next to me. We are not the same person. We had a great run on “GL” and a show we dearly love. There are a lot of great guys on “AMC”. She could fall in love with Thorsten‘s character (Zach).

MICHAEL:

Everyone falls in love with Thorsten’s character!

RICKY PAULL:

I am in love with Thorsten’s character! (He laughs) There are a lot of great women on the show for me to play with, too. If I have to steal Taylor away from one of those guys, let me do that. That would be fun to watch. If she wants to get my heart, and I am in love with another woman, that would be great to watch.

MICHAEL:

Every time you and Beth appear on the screen, it takes the scenes to another level.

RICKY PAULL:

It takes a while. You have to chisel away, and as soon as we came on the show they brought in a new head writer. I am more interested right now in the storyline with the Iraqi vet. The fact that we are working with real vets, that are acting, is so interesting.

MICHAEL:

How is working with JR Martinez (Brot)?

RICKY PAULL:

JR Martinez is great. He is 25 years old. I am a lot older them him, and I am learning from him every day on the set.

MICHAEL:

Do you think that story is inspiring?


RICKY PAULL:

Absolutely. The stories are real. We had whole scenes on the show the other day with a circle of real vets and those were not scripted. It’s what they experienced. They just let the cameras roll and roll.

MICHAEL:

Let’s discuss Dr. Jake Martin’s botch job of Kendall’s brain surgery during the tornado. He is in trouble!

RICKY PAULL:

That’s where the drama is. If you mess with anything to do with Zack Slater, well, he is going to crack my skull open… if I don’t fix his wife’s head. Hopefully what will happen is that they will take away my medical license and I will become some bum on skid row. I will do something to lose my license, mostly because I don’t like saying medical terms on the air. I rack my brain in the dressing room trying to make it perfect, like a mini little house doctor.

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Days Of Our Lives

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit/JPI Studios

What was the genesis of the idea for the series?

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

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

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

Photo Credit/JPI Studios

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

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

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

Courtesy/AfterForever

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

Do we see Jason die in this?

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

Courtesy/AfterForever

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

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

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

Courtesy/AfterForever

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

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

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

Would you do another season of After Forever?

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

Courtesy/AfterForever

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

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

Courtesy/AfterForever

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

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

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

Courtesy/AfterForever

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/AfterForever

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/AfterForever

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

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

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

Courtesy/AfterForever

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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General Hospital

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Yes, 15 years ago in New York.

And what did you think of her then?

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

You had to keep it under wraps, huh?

Wes: Yep!

Laura: I was married then.

Wes: She was pregnant with her second child.

Laura: And he’s a good Kentucky boy.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

Wes: Yes, yes, yes, yes…

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

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

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

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

You mean you thought he wouldn’t call?

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

Wes: I still am hitting on her.

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

Courtesy/Instagram

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

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

Wes: And I said, “Far from it.”

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

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

Photo Credit: Courtesy/ABC

Wes: Yes, a dream come true.

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

Wes: That’s true.

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: I did not.

Laura: I did! (Laughs)

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

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

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

Laura: We do, and we carpool.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

Wes: She lost her chauffeur. (Laughs)

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

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

Wes: Oh, my God, yes.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

Wes: … the long hours …

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

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

Courtesy/welcometolaurasworld Instagram

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

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

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

Wes: Leave it all out on the floor.

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

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

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Interviews

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

Photo : MF Soaps Inc

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

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

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

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

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Video du Jour

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

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