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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!

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)”

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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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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Kimberly McCullough Shares Remembrance of the Late TV Legend Norman Lear on the Set of ‘One Day At a Time’

Television legend, Norman Lear passed away on Wednesday at the age of 101 years old. The comedy genius who created, wrote and produced some of the greatest sitcoms of all time died of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Lear’s body of work included: All in the Family, One Day at a Time, Maude, The Jeffersons and Good Times, Sanford & Son, plus the soapy, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.

General Hospital’s beloved Kimberly McCullough (Robin) has been working as a director in the television industry for years now and upon learning the news of Lear’s passing, shared a very touching moment via her Instagram that stayed with her through her directorial career. McCullough had been a director on the reboot of One Day at a Time that featured EGOT winner, Rita Moreno.

Photo: JPI

McCullough expressed: “My hat goes off to your, sir Norman. What a wonderful life you lived. In my very first directing job, only 6 weeks after having a baby, I was feeling fragile and not quite ready to get back to work. On the set of One Day At A Time, you squeezed my chin and said ‘Look at you! A baby directing our show.’ It wasn’t condescending at all. In fact you seemed thrilled by how far we’d come in the industry, giving young women a seat at the table. I replied, ‘I’m not a baby. I just had a baby.”‘

McCullough added: “You gave me nod of approval saying, ‘Even better. You let me know if you need anything.’ That meant the world to me. Thank you for your service of the television industry, of our country and being a stand up human. #ripnormanlear”

In a previous post pictured with Norman Lear, Kimberly shared: “Thank you changing the world with your storytelling. Honored to say I’ve been able to work with you. One time I heard you say “but where is the HEART of the story?” I have a feeling you’ve asked that question a lot…”

The Lear family also put out this statement on the death of the iconic TV genius: “Thank you for the moving outpouring of love and support in honor of our wonderful husband, father, and grandfather,” the Lear family said in a statement. “Norman lived a life of creativity, tenacity, and empathy. He deeply loved our country and spent a lifetime helping to preserve its founding ideals of justice and equality for all. Knowing and loving him has been the greatest of gifts. We ask for your understanding as we mourn privately in celebration of this remarkable human being.”

Tonight, across all network television, an in memoriam card will air at 8PM ET/PT to pay tribute to Lear and acknowledging his influence in the medium.

Share your thoughts on Kimberly’s touching tribute to Norman Lear and the passing of the TV legend via the comment section below.

 

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General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: What are Your First Impressions of Charles Mesure as ‘Mr. Brennan’?

There’s a new villain in town and things are about to get turned upside down for Anna Devane (Finola Hughes), Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) and Curtis Ashford (Donnell Turner) as General Hospital circles back around to the looming mysterious ‘Pikeman’ story and who was the target of the shooting at the Metro Court that put Curtis in a wheelchair.

Last Friday, and into yesterday’s Tuesday, December 5th episode of the ABC daytime drama series, viewers were introduced to “Mr. Brennan” who has to turn out to be the dastardly “Pikeman.”

If his portrayer looks familiar, actor Charles Mesure has appeared in numerous television series and film roles including: Once Upon a Time, CastleThe MentalistDesperate HousewivesBones and more. Mesure is also British-born, but moved to Australia when he was younger, accounting for the fabulous accent “Mr Brennan” has on GH.

Courtesy/ABC

In story on GH, as Sonny was telling “Mr. Brennan’s” minion, Hume that he would no longer run Pikeman’s shipments through his territory, the guy showed up at Kelly’s Diner with an ominous message for Carly (Laura Wright), although she doesn’t know it.

On Tuesday, in his room at the Metro Court, Brennan is upset that Sonny won’t work with him and tells Hume he plans to stay in Port Charles to make sure the shipments to Canada are ready to go. We also learn that apparently the head of the WSB has taken a leave of absence. Brennan reveals that being the director has its benefits. He then says he got rid of Frisco and he can work remotely and now things are falling into place.

Hume asks Brennan who the intended target is in all of this, and he says both Sonny and Anna. “Brennan’s” goal is to force Sonny’s hand to continue the shipments and more. Meanwhile, Curtis on the case as to who is behind his shooting and more.

So, what has been your impressions thus far of GH’s newest baddie as played by Charles Mesure? Let us know in the comment section below.

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General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Chase Proposes to Brook Lynn; Kristina and Blaze Share a Kiss

Finally, many GH viewers got their wish, when on the Monday, December 4th episode of the ABC daytime drama series, Chase (Josh Swickard) got down on one knee (a few times) and proposed to Brook Lynn (Amanda Setton).

At first, Brook Lynn balked at his attempt as she believed Gloria (Ellen Travolta) and Lois (Rena Sofer) were pressuring him to do so. When she tells Chase marriage is off the table he pulls out an engagement ring. Chase reveals he was planning on proposing at Christmas, so he had the ring ready to go. A romantic Chase shares that he doesn’t want to waste one more day as he clearly knows what matters now … her!  With that, Chase gets back down on his knees and proposes again, and this time Brook Lynn says, “yes!” The two seal the deal with a kiss!

Molly (Kristen Vaganos) breaks the news to TJ (Tajh Bellow), that she now wants to accept her sister, Kristina’s (Kate Mansi) offer to be their surrogate, after all the failures they have been through in trying to find a candidate that will stick.  While TJ voices his concerns, he eventually comes around and tells Molly, “Let’s have a baby,” and now seems excited about the prospect of Kristina being the answer to their prayers. They seal the deal with a kiss!

Photo: JPI

Kristina and Blaze (Jacqueline Grace Lopez) get together with a bottle of champagne, since Blaze’s latest song just hit number one on the charts. During their conversation, Kristina asks what is Blaze’s real name? She reveals it’s “Alison”.

Courtesy/ABC

Later, Kristina opens up about her past and her abusive relationship with Keifer, her short marriage to Trey and then how she went away to college and fell for her professor Parker Forsythe (formerly Ashley Jones).  She then reveals Parker went back to her ex. However, Kristina’s takeaway was she realized she was clearly into women. That leaves the moment open for Blaze to make a move on Kristina and the two share a kiss.

Photo: JPI

So, three kisses moved the stories forward on this episode of GH. Which are you most happy about? Chase and Brook Lynn getting engaged? GH moving forward with a same-sex romance for Kristina and Blaze, or TJ and Molly coming together to agree to let Kristina be their surrogate? Three kisses, three different stories.  Let us know via the comment section below.

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