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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Nancy Lee Grahn Chats On Her Daytime Emmy-Nominated Performance and Its Significance

When the nominations were revealed for the 49th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, General Hospital mainstay, Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis Davis), was recognized for her stunning work in the Alexis-centric standalone episode which honored her 25th anniversary with the ABC daytime drama series.

Grahn, is already a two-time Daytime Emmy winner.  She won back in 1989 in a tie for Outstanding Supporting Actress for her work as Julia Wainwright on Santa Barbara along with All My Children’s Debbi Morgan, and again received the honors in that category in 2012 for her work on General Hospital.

Now. she is vying for the gold in 2022 in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category against other formidable actresses including: B&B’s Kimberlin Brown, DAYS Stacy Haiduk, Y&R’s Melissa Ordway, and her GH castmate, Kelly Thiebaud.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Nancy to talk about her decision to enter the Emmy race this year, her powerful and moving scenes, why this nomination is significant and important to her, and her take on some very important social issues of our time.

Always candid, insightful, combined with great humor and wit, here’s what Nancy had to share below, and make sure to check out GH this week when sparks fly between Alexis and Gregory (Gregory Harrison). Will he turn out to be the new beau in Alexis’ life? Stay tuned.

Courtesy/ABC

Congratulations on the Emmy nomination.  How do you feel about being in the running again, especially with the material from your 25th anniversary episode?

NANCY:  You know, I don’t submit myself if I don’t think I have something, and I didn’t last year.  This year, I had the one show, and the first reason I submitted myself was I had the episode that was worthy of the competition. These judges have to sit, and watch this stuff, and very often, it’s hard to watch soap opera scenes.  It really is, unless you’re in it.  It’s a different kind of material that most primetime people aren’t used to watching.  So, it’s tricky business.  I don’t want to put them through anything too awful. I don’t want to torture them and I’ve judged before. It can be a bit tedious. So, for me to submit myself, I thought, it has to be something that isn’t going to torture another human being. The second thing is, older women get marginalized the older they get, and they get diminished very often, and every time we get nominated, it means something different to me.  This time, to me, I want it to somehow be symbolic, or a shoutout to women who are still producing, who have been doing their job for a long time and are still doing it good enough, and that it’s still worthy of respect and recognition.

When we were at the GH Convention back in March, I played the scene on-stage for the fans in attendance of when Alexis goes over to the corner of Kevin’s office and heals her younger self.  You saw the reaction just from the fans.  It’s such a beautiful moment within the story.  What did you think about how the standalone episode was crafted?

NANCY:  It was a different experience for me because GH co-head writers Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor, and script writer, Scott Sickles gave it the attention, but even more to that, they allowed me to participate in the creation of it.  They allowed the director, Phideaux Xavier, to participate.  We all sat in a room.  They said, “You know what?  Make it how you’re comfortable with it.”  There were so many people who gave it time and effort, and Phideaux gets a lot of credit because he came up with a lot of ideas.  So, the little girl in the therapy room wasn’t initially a part of it.  That was Phideaux’s idea, and they let us alter things, and they allowed me to write some words that meant something to me with the character.  Our producers, Michelle Henry and M.K Weir, who I both adore, were also a part of this.

Courtesy/ABC

That is great to hear that you were involved in the collaborative process of the creation of the episode.

NANCY:  We read through the whole script, and we worked it like you would on primetime. We went through it like, “Does this moment work?  Does that moment work?  Does this make sense?  Does that make sense?”  We never do that in soaps.  We don’t get to that.  So, it was a gift to me.  It really was. Chris and Dan, and Scott and Phideaux, and the two producers, generosity in gifting me that experience and making sure that it was to everybody’s liking, was really very special to me, and it meant a lot.

Did you come up with the key lines which summarized Alexis as a person and her journey: “I’m Alexis Davis, and I’m a fighter, and an idealist and an advocate?”

NANCY:  No. They designed it, but we were allowed to enhance and contribute creatively to it, and, we don’t normally have the time to do that.  They don’t have the time to – and you can’t allow people to do that with every episode, to be creatively participating, because it would turn into madness with everybody.

Then, when it came down to choosing the scenes from your anniversary episode to include for your Emmy submission, was that a challenging process of which moments to go with?

NANCY:  I just told a little story with it with the time that I had, and so, I edited it with a friend of mine.  I did a sort of pre-edit on it, I’m good at that, and handed the timeline to our editor, who nicely put it together. It took very little effort.

In my humble opinion, I think that episode featured one of your all-time best performances.

NANCY: Thank you. There was a nice effort from everybody, from the lighting to everybody else, and all the effort Phideaux put into it.  He worked so hard on that!  It was fun for us.  It was like the old days where you really got to work something out.

Photo: ABC

It truly harkened back to everything we knew up to that point about Alexis and her past as well, and included a montage of scenes over the years.

NANCY:  I think it was M.K. who put that together, but when you’re working at the pace we’re working now, to have to sit and put together a montage of twenty-five years, that’s not an easy feat.  Nobody has time for that anymore, but they did it, and like I said, it was really, really appreciated.  My only thought with it is that I wanted it to be relatable to other people.  I didn’t want it to just be some, you know, self-indulgent Alexis episode. I knew that by bringing in the little girl and talking about people being hurt in their childhood and how that makes somebody feel that it was probably relatable to many people, and so it became meaningful to other people and not just me.

Do you think you’ll attend the Daytime Emmys? I know the last time you won you were not present.

NANCY:  Yeah, I’m planning on it.  I mean, barring anything happening! (Laughs)

Does it feel nice to be recognized by your peers?

NANCY:  Of course, it does.  It always does, and way too often, women who are still producing well in their jobs, don’t get the respect and the acknowledgment for it.  So, that’s why I’m saying, this is no small thing, and that I want other women to know that I know that, and that I wish for them the same thing.

What was the reaction of your daughter, Kate and your fiancé, Richard, when you told them you were Emmy-nominated?

NANCY:  Richie goes, “What is this?  Your 18th nomination?” (Laughs). You know what I mean?  It was just kind of like, “Yeah, sure, why wouldn’t you be?” It wasn’t like, “Oh, my God!”  It was like they kind of expected that.  That was nice!  I’m glad they feel that way.  I’m glad they weren’t surprised.  They were like, “Sure!  Of course, you would be.  Why wouldn’t you be?”  I said, “You know, it doesn’t always work like that!”

Photo: JPI

Now comes the part of having to find a dress and all that goes with it for the red carpet.  Do you enjoy that part?

NANCY:  No, I hate that part.  That is my… oh ‘boohoo’, you know?  I mean, I have to find something to wear.  Also, the older you get, that becomes so much less important, and the more makeup, and the more hair, and the more foofy, the more ridiculous I look. I start looking like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.  You’ve just got to keep it simple.

You were talking about women and ageism.  Do you not feel that also exists for men?

NANCY:  It exists for men, but it’s not at all on the same par as women.  I mean, men still get paid more than women, and men still are valued more than women.  I mean, there are exceptions, but if you look in any place of employment, even the soaps, you will typically find the men making more money than the women, and the older the women get, the less they get.  Life’s not fair right now.  It’s fairer than it was, but still the equality game is not won yet.

Photo: JPI

I know how much all of this means to you in terms of equality for women, and people being run out of their jobs because of their age.

NANCY:  It’s just a reality.  It’s not something that I’m hopeless about, but I have a story to tell.  I’ll tell it when the time is right.  It’s life!  It happens in every field everywhere.  When my mom was 70, she was still producing the exact same way she was producing when she was 30, and she got run out, and was replaced by a man who was 40 or something, and there was no particular reason for it.  It was just, “You’re done.  We decided you’re done,” but like I said, it happens everywhere, in every line of work, and that’s why I just wanted to give a shout-out, when you still, after 36 years, can be recognized or shown respect or acknowledgment for what your do.  It’s a very big deal that I am appreciative of and grateful for.

So, rooting for Nancy to win the Outstanding Supporting Actress prize? Happy she was nominated for her work in the the milestone episode devoted to Alexis? Share your thoughts in the comment section below, and to tune-in to the 49th annual Daytime Emmy Awards on CBS and streaming on Paramount+ on Friday night, June 24th.

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General Hospital

GH Alum Sydney Mikayla Talks On Her Daytime Emmy Nomination, Decision To Exit & Her Former Co-Stars

It’s been quite the banner year for Sydney Mikayla (Ex-Trina Robinson, GH) thus far, and she topped it off with her second Daytime Emmy nomination, when a few weeks ago she landed in the Younger Performer in a Drama Series category.  That means, Mikayla will be vying for the gold statuette, but also against some of her dear friends and former co-stars from General Hospital.

Back in March, Mikayla revealed she was leaving the ABC daytime drama series to focus on college full-time where she is a freshman at UCLA. With Sydney’s departure came recasting the role of Trina and the part went in to the capable hands of Tabyana Ali, who is currently appearing on the soap and carrying on the Trina Robinson torch.

As the 49th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards are just around the corner (they air live next month on June 24th on CBS), Michael Fairman TV caught up with the very busy Mikayla, to get her take on all things Emmy including: the scenes she chose for her nominated reel, working alongside with Nicholas Alexander Chavez and creating what would become the popular “Sprina”, the factors that led to her departure and more. Here’s what Sydney shared below.

 

Your former co-stars and fellow ‘Younger Actor’ nominees, William Lipton (Cameron) and Nicholas Alexander Chavez (Spencer) appeared on my Daytime Emmy Nominations livestream special, and both share how thrilled they were that that you got nominated.  I know you’re friends with them, but they just could not have spoken more highly of you.

SYDNEY:  That’s so sweet!  I’ve loved working with them for so long.  It just feels so great to know that they said that.

Photo: ABC

What was on your Emmy reel submission that landed you the nomination?

SYDNEY:  I was a little bit nervous this year, more than last year, because last year was the first time that I ever had a storyline.  So, for this year, I was definitely like, “I’m not really sure how this is going to go,” because there’s just so many new elements that were happening with everything that was going on, for example: Trina getting a more acclimated relationship with her mom, and then we had Cyrus (Jeff Kober) come in for a little bit.  I chose the best moments that really showcased my acting, even though it wasn’t a cohesive storyline from start to finish on my reel.  I’m really glad it worked!  I was a little more on pins and needles for this one, and ultimately, it turned out great.

Photo: IG

Was Nicholas Alexander Chavez in any of the scenes you submitted?

SYDNEY:  He was! I got to show that soft side of Trina, which I really didn’t think we got to see, especially in my first Emmy reel, and her being vulnerable.  We never see Trina really make a mistake, so that was really fun.  Not that her relationship was a mistake, but more that we never get to see her slip up or say the wrong thing, or just put herself out there, and put her heart on the line. I enjoyed being able to play that and then being able to put it in my reel.  Nicholas just made it so easy … what an amazing co-star.  He just made me feel so comfortable.  It was just really fun to do and to include.  I also had scenes with the teen scene …there’s five of us! Of course, I had to include Trina’s standoff with Esme (Avery Pohl).  I think, it was actually the last clip I put in on my reel.

Which was a great scene!

SYDNEY:  Yes, and Avery is so sweet, but she plays evil so well.  So, that was also so incredible to do, just that standoff of: ‘Who’s going to win!?  Trina?  Esme?  What’s going to happen?  What’s going to go down?’  No one knew, so that was really fun, too.

Photo: JPI

Did you include scenes between you and Eden McCoy (Joss) as bff’s Trina and Joss on your Emmy reel?

SYDNEY:  Oh, of course, of course! It was some of those heartfelt bestie moments of her just kind of consoling me, and making sure everything was okay between Trina and Esme. I like those heartfelt moments that Trina had with one of her closest friends on the show, and a great friend in real life, as well.

When you found out you were nominated, who was the first person you called … or was your phone blowing up and you were receiving lots of congrats?

SYDNEY:  This year, with being on a college campus and being in person for the first time, it’s really easy to get sick.  So, I was not feeling too great. I was sleeping in my dorm when the nominations came out.  I still keep in contact with my makeup artist from the show, Ali, and she’s so sweet.  We were texting, and she was like, “By the way, congrats”, and kind of kept texting me, and I’m like, “Congrats for what?” I looked, and I was like, “Oh my gosh!  I got nominated!”  So that was pretty funny, and I screamed through my whole dorm!  I posted a video on Instagram because I wanted to keep everyone in the loop, and I really do feel so grateful.  I feel all of the support from my friends, and family, and the fans of the show. I always try to make a video every year to try to just be grateful, or say ‘thank you’ because I really want to key everyone into this journey.  It was a little bit of a shock, but definitely in the midst of not feeling too well, it was the highlight of my day, for sure!  Now, I am feeling that heat of finals at school, but I am so excited. The Emmy definitely breaks up the stress a little bit, so I’m very grateful.

Photo: ABC

Was there somebody you called to let them know you were nominated, though?

SYDNEY:  I actually called Nicholas and William, first, to say congratulations.  William had called me before I had woken up, and then I called him back, and then of course, I called my mom and dad.  It was also a surprise to them.  I think it was just because I had been so laser-focused on school that looking at the Emmy nominations really wasn’t the priority this year.

Could you believe how popular ‘Sprina’ became so quickly?  They weren’t even a bonafide duo yet!

SYDNEY:  I could not!  I was really shocked, but I was excited to see how much the fans loved it, and how much the fans kind of lived through it. That in turn, gave us more of that ammo to really build that story and build that tension, and to always kind of play those moments in between.  Nicholas did a really great job of that, and of challenging me to always have that subtext, under the lines.  I was really shocked to see how quickly the popularity of Sprina blew up, but I’m grateful that the fans loved it for as long as they.  I hope that they continue to love it with Tabyana Ali playing the part.  She is such an incredible actress and powerhouse.

Photo: ABC

You were so popular in the role of Trina, and now Tabyana is bringing her take on the role.  Do you check in on GH? 

SYDNEY:  Don’t cancel me, but no! (Laughs) I don’t have time to watch TV!  I’m very serious.  I’ve just had so much going on here.  I’m also part of clubs, and leadership is also something that’s very important to me.  I love planning things, and when you’re planning things, that also takes up your time.  So, doing that along with school and just trying to keep my GPA up, I just don’t have the time to check in on it.  I think that was kind of part of it for me too.  On a spiritual level, I always believe that you can’t receive other things in your life, great things, acting or otherwise, until you are able to let things go, and so for me, I knew when I was leaving, I really would have to leave mentally and physically. As much as I love General Hospital (and I really cannot wait to see everyone in person, I really can’t wait to have that big reunion!), I really don’t feel like any part of me is still clinging on to General Hospital. I’m so grateful that the audience has also received Tabyana so well, because that’s exactly what I’ve always wanted.  So, I’m really happy for her, and I’m really happy for both of us.  I think we are both in a great place.

Was making the decision to leave GH a difficult one for you?

SYDNEY:  Honestly, no.  I always kind of knew in the back of my mind that it would have to come at some point because as much as I love General Hospital, I’d really been working for college for all of my life.  I wish someone had told me that colleges really don’t look at anything past high school because I was working really hard in elementary and middle school too!  But that’s my point, I’ve always had this dream of, “I’m going to go to college.  I’m going to get that second education.  I’m going to do really well.  I need to get my degree, and possibly even get my doctorate.”  We’ll see if I even want to go that far, but I know for sure that going to college and getting that bachelor’s was really important for me.  So, I knew that took precedence over anything else in my life.

Photo: ABC

What are you studying?

SYDNEY:  Right now, I’m studying sociology.  That might change.  Honestly, as a freshman it’s just been really general classes, still kind of general science, general math.  We’ll see as time goes on if I still want to stick with sociology. So, that’s also been really fun, and just meeting people, and experiencing the college life.

You’re in a gender-neutral acting category at the Daytime Emmys …   Outstanding Younger Performer. How do you feel about that because you’re actually competing against your former castmates, Nicholas and William, in the same category?

SYDNEY:  Coming to college, you meet a lot of people who are non-binary. I’ve always wondered how that would work when we are going to have more actors who identify as non-binary as our generation starts to get older and as we start getting cast in these movies. I actually think we are kind of moving towards the future and in the future, it will all be smooshed together for all of the categories.  We are going to eventually do away with the Best Actor and Actress because a lot of people don’t identify as either.  I think either way, whoever wins is going to win.  I’m just really glad to be nominated, and it works for me!

Courtesy/ABC

If a role came up in a movie or project that interested you, would you do it, or are you just only concentrating on your studies?

SYDNEY:  We’ll see kind of where life takes me.  It would definitely depend on so many things, of course, but if an opportunity were to present itself, it would definitely just be by a case-by-case basis.  Of course, I’m definitely open to doing things in summer too. During the school year, like I mentioned, it’s really important for me to get this degree.

Photo: SMikaylaIG/ABC

Is there any favorite moment you had from your time on General Hospital as Trina that you wish you could have included in your Emmy reel, but didn’t?

SYDNEY:  There were so many good moments!  If I could include any moment, I would include one of the blood scenes.  I had never worked with fake blood, and it was sticky, but ultimately a good experience.  I was acting, but there wasn’t much of me talking.  It was more everyone being concerned for me, like, “Why is she covered in blood?  What’s going on?”  So, I don’t think I included that as much, but if they just wanted me to include amazing makeup, then I could have put it in there!  So, it’ll always be in my heart.  It’ll always be in my personal reel, and I hope that counts for something!

Photo: TimSchaeffer

I’m assuming you like picking out a dress, and then walking the red carpet?

SYDNEY:  I do!  It’s actually funny because I don’t usually enjoy hair and makeup on a day-to-day basis, but I do think I enjoy the creativity of doing my own look for the Emmys.  I get to be somewhat a little different, like a super awesome version of myself.  I wonder, for celebrities who have to go to red carpets every week if they really like it, but for me to do it a few times a year, I really love it.  I love choosing the aesthetic that I’m going for.  This year, I’m definitely trying to do something classy and stylish.  I’m super excited for you guys to see because I’m beaming even as I talk about it now!

The Daytime Emmys are back to being in-person, after two years of being virtual.  Didn’t you have to tape an acceptance speech last year when you were nominated, in case your name was called?

SYDNEY:  Yes!  It was so funny, one of our producers, Nneka Garland, called me, and she was like, “Oh, it’s going to be in person,” and it just like, snapped for me: “Oh, this is going to be live!” I’m looking forward to that this year.  I’m looking forward to seeing everyone, giving everyone real, in-person hugs!  I can’t wait!

So, are you rooting for Sydney to take home the gold in the Outstanding Younger Performer category at this year’s Daytime Emmys? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

The Young and the Restless Daytime Emmy Nominees Talk Reactions, Reels, and Their Co-Stars

All of the nominated performers from the cast of The Young and the Restless, who just recently received Daytime Emmy nominations for the upcoming 49th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, chatted with Michael Fairman collectively in an exclusive on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel. 

Y&R received the most nominations of any daytime program in this year’s race leading the pack with 18.

Sharing their reactions to being Emmy-nominated, plus what scenes they submitted on their reels; that landed them in the position to be going for gold were: Outstanding Lead Actor nominees, Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott) and Jason Thompson (Billy Abbott), Outstanding Lead Actress nominee, Mishael Morgan (Amanda Sinclair), Outstanding Supporting Actor Nominees, Bryton James (Devon Hamilton) and Jordi Vilasuso (Ex-Rey Rosales), Outstanding Supporting Actress nominee, Melissa Ordway (Abby Newman), Outstanding Younger Performer nominee, Alyvia Alyn Lind (Ex-Faith Newman) and Outstanding Guest Performer Nominee, Ptosha Storey (Naya Benedict).

Throughout the virtual roundtable interview, several of the actors who have won previously including: three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Bergman and two-time winner, Bryon James as well as past winners, Jason Thompson and Jordi Vilasuso gave words to the wise if they should win a gold statuette. In addition, the Y&R Emmy nominee ensemble shared the secret to their collaborative process when working with one another in the fast pace of daytime dramas, and much more.

You can catch the 49th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on June 24th on CBS and streaming on Paramount+ to see if these Y&R nominees names will be called when the envelopes are opened.  In the meantime, you can watch our candid, informative, and heartfelt conversation below.

Now let us know, what did you think of the scenes the Y&R Emmy-nominated performers shared that they submitted? Happy to see them in the race this year? What was your favorite moment from the virtual roundtable? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Cameron Mathison talks with Michael Fairman on taking on the role of GH’s Drew Cain, the latest developments in Port Charles for Drew. his busy career outside of soaps and the loss of his mother and his public battle with cancer.Leave A Comment
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