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Brett Claywell & Scott Evans Interview

One Life to Live’s Brett Claywell and Scott Evans sat down with Michael Fairman just a week ago in New York to discuss; the baby Sierra Rose daddy drama, Kish’s impact, and the importance of this on-screen same-sex couple. Plus, the actors talk about the journey of playing their roles, and the now famous sex-scene.

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Beth
Guest
Beth

Excellent interview…they are proud of their characters and they should be, shame ABC couldn’t be as proud and continue to share their story with us.

Denise M Robinson
Guest
Denise M Robinson

Thank you, Michael for posting up the interview video. I’m going to try and savour everything that’s coming up for the Kyle, Oliver and Sierra Rose storyline for the weeks to come. I want to express my praise and admiration to both Brett Claywell and Scott Evans for bringing to these characters. I wasn’t just a fan of OLTL only because of the KISH storyline. I, was a fan of the show, because of their DIVERSITY and their choices of showing how a community can have people from all walks of life, learning how to interact and deal with each… Read more »

Linda Dowell
Guest
Linda Dowell

SHAME on OLTL!!! SHAME on them! I’ve been pissed over their complete and utter lack of growth for Todd – and now this – one of the relationships I enjoyed.

And I’m mainstream as hell – 60 years old Wasp lol.

I’m DONE! I’m taking them off the DVR today — and that’s it.

Good wishes to the men that played KISH.

md1347
Guest
md1347

Love Kish. Will not watch OLTL after they are gone.

WTSPharmDJD
Guest
WTSPharmDJD

Same here! Who watches Soaps? Women and gay men! Way to alienate a chunk of your audience!

mark
Guest
mark

i wish brett and scott all the love in this world.

Margaret
Guest
Margaret

such a great interview with two wonderful actors who will be greatly missed on OLTL….they are so amazing together as Kyle and Oliver
and will forever be my favourite couple….theirs has been the most beautiful and romantic love story i have ever seen and when they leave Llanview this once longtime loyal viewer will leave with them.
ABC is making a major mistake in letting their two most talented actors go and going to have reason to regret it….

Kim
Guest
Kim

Michael,
I had to let you know how much I loved this interview with Brett and Scott. It was especially touching given the news that their characters are being written out of the show. Their obvious love for their characters and for one another brought tears to my eyes. They are a class act and am confident that the power of their work , their relationship, and their words will live on much longer than OLTL.

Thank you and great job!

LoveKish
Guest
LoveKish

Great interview!
Love Kish and Brett/Scott more and more…

Hendrikje
Guest
Hendrikje

Thank you for a wonderfull interview with 2 great young man who obviously cared about their work and eachother. It such a shame how they were treated by ABC. Hopefully they will work together in the future as they are amazing together.

Patricia
Guest
Patricia

Amazing interview, and that makes it even harder to realize that the guys will be written out of the show! The chemistry between them on screen was so wonderful, they portrayed their characters as Oliver and Kyle so good! They are the reason I got hooked up on OLTL at all!! The story, the actors, the chemistry is so rare, such a shame that it has to end like this!!! Scott and Brett all the best and thank you so much for this amazing/loving story <3 !!

James
Guest
James

Michael, thank you so much for this interview. It made me laugh and smile, which I haven’t been able to do since yesterday’s news broke. It’s all the more heartbreaking to know that this excellent working relationship has come to an end without Brett and Scott even knowing that an expiration date had been placed on KISH. Scott and Brett gave us such a great beautiful gift with their portrayal of Oliver and Kyle, and no one – not ABC Daytime, “the mainstream audience” and the haters – can ever take that away from us. Thanks to you, Michael, and… Read more »

PAmusicSwede
Guest
PAmusicSwede

Great great interview, I will miss them so very much together on OLTL. They told MY story! Once Kish is gone, OLTL will no longer be recorded in my household.

Scott mentioned my favorite Kish moment that gave me goosebumps, when ‘Kyle’ kissed ‘Oliver’s’ hand in the ‘afterglow’. I had wondered if that was ad libbed.

And by the way, Brett looks hot in glasses!

Lorraine
Guest
Lorraine

Thanks for the wonderful interview. Brett and Scott are amazing actors and obviously great guys. If there’s any justice, they will have successful careers and happy lives.

Robyn
Guest
Robyn

Thank you so much Michael, this is a wonderful interview. I don’t know if this is possible, but is there any way you can put this videon on itunes just like your podcasts? I have downloaded the long interview that Damon from We Love Soaps did with Scott and the short one he did with Brett on OLTL moving day but I believe you are the only one to have a video interview with them together (besides the little behind the scenes one of their photo shoot). Since there probably won’t be another one, especially this long, I imagine that… Read more »

Michele
Guest
Michele

Amazing wonderful interview. Both men are so soulful and intelligent, and gorgeous. So often you read or watch interviews that focus on the fluff, this was so much better and so much more. I still cannot believe that they are going to written off. Shame on ABC and all involved in this horrendous, cowardly decision. I wish the actors nothing but the best in their career. I personally will never watch the show again.

Mary
Guest
Mary

An amazing interview. Thank you, Michael.

One of the things that made the Kyle/Oliver relationship so believable was the friendship between Scott and Brett, which was on display here. Gutted doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about the decision to end this amazing journey with two fantastic actors. I loved both their comments about the show, and their great chemistry.

I wish Scott and Brett the best, and wherever they go next–onwards and upwards–I’ll be following.

Doe
Guest
Doe

I love these guys! They are so real and without any pretension. You just want to root for them all the way. I’m saddened by what is coming down, but I’m sure they won’t have any trouble getting good roles from here on. They are really outstanding men. Their real life relationship is so nice and grounded. I am very sorry that the “higher ups” found it necessary to close out their story. I hope that their last episodes will knock everyone’s socks off. Good luck to you both. It has been nice being in your company….

terry
Guest
terry

Thank you for your interview with Scott and Brett and for the insightful questions you asked them. It is bittersweet seeing them here now knowing what we do but I am resolved to honor the beautiful characters and story they helped craft until the very end. The breathtakingly beautiful romance that is Kish was the only reason I started watching OLTL besides Roxy and when they are gone so am I. Shame on the network for blaming their poor ratings on Kish and not having the decency to tell the actors before breaking the news. Brett and Scott have created… Read more »

Bobby
Guest
Bobby

My partner and I (17 years together) have watched OLTL for years, but started watching regularly when Kish came on the scene. We TiVo and watch every episode. Once Kish is gone, so will we be.

Also, storylines like Ford and Langston suck and that’s the stereotypical soap opera BS that should be excised.

Brian
Guest
Brian

i have watched OLTL since 1983. During ABC’s upset over the whole Alam Lambert thing, i wondered why they were so bothered when at the same time, they had KISH on OLTL. I guess now that KISH, much to my disappointment, are being written out, I have my answer. SHAME on you OLTL and ABC.
Scott Evens is a very attractive man, and the gay fans are losing out big time.

cc
Guest
cc

love this. so bittersweet. these guys are amazing and so adorable.

Allan
Guest
Allan

Brett is so sexy! I wish him and Scott both nothing but the best of luck in the future.

Doe
Guest
Doe

Speaking of OLTL, I do not understand how they could possibly have a premature baby who just had heart surgery, go home from the hospital so soon. Talk about taking poetic license. This would not happen!

steve
Guest
steve

Great interview. The guys obviously had no idea what was about to happen. Although I didn’t care for the direction the sl was taking (custody battle) I really liked the couple and they were the reason I watched OLTL. If rumors that unprofessional behavior on the part of the actors is responsible for the cancellation of the characters are true, I hope TPTB will recast the roles and bring the characters back soon. Daytime needs a dedicated and loving gay couple as role models to counteract the many negative stereotypes. Claywell and Evans did a great job, but Kish should… Read more »

Mike
Guest
Mike

I agree, the interview was awesome, and clearly
Scott and Brett had no idea what was in store for them.
as for the rumors of unprofessional behavior, both men deny the allegation and I am one of many who believe them. Brett and Scott are fine young actors who have a lot to offer. I hope they are grow through this experience and that we get the opportunity to see them more in other endeavors.

Jeri
Guest
Jeri

These two young gentlemen are “class acts.” I will miss them so much. In my opinion, they were the two best actors on the show. The fan base they generated in such a short period of time (6 months) is phenominal. Just imagine what they could have done had they stayed with the show and not been terminated. The big loser here is OLTL. Kish was the next supercouple in the making. Too bad OLTL couldn’t see the treasure buried in their own back yard! Instead they have chosen to promote the absolute worst couple in daytime, not to mention… Read more »

Mairead
Guest
Mairead

i disagree vehemently that the roles of Kyle and Oliver could be recast……Brett and Scott created these characters with great love and dedication and their amazing chemistry that made them so special can never be duplicated….they simply cannot be replaced…
They are and always will be the only Kish……….

Priscilla
Guest
Priscilla

I am so sad and angry that we are losing Kish. Scott and Brett are such talented actors and had a chemistry that doesn’t come along too often. The story was unique on ABC daytime, and many of us were looking forward to watching Kish raising Sierra Rose and continuing their careers.

April 16th also will be my last day watching.

wilsen
Guest
wilsen

i’ve done it too, i stop wathciing OLTL after my favorite couple Kish is leaving the show, so i say, fuck them who is homophobia for forcing my two best gay guy ever for leaving the show. i start to write my own story for oliver and Kyle, i write the novels about them but, i cant find where i save the file, guess i have to rewrite the gay love story i have been writing, their story would be the forth gay romance love story i ever wrote

Hendrikje
Guest
Hendrikje

I was watching this interview again this morning and everytime I see it I am amazed with OLTL decision to get rid of these 2 wondefull young man and great actors. Their friendship off the screen is so obvious and they were looking forward to the next fase of their storyline and so were their fans not only in the USA but all over the world. It’s a shame what OLTL has become and I have been a viewer for over 20 years off this show and have many people see come and go but nothing angered me a much… Read more »

Raymond
Guest
Raymond

Excellent interview of the two guys. It is just sad that the producers have decided to end the Kish story, (BIG SHAME) which I believe is the greatest, inspiring, admirable gay storyline ever shown on tv. It encompasses the real situations that a lot of people are in and made it so convincing and real. All respect and admiration to these two great people. I wish that they will bring Kish back on OLTL. I believe, from where and how their story has started will develop into a very interesting and brilliant story weaving into the Llanview community. It will… Read more »

christa lyon
Guest
christa lyon

bravo with brett claywell and scott evans they deisver to come back to the show by this year and reamin in lianview and on going countiue storyline and still raise seirra rose together and it will be great to see brett claywell as kyle leiws and scott evans as oliver fish return to oltl this year of august 2010

wilsen
Guest
wilsen

i never get to watch the complete story of them, when was it from august 2010.?? guess i have to take a journey to youtube to find another video about kyle and oliver after their win siera.

Santi
Guest
Santi

I´ve just discovered ( april 2012 ) through youtube the storyline of Fish and Kyle.I live in Barcelona and I had never heard about this soap opera. Well, I have to say, that I fell in love instantly with Fish and Kyle and their story¡¡¡ I mean it. I really do not use to watch soap operas, actually, I do not watch TV at all, BUT, after this great discovery, I’ve been addicted to Brett and Scott’s storyline. They are great actors, handsome of course,even hot if you want, ok…yes, they are¡¡¡ but above all, they are great actors, and… Read more »

wilsen
Guest
wilsen

i agree with you, their drama, between oliver fish and kyle lewis is the best love story ever. not to mention other character, it’s just so saD. i download their story from you tube too. i keep watching it from the begining of their relationship and untill they win siera rose, their daugther.

jennifer brigman
Guest
jennifer brigman

loved the characters kyle lewis and oliver fish on one life to live they told a great story when they were on the show wish they could’ve come back for the online version.

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Cady McClain & Rob Scott Wilson Talk Being Recasts, All My Children Reboot, Future of Cin & Jennifer’s Bitch-Slap

Current Days of our Lives and former All My Children reboot stars, Cady McClain (Jennifer, Days, Ex-Dixie, AMC) and Rob Scott Wilson (Ben, Days, Ex-Pete AMC) chat with Michael Fairman in an enlightening and exclusive conversation for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.

McClain, who recently took over the role of Days of our Lives beloved heroine Jennifer Horton from mainstay Melissa Reeves (who chose to stay with her family in Nashville during Covid-19 thus forcing the series to recast the role for now) talks about stepping into the key part of the Salem canvas, plus the recent Jennifer/Kate fight over Jack (Matthew Ashford), and how the legacy series is coping with production during Covid-19.

Cady is no stranger to be a recast.  She was the second actress to play Dixie on ABC’s All My Children, as well as the second actress to play Rosanna on As the World Turns, and she had previously taken over the role of Kelly Andrews on The Young and the Restless.

Photo: JPI

Rob, talks about landing the role of Ben and being a recast, and in an emotional moment, reveals how he credits the opportunity to the late producer, Lisa de Cazotte. Wilson also shares his hopes for his Salem alter-ego who is struggling to move on with his life after the supposed death of his wife, Ciara.

The actor also opens up on if DAYS decided to recast the role of Ciara, since Victoria Konefal is not presently with the NBC soap full-time, how he would feel about it and thus the future of Cin.

Photo: JPI

Both Cady and Rob first appeared together in Prospect Park’s online revival of All My Children. In this interview, they discuss how they had high hopes for the continuation of the series, how it ultimately fizzled, and what it was like to be a part of the then, groundbreaking first, for a daytime drama series along with One Life to Live.

Photo: TOLN

In addition, Cady gives the viewer insight on how she runs lines for both DAYS and GH at home with her real-life husband, Jon Lindstrom (Kevin and Ryan, GH), while Rob talks about his recent storyline where Ben was kidnapped and tortured by a vengeful Eve (Kassie DePavia) and much more.

Check out the full chat with Cady and Rob below. Then weigh-in: How would you feel if there was a Ciara recast? What are your hopes for the holidays for Jennifer? What did you think of the stories shared by Cady and Rob in the interview? Comment below, and if you have not done so already make sure to “subscribe” to the Michael Fairman Channel for more celebrity interviews.

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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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