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Gay Year in Soaps: Chappell Soap Newsmaker of the Year!

Thom Bierdz

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

With its high drama, convoluted plots, and beauty and brawn, gay men and women have followed daytime soap operas for years, but it was 2009 that truly changed the soap landscape for the LGBT community.   Five network soaps featured same-sex storylines, and each in its own way (some more successful than others) brought the issues of equality, coming out, same-sex marriage, and tolerance to the forefront: As the World Turns continued telling the relationship of Luke and Noah.  One Life to Live told us the coming out story of Officer Oliver Fish, with openly gay actor Scott Evans in the role. They also gave Fish a love interest, Kyle, and the duo became known as Kish. The Young and the Restless brought back Thom Bierdz 20 years later as Phillip Chancellor.  Bierdz, also openly gay, returned to the series for the chance to play a gay version of Phillip, who returns home to confront family and friends with the truth of who he is after living in self-exile. The number one soap also introduced us to gay legal eagle Rafe Torres, who gets seduced by the machinations of “straight” man.

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Courtesy/ABC

But what’s ahead for the boys in 2010?  One Life’s head writer, Ron Carlivati, spoke to us exclusively about Kish. “2009 was all about introducing this couple and getting them together. It will culminate by New Year’s Eve, when they have sex!  As we go into 2010 with the couple solid and committed to each other, it’s about integrating them into one of our bigger mainstreams stories, which is Stacy’s baby, and the audience knows that Fish is the biological father!  Anything can happen once that baby is born and they are an important part of that.”  Carlivati feels the Kish storyline exceeded his expectations. “I always say without a Luke and Noah, I could not have done a Kyle and Fish.  We did a coming out story, and got to touch on the issue of gay marriage and do it with sort of a fun twist with Dorian.  I am glad the audience seemed to respond to it.”  Speaking of Luke and Noah, brace yourself… because the end is near for this beloved duo. It was announced a few weeks ago that As the World Turns has been cancelled as of September of 2010.  But until then, we are told there is plenty on the horizon as we move into the New Year.  Luke and Noah’s relationship continues to be tested.  Noah is still blind, and Luke is pulling out all the stops to get him the help he needs, at all costs.  So, enter Dr. Reid Oliver.  Could the new doc be gay and a spoiler for the boys?  Watch, starting January 19th.

Crystal Chappell

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

On the ladies side, All My Children wrapped up the misfired Bianca and Reese storyline, which at its center had featured soap’s first same-sex wedding ceremony, and Guiding Light gave us Otalia, who became the most popular soap couple of the decade.  The plot: two women previously heterosexual fall in love… with each other.  It was this journey that captivated gay and straight fans around the world.  And even though they never were allowed to kiss, up until Guiding Light went off the air this past September, the duo played by Crystal Chappell and Jessica Leccia had become a cult phenomenon.

Chappell, knowing that the legions of gay fans she had cultivated were ripe for something more than one could show through daytime network television, created Venice, a web-soap which as its core features a same-sex love story. Venice premiered earlier this month, and can be seen via subscription on the series website www.venicetheseries.com, with a new episode posted every Friday.  Venice had over 24 million hits since September.  It is so popular that the series needed four additional servers to handle the web traffic!  It is because of her unwavering commitment to tell people our story, and her tremendous mainstream media profile that has brought awareness to same-sex issues, that Frontiers-IN LA has named Crystal, Soap Newsmaker of the Year. In this special year-end Q&A, Crystal previews Venice in 2010 and discusses her return to Days of our Lives, where she has stepped back into the part that made her soap-famous in the first place, Dr. Carly Manning!

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To download the print version of this Frontiers-In LA feature click here.

Going into the New Year for Gina on Venice, what can web fans look forward to?

Crystal Chappell:

Gina will meet somebody new… Kit Tracy played by Lesli Kay.  She is from London and it’s somebody Gina had met before and she takes a shine to her.  Then there is Ani, who has met somebody, Lara.  But the two of them are still connected, and still coming together and trying to figure out what their relationship is.  They have not completely broken things off.  Also, you will meet Gina’s father.  In the New Year that is what you will be seeing; the reason why Gina has the enormous intimacy issues that she has, and the reason she can’t be with Ani.  The part is played brilliantly by Jordan Clarke. Season one should play out through mid- February, and hopefully, when we shoot season two, we can get it out sometime in mid- March.

Do you hope that, we the audience, root for Gina and Ani to get together, as the LGBT audience rooted for Otalia on GL?

Crystal Chappell, Jessica Leccia

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Ani and Gina have that connection that only happens once in awhile.  It’s easy and they get each other flaws and all.  It’s very accepting and very loving.   It’s other things that are keeping them apart.  In some ways, it’s bittersweet that something broken in one person can stop something beautiful from growing.  Obviously, Ani gets tired of waiting around so she moves forward, too, and it’s the journey of it. I think people will have to watch and see the different dynamics between these couples and see what strikes them.

We are celebrating your achievements as a heterosexual woman who has done so much for the gay community in the past year, and the awareness you have made of our issues.  You have really been one of the celebrity newsmakers of the year for us. What do you feel about that, as the year is coming to an end?

I have always considered this as a privilege.   I believe in love.  I believe in equality, and to me it was a wonderful opportunity to show the world that we are all the same, and to be able to do it in a creative way that is fulfilling.  It’s been amazing!  I am happy to represent their voices, and it continues to be important to do that.

When you returned to DAYS and decided to revisit the character of Carly, has it been all you had hoped for?

I try not to create too many expectations.  I like to be present and open to the experience and certainly this is very different, because I am much more comfortable as an actress than I was 16 years ago.  They brought Carly back with flaws, which is so much more fun to play, and I am not afraid to play them anymore.   As a younger actress, for fear of being disliked, I would not just go for it.  Now, after ten years of playing Olivia on Guiding Light, I was like, “Well, what else could they throw it at me?”

So, all the times back in the 90’s as Carly, when you were emoting all over the place, that was tough for you?

It was very hard for me!  I did not feel comfortable in my own skin, as a person and as an actress.  So it became very technical for me.  My experience over the years as an actor (now that I have gotten older and wiser, hopefully) is to find a more authentic kind of performance. You have to live with these characters you play, and be comfortable with them… the good and the bad.  So on GL, when Olivia was trying to run down Ava with her car, I had to justify her reasons to do that, and you have to go to those dark places.  Olivia taught me a lot about being open to all choices.  Coming back to DAYS, I felt very excited and free to take on this new Carly.

Crystal Chappell, Peter Reckell

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

What can we look forward to from Carly in 2010?

There is so much that happens in 2010.  And that is one of the things I love about this show. You have to watch or you are going to miss it.  Eventually, she does get reconnected to a few people… the father of her daughter, and she gets closer to Bo and that takes an interesting turn, and Vivian is still trying to kill her!

I hear there is a horrible thing that Vivian is going to do.  Last time she did something dreadful.  She buried Carly alive!

It will happen at the beginning of February sweeps. The bottom line is, Lawrence wanted the child dead and Vivian is in Salem to carry out his wishes to make Carly suffer!

Did you know when you signed on to play Carly you would have an older daughter?

Yes, I knew.  Gary Tomlin (DAYS Co-EP) told me that back in June or July.  So they had this pretty well thought out.  I don’t mind being a soap mom, I really don’t.

Well, ATWT’s Eileen Fulton (Lisa) had a clause in her contract that she could never become a soap grandmother!

I get that to a point; you know how it is in soap land.   People are 8 years old one day and 25 the next.  So what difference does it make?  (Laughs)

Crystal Chappell

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

How is flip-flopping in the romance department; making out with a girl on Venice and being hot and heavy with a guy on DAYS?  Any difficulty with that?

I can kiss just about anything! (Laughs).

What would you say is one of the top ten reasons to watch DAYS and Venice?

DAYS –It’s action packed drama, and it moves and it’s exciting.  Venice– It’s sexy and romantic.

What is husband Michael Sabatino, saying about your double duty on DAYS and Venice?

“Where the hell is my wife?” God love him.  He has been so patient.  He knows how much Venice means to me and he is a supportive person, but on occasion he has looked at me and gone, “I am lonely.”   He knows it’s important for everyone involved, and the fans that have been waiting for it.  This has all been the preparation for it, and I am really thinking season two of Venice can go much smoother and we will have a little more time for our family.  God willing!

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Sabrina
Sabrina

awesome post. love Crystal and hope Michael will be less lonely but we still get what we luv to see on Venice going strong!

OtaliaRocks
OtaliaRocks

Crystal has been fantastic this year, and she is a great person to have on our side. One thing though.. Days.. Hmmm.. I’m watching to support her (although being from Team International I am not having any effect on the viewing figures) but, I have to say the quality of writing, acting etc is nothing compared to Guiding Light. I am glad she is having a good time being back there though, and lets face it, in this day and age, employment is good!!

kelltwomyn
kelltwomyn

Thank you, Michael, for the wonderful interview! Crystal deserves many honors for all of her hard work and dedication..and that’s just the fan aspect! She works hard in all areas of her life and we really appreciate that. Bless Michael S. and their boys for being patient.

Valluv1
Valluv1

Crystal always gives a good interview and i love that she’s not afraid to speak up for equality for all. She has worked really hard this year and with episode 3 of venice out her hard work is showing. I thank her husband and children for lending her to us for a while and if i was him i’d miss her to.

Gail Hemenway
Gail Hemenway

Michael, could you please refer to acceptance rather than tolerance? Really, who wants to tolerated? To tolerate essentially means “to put up with”. I think most people would rather be accepted for who they are. To merely be tolerated still leaves one on the outside, on the fringe of humanity. Loved your interview with Crystal. I agree she has done so much. As have you.

maksam3
maksam3

I hope 2010 is an even better year for Crystal Chappell. She’s amazing to all her fans. Politicians could learn a thing or two from her.

Greetings from a Hot South Africa. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

PJ
PJ

Crystal Chappell is the best straight ally the lesbian community world-wide has ever had, and we are so grateful. She is smart, talented, articulate, and hilarious. Venice is a gift from her great big heart to ours. I am also enjoying CC playing Dr. Carly Manning on Days. She is among our most talented actresses. I’d love to see her perform with Meryl Streep! I think CC is certainly the same caliber of actress as Streep and others. I am a grateful and loyal fan.

tvcat
tvcat

Thanks for the interview with the always entertaining Crystal Chappell. She is such a wonderful actress and loves the soap world and the people that love soaps. So refreshing she reached out to her fans this year through the on line media. It was a lot of fun getting to know her at least a bit that way.

buggy
buggy

I think Crystal is a dynamic performer and extremely smart woman! However, her commitment to her fans is one of things that I personally find the most heartening about her. I wish her luck and hope she finds the right balance between her work and family.

irishgirl27
irishgirl27

Thank You Michael for sharing your Goddess with us!

Leslie
Leslie

Gotta love Crystal Chappell!!! She can kiss just about anything…lol Were is the line or do I have to take a number?? Muuaah!!

willie robinson
willie robinson

i hear about crystal chappell all time, when can i hear something about how wonderful jessicia leccia is and is is young beautiful and very talented!!!!

Amber
Amber

I certainly hope that Crystal and Michael are blessed with more time for family and each other. They deserve that. CC has been, in my opinion, the best and hardest working ally for the LGBT community this year. A wonderful and blessed New Year to Crystal and all of Team Venice.

Btw, Crystal kissing anything?…I’m with Leslie….where’s the line for that?

Ashley
Ashley

I believe this will be a big year for Crystal and her fans! Always excited to hear about what she’s doing next. All of her nominations and awards for 2009 are well deserved. ….btw CBS is the scum of the earth.

Happy New Year!

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Wally Kurth, Chandler Massey & Freddie Smith Deliver Gut-Wrenching ‘Power Performance of the Week”

This past week on Days of our Lives brought the tears and the drama tenfold, in one of the most riveting, don’t-miss-a-moment, weeks in recent history on any daytime drama series.

While unfortunately the show did not air on NBC during its regularly scheduled timeslots on all coasts (due to the President Donald Trump impeachment hearings) the episodes were available on NBC.com, the NBC app and on the Cozi TV network.

Photo: JPI

And this week we can not sound-the-trumpets enough for three men; who gave us moments of heartache that will be remembered for some time to come, pulling out all the stops, and showing us why they remain three of the most popular and talented actors in our genre. So many people have been commenting on social media on the authenticity and realness of the performances (yes, it’s within soapy circumstances), but throughout made us feel their pain right along with them.

This was the week that DAYS went back in time to finally show the viewers how things ended up the way they currently are in the time jump that happened last November on-air.  And in five “OMG” episodes, head writer Ron Carlivati and his team laid out for us how one fateful night, “Mother’s Day” changed the course of lives for so many in Salem.

Chief among them, Will (Chandler Massey) landing in prison for Adrienne’s (Judi Evans) death, when in fact, he was not the responsible party at all.  But in these flashback episodes, Will’s relationship with his husband, Sonny (Freddie Smith), his father-in-law, Justin (Wally Kurth) is forever changed because he believed he was the one behind the wheel that caused the crash that ultimately took Adrienne’s life, and took Sonny’s mother from him … and Justin’s wife from him.

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In the flashback to the horrible night: at the hospital, Kayla (Mary Beth Evans) has told Justin that Adrienne didn’t make it following the injury sustained to her head in the accident, and now Justin has to tell Sonny.  He tearfully tells his son,  “We lost her. Your mother’s dead!”  As the men console each other and break down in each others arms, Will, who is there, and who was trying to tell Sonny his part in the accident, is horrified to learn Adrienne died.  Kayla asks Justin and Sonny if they want to say goodbye to Adrienne.  Sonny breaks down again at just the thought of it.  And at this point, we are sure DAYS fans are reaching for the hankies.

Photo: JPI

While Will’s guilt is too much for him to bear, Justin and Sonny go say goodbye to Adrienne, It is here that it was almost too hard to watch, but we soap viewers can’t turn away.  That’s because it was just an unbelievable raw performance from Freddie Smith; as a young man who has to say goodbye to the mother he loves and on Mother’s Day to boot. Then, Justin kisses Adrienne’s forehead, remembers the first time he saw her crying in a flashback, and in tears asks his beloved wife, how is he supposed to go on without her.  In addition, Justin recalls proposing to Adrienne with Kayla there beside him trying to comfort him.

Courtesy.NBC

In the hospital waiting area, Will tries to talk to Sonny to tell him that he caused the accident.  Will blurts out, “I killed your mother.”  Sonny, who is so grief-stricken, can not believe what Will is saying, but then Sonny learns Will was distracted when he was texting his mother Sami on Mother’s Day while in the car because he was so busy. (Yup, Will forgot to do it earlier in the day)  Sonny lets Will have it with: “My mom is dead because you were texting?!” As Sonny’s grief and anger escalates, Justin walks in and learns Will caused Adrienne death and then lowers the boom on Will: “The love of my life is dead…because of you!”

Courtesy/NBC

And if all of this wasn’t enough to have you bawling your eyes out by now, it is punctuated by the ultra-sad moment where a defeated Will has to leave his husband and his father-in-law alone because they don’t want him there.  Before he exits, Will turns to them and says, that he wishes it had been him who died in the crash, as tears stream down his face.

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What powerful and effective performances by Wally Kurth, Chandler Massey, and Freddie Smith.  And so, with all of that said, Michael Fairman TV names this trio the “Power Performance of the Week”.

What did you think of the key scenes in Adrienne’s death and the aftermath featuring Wally, Chandler and Freddie? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

And, for more with Chandler and some behind the scenes content of the car crash, and his thoughts on the storyline, check out his new interview feature posted on the DOOL app Friday night.

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Days Of Our Lives

The Can’t-Miss Week of Days of our Lives: What Happened The Night Adrienne Died? And … More Questions Answered

Make sure to catch Days of our Lives on any platform you can next week! (The President Donald Trump impeachment hearings could alter the regularly scheduled daytime time slot for the series on NBC).  For, it is a pivotal one for fans that have been following along the major storylines of the innovative time jump that started to air last November.

In one emotional week, Sonny (Freddie Smith) and Justin (Wally Kurth) revisit the last day of Adrienne’s life — which happens to be last Mother’s Day.  In addition, Sarah (Linsey Godfrey) goes into labor.  While. Brady (Eric Martsolf) causes tension when he brings Kristen (Stacy Haiduk) to his parents’ townhouse for Mother’s Day.  Plus, Maggie (Suzanne Rogers) gets an upsetting visit from someone from her past.  How does this all tie-in to what went down that fateful night?

The latest NBC promo for the series promises we will learn what happened to Adrienne, especially since on Friday’s episode, Ciara (Victoria Konefal) told Will(Chandler Massey) he is not responsible for his mother-in-laws death AFTER he signed the divorce papers with Sonny.   Plus major intel on what happened to Brady and Kristen’s baby and how Haley Chen (Thia Megia) died, which had left an anguished JJ (Casey Moss) turning back to drugs.

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Catch the preview below.  Then, let us know your theories on what happened last Mother’s Day in Salem via the comment section below!

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Days Of Our Lives

‘Last Blast Reunion’ Chapter 1 Conclusion Available Now On The DOOL App: What Will Become Of The ‘Crew’?

The DOOL app’s digital drama series, Last Blast Reunion picks up the drama on Thursday with the release of episode 8; the last installment of chapter one.

As fans of the series know, Jan Spears has arrived alive and well on the scene, with a mysterious cake!  Is she ready to do in the Last Blast Crew?

Meanwhile, Shawn is held captive and strapped to a bed, thanks to Jan’s longtime obsession with the guy.  How will he be set free?

Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), Heather Lindell (Jan), Martha Madison (Belle), Brandon Beemer (Shawn), and Jay Kenneth Johnson (Phillip) star.

Check out the episode, and make sure to download the app for free if you have not done so already.

Then let us know, what did you think of the Last Blast Reunion series? Would you want to see many of these characters back on the airshows of Days of our Lives? Comment below.

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Freddie Smith and Chandler Massey Interview - Day of Days 2019
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Video du Jour

DAYS Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk chat with Michael Fairman at Day of Days 2019; during their conversation the on-screen dup talk about the latest developments of Brady and Kristen within the series time-jump and more. Leave A Comment

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Genie Francis as Laura

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