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GH & Former OLTL Writer, Scott Sickles Chats On His New Play Lightning From Heaven! Discusses Writing For GH Characters!

If being a script writer for General Hospital these days is not enough, Scott Sickles is also an accomplished playwright whose new work debuts this Valentine’s Day in New York City! 

Lighting From Heaven tells the love story behind the classic film and the celebrated novel Doctor Zhivago, between poet Boris Pasternak, his muse Olga Ivinskaya, and the Soviet government’s attempt to silence their story.   After Pasternak’s death in 1960 Olga, his lover of fourteen years, was arrested by the KGB. Lighting From Heaven chronicles Olga’s subsequent interrogation and trial, while depicting her and Pasternak’s struggle to complete and publish Doctor Zhivago despite determined Soviet efforts to stop them.

Sickles spoke to On-Air On-Soaps not only about creating Lighting From Heaven, but also the challenges he faced when after writing for a few years at One Life to Live, he came aboard the GH writing team train where he had to write in the voice of many popular and beloved characters.  Here is what he had to say about his exciting new play …  and Port Charles!

Scott on what inspired him to write Lighting From Heaven “I started writing this play in 1998.  My dad found Olga Ivinskaya’s obituary in the newspaper and cut it out and handed it to me and said, “I know you like the movies. She just died!”  I read the obituary and there was such a fascinating life in it that I went and found her memoirs.  I did research on her, and over the next year or so, I put the play together.”

Courtesy/ABC

Scott on why soap fans would love to see the play: “It is a big sweeping epic romance.  Soap fans like romance that is one of the main reasons they watch the soaps.  In Lighting from Heaven, it’s a romance of a couple facing insurmountable odds.  It is about an extra-marital relationship as well!

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Scott on what are the easiest types of soap characters for him to write for:  “After years of OLTL, it is usually easier for me to find the voice of a woman with a sharp tongue! (Laughs)  I loved those characters, and I love Carly on General Hospital after writing ‘One Life’s’ Dorian.  It’s the people who are more secretly witty and who you don’t expect to be funny in a certain way, like Sonny on GH and on Viki on ‘One Life’ that can be fun and challenging.  With Sonny, you picture him being sort of taciturn and brooding and every now and then, you get to let loose and so it was great finding that voice.”

Courtesy/ABC

Scott on some of the more challenging types of scenes to write for on GH thus far: “The really challenging scenes when I got them were between Jason Morgan and John McBain and for the two men to talk to each other. They don’t speak! (Laughs)  It was actually much easier to do once you got into it. And least those two characters only spoke to each other when they had to. So everything they said was important, and that was just great to try and figure out what those two men would actually say when they were in the same room with each other.  I guess I specialize in the voice of the taciturn men! (Laughs)”

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Scott on writing for the character of Damian Spinelli:  “I was terrified at writing Spinelli, at first.  Then I got the hang of it, and then I was told we are making Spinelli sound less like Spinelli, and making him talk like a regular person with an intense vocabulary.  I spoke to GH writer Elizabeth Korte when I came on board at GH, and told her my biggest thing to figure out was … who is funny and how?  And one character that came up was Elizabeth.  You can’t be that beautiful, and suffer so horribly! (Laughs) She is often in those situations where she is heartbroken and then Maxie gets her in face and she sort of grits her teeth.  It’s so much fun to listen to and write for.”

Scott on writing for Maxie Jones as played by Jen Lilley and Kirsten Storms:  “I was happy to write for Maxie, and when we went from Jen Lilley to Kirsten Storms, I was wondering if there would be a sigfnicant change in the voices. I remember Kirsten being different from Jen, but when Kirsten came back, it sort of all clicked.   That was great.”

Lighting From Heaven runs from Valentine’s Day February 14th through March 9th for a limited engagement at the Workshop Theatre Company at 312 W. 36th Street 4th Floor in New York City.  To purchase ticket and show information visit workshoptheatre.org

What do you think about Scott’s comments about writing the characters of GH?  Let us know your thoughts!

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Sheila
Sheila

Sounds like a wonderful play. I’ve always loved both the book and movie version of Doctor Zhivago.

As for GH, I wish there would be more writing for and about Elizabeth.

vicki
vicki

Great interview Michael. I love Scott’ s writing for OLTL…he wrote some great stuff for John and Natalie too, my favorite all-time couple. Now he’s doing some great stuff for GH. His play sounds great. Loved Dr.Zhivago so I’ ll have to get tickets for it.

Ann
Ann

Carly Jacks in the same breath as Dorian Lord? Yeah, I don’t think so.

su0000
su0000

Dorian was sorta like Carly during her heyday ..
Both young, rich , strong, and attracted to same type men and drama etc ..

Alison
Alison

Totally agree with you, Ann. Dorian is a far more complex and interesting character than Carly could ever hope to be.

JEFFERY
JEFFERY

Scott Sickles is a modern-day Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Even Bette Davis would guest star on GH if she were still alive today.

heidi
heidi

Fun interview Michael! I like understanding how challenging it may be to write for different characters and to get the character and actor’s voice appropriate for them and for them historically. The character of Damien Spinelli has to have been a challenge for people to write but they seem to be doing a great job transitioning him with age and experience. I love what has been happening with Carly. Enjoyed hearing the challenge of John and Jason… SB has always gotten flack for his robot like character and portrayel of Jason but it has to have been challenging to write and at times very challenging to emote to get that minimal voice to have come across so well.

Jim
Jim

I feel Elizabeth has become the new Jessie Brewer. Jessie was an important character on GH from the beggining and shoved behind the desk in favor of the newbies. Except for a brief romance with Dan Rooney very little else was done with Jessie and i felt that was a waste for the vet who should have been treated better. Now Elizabeth dont get a thing to do. I think she should fall for A.J. just as Carly starts to fall for him too. At least that would be a start in getting liz back into the picture. Scott did a great job over at oltl and good things at gh too. Before this stuff with Prospect Park I was hoping GH did a brief story arc with OLTL’s David Vickers that revealed him to be the biological father of Damien Spinneli. David did once mention to Mathew he had a kid, and i imagined him to be someone as goofy as David and Spinneli would have been my choice. Scotts play sounds very interesting and i think it would make a great movie too.

Lisa
Lisa

Maxie’s story line in the prison was so annoying. I’d never wish a character off because I’d never wish anyone out of work as that is evil and nasty but every day she wasn’t on I thanked god and when she was I had to put it on mute as I had guests over who don’t watch the show complain about what an annoying whiner she was. Elizabeth needs to stop grinding her teeth, it’s just stupid, no one wants to see others get constantly bullied. I could write a book of all the comebacks I could dish out to Maxie not that I’d ever have someone like that around me.

Lisa
Lisa

this guy is from mars I can’t believe he’d actually say Elizabeth was funny because she was miserable and taunted by a shrill, annoying blond. Misery isn’t funny, people are empathetic and sympathetic, no one finds it funny when a character cries for months about her dead child, followed by being bullied by Maxie. It makes people sad then change it to Ellen.

Jim
Jim

I think its time for them to change Maxis pad. Two rivals living in the same apartment with the man they love? Threes Not Company here, its a crowd. As neighbors ok but not roomies. Keeping them together like that this long is starting to stink, so i feel its time they change Maxis pad.

Alison
Alison

What saddens me is that Mr. Sickles now has to pen Todd’s insta-love for Carly after writing so wonderfully for Todd and Blair. Luckily, I have a DVR and can fast forward through it.

General Hospital

Sonny & Carly Week Of Encore Episodes On Tap For General Hospital

A Carson bonanza is on its way for the week of June 15th -19th when ABCs General Hospital rebroadcasts five pivotal moments in the love story and perils of Sonny (Maurice Benard) and Carly (Laura Wright).

The episodes date back to 2007 through 2016.  One of the emotional highlights is when the duo start to have major marital issue over the loss of their son, Morgan (Bryan Craig).

GH is currently still in COVID-19 production shutdown mode and this week is continuing to airs its encore presentations of the some of the Best of the Nurses Ball episodes.

Here’s what to look forward to for CarSon week:

Monday, June 15 : Sonny and Carly re-declare their love during the Metro Court hostage crisis. (originally aired 2/7/2007)

Tuesday, June 16: Sonny has gone off his meds and begins to spiral. Carly convinces him to resume taking the lithium. (originally aired 9/24/2013)

Wednesday, June 17:  Sonny is in critical condition after being shot. Sitting vigil in the hospital chapel, Carly reads the vows he wrote for her, and remembers their ups and downs. (originally aired 9/14/2015)

Thursday, June 18:  Sonny and Carly get married in the GH chapel.  (originally aired 10/15/2015)

Friday, June 19:  Grieving for Morgan, Carly blames Sonny for their son’s death. (originally aired 10/12/2016)

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So are you looking forward to seeing some of the episodes chosen featuring Maurice Benard and Laura Wright? Comment below.

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Breaking News

Hollywood Studios, Producers & Guilds Send Plan To Gov. Newsom and Gov. Cuomo For COVID-19 Production Restart Guidelines

On Monday, the two states with the most television and film production in the United States (California and New York) received a plan from many Hollywood studios, producers and the entertainment and production guilds of a plan and outline to be able to rejigger and restart production of your favorite shows and films.  This includes the soaps: General Hospital, The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful and Days of our Lives.

Via Deadline: In an effort to get the industry moving-forward again where jobs were lost or put on hold, and production were completely stalled out-of-the-blue, the guidelines submitted by “The Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force (the “Task Force”) is asking for consideration and adoption for the resumption of motion picture, television, and streaming productions in an environment that minimizes the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19,” says a report for Governors Gavin Newsom of California and Andrew Cuomo of New York.

Photo: AP

You can read the details of the report here.  While there has been no word from the Governors and their offices if they have seen the report, bets are that several more steps will be needed before anyone would head and report back to a set yet.

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OLTL's Erika Slezak Message To Her Fans During COVID-19: "I Hope Everyone is Well and That We Come Out of This In One Piece"

As one would expect, limiting contact, social distancing, regular temperature checks, ways to handle props, and a COVID-19 compliance officer for all productions are part of the proposal.   As well as virtual writers room meetings, avoiding filming on-location as much as possible and filming in front of large audiences.

So, glad to know that this major step has been taken to try to get production back on track in Hollywood and New York? Comment below.

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General Hospital

The Best of the GH Nurses’ Ball Continues; Which Is Your Favorite Musical Performance?

As part of its encore presentations, General Hospital is entering into its second week of Nurses’ Ball episodes.

Since the show is currently not in production and ran out of original episodes, viewers are getting to see all the glitz, the performances and the drama that makes the annual ball (which usually airs in May) so fun to watch.

Courtesy/ABC

Look for memorable moments this week from James Patrick Stuart’s (Valentin) when he performed Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes” and Josh Swickard’s (Chase) rendition of Portugal the Man’s hit, “Feel It Still” among others.

Here is a rundown of episodes this week to make sure to catch!

Monday, June 1, 2020 Episode 13565 (OAD: 5/25/16)
Franco gives Jake a helping hand. Carly blackmails Ava. Nikolas stops Hayden from talking to Jordan. Musical performances include: Don’t Go Breaking My Heart by Elton John & Kiki Dee performed by Emma Scorpio-Drake and Eddie Maine, This Changes Everything by Chris Ryan performed by Jake Spencer and Franco Baldwin; a striptease to Demon in Disguise performed by Magic Milo and the Magic Wands -(Felix DuBois, Dillon Quartermaine, Griffin Munro, Curtis Ashford and Milo Giambetti).

Tuesday, June 2, 2020 Episode 13812 (OAD: 5/23/17)
Jake shows Emma and Charlotte the Chimera canister that was sent to him. Jason finds Anna’s Chimera necklace on the floor. Sonny has Morgan’s medication

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Wednesday, June 3, 2020 Episode 13813 (OAD: 5/24/17)
Jake is scared when he sees the Chimera symbol on Anna’s necklace. Valentin tells Anna he sold the Chimera to Helena Cassadine. Michael visits Nelle in the hospital. Musical Performances include: Sara Bareillies’ Brave performed by Emma Scorpio-Drake, Amy Driscoll, Kristina Corinthos-Davis and Valerie Spencer, And So It Goes On by Billy Joel performed by Valentin Cassadine and It’s Not Over Yet performed by Josslyn Jacks.

Thursday, June 4, 2020 Episode 13814 (OAD: 5/25/17)
Sonny and Carly learn that Ava switched Morgan’s pills. Nina takes Valentin back. Anna tells Jason she is looking for a bio-toxin known as the Chimera. Jake sees Helena order him to do his magic trick, featuring the Chimera. Musical Performances include: Faith by George Michaels performed by Ned Quartermaine & Olivia Falconeri, Modern Love by David Bowie performed by Dillon Quartermaine & Kiki Jerome and Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen performed by Epiphany Johnson, Felix DuBois, Bobbie Spencer, Amy Driscoll and Deanna.

Friday, June 5, 2020 Episode 14509 (OAD: 5/17/18)
Curtis proposes to Jordan. Alexis overhears Finn tell Anna he hasn’t stopped caring for her. Sam finds Faison’s lighter in Peter’s office. Musical performances include: Everyday People by Sly and the Family Stone performed by GH Nurses’ – Epiphany Johnson, Felix Dubois, Bobbie Spencer, Amy Driscoll & Deanna and Feel It Still by Portugal The Man performed by Harrison Chase.

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So, with this being week two of previous Nurses’ Ball episodes being rebroadcast on ABC, what has been your favorite musical performance of all-time in the ball?

Check out this week’s promo from GH below, and Josh and James’ performances that will also air again this week.  Then, l

et us know your thoughts via the comment section,

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It’s “Villains Week” on Y&R an that means some Sheila Carter, David Kimball, and Isabella Brana, Check out the promo from CBS Daytime here.  Leave A Comment

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Steve Burton as Jason & Maurice Benard as Sonny

General Hospital

Airdate: 5-19/20-2020

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