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GH's Mutual Admiration Society: Maura West, Michelle Stafford & Finola Hughes Talk Girl Power In The Cast Of The ABC Daytime Drama!

Courtesy/NATAS

Courtesy/NATAS

Daytime drama fans know that the female cast of General Hospital rocks the house day after day, and episode after episode!

On-Air On-Soaps Michael Fairman spoke to three of the series prominent leading ladies, Daytime Emmy winners all, who bring it to their scenes and deliver the drama to its viewers: Maura West (Ava Jerome), Michelle Stafford (Nina), and Finola Hughes (Anna) for this very special feature.

This piece entitled: GH’s Mutual Admiration Society was first published and presented exclusively inside the 42nd Annual Daytime Creative Arts Emmy program/almanac that was handed out to all those attending the awards ceremonies. Through the courtesy of the National Academy of Television Arts Sciences (NATAS), On-Air On-Soaps is posting it exclusively online.

General Hospital’s Mutual Admiration Society 

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Leading ladies and dynamic actresses are a cornerstone of the daytime drama genre.  For it’s the actress and their characters that, more often than not, propel the stories. Whether it be through love and romance, danger and intrigue, revenge and murder, a health crisis, or an unspeakable tragedy, it’s watching the resiliency of determined women come through the toughest obstacles and persevere that hooks the audience for days on end.

On ABC’s General Hospital, the cast has an embarrassment of riches in the female cast department; many Daytime Emmy winners, who have either been the center of dramatic story over the last year, or supported their female counterparts.  In a daytime coup, GH’s executive producer, Frank Valentini, brought Maura West (Ava) and Michelle Stafford (Nina) to the 52-year-old series, and immediately built a harrowing story between them.  Maura and Michelle joined the ranks of such GH notables as: Laura Wright (Carly), Jane Elliot (Tracy), Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis), and Finola Hughes (Anna), building a tough act to follow for anyone in the medium.

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

West, Stafford, and Hughes discussed being part of this wildly talented girl group, and if there is ever a feeling of competition for airtime, and more, between these titans.  Michelle relates: “You want to be in a group of people who lift you up, and that inspire you to work harder.  There’s no bitchiness with anyone here.”   Maura concurred: “The women are unbelievable on this show.  I’m a human being, so you’ve got to sift things out, and check it out.  For instance, look at Laura Wright.  She works on her scenes, never tries to undermine me as a woman, or an artist, and that’s why GH is such a great place for a women, and that’s why all these women are there!”  Finola Hughes says egos are checked at the door at the studio, “I don’t feel that, or see egos.  Michelle coming in to the show was amazing.  Maura is a powerhouse, and that bubbling under the surface thing she does scares the you-know-what out of me.  Then, I get to work with Vinessa Antoine (Jordan) all the time, and I adore her.  Then there is Jane Elliot, who is just so superior and strong, and then Nancy Lee Grahn.  She is one of the great listeners in this profession.  On GH, Nancy and my paths do cross, because we are on the same side of the law.  All of the other women I can’t really talk to, unless my character is arresting them!” (Laughs)

Courtesy/ABC

2014, saw one of the biggest water cooler moments of the year, when a disturbed Nina Clay drugged her arch nemesis, Ava Jerome, with two syringes – one to paralyze her and then another to induce labor – in her plot to kidnap Ava’s newborn baby and make it her own.  The scenes between Maura West and Michelle Stafford were can’t miss TV, and put these women in some very emotionally draining, and dark scenes.  Michelle discussed how she and Maura were able to create the scenes:  “When you have a rival female character to play off of you, there has to be a lot of affinity between the two people, or some sort of understanding between them, to make it work.  It’s as important as a love story.  Maura really sold it.  When she had the heavy lifting, she really needed me to be there in the scene with her, and vice versa.  Your partner is so important, and Maura is the best partner…the best!”  Maura echoed: “This is like a mutual admiration society!  I feel the same for her, and I will say this: there’s always this idea that women actors are vying for something, they’re fighting for something, and they must not like each other, and that there’s always that sort of edge to it.  It’s just not the truth.  When I worked with Michelle in all those scenes, I trusted her.  An actor will come into the scene wanting to lift you up as a scene partner – or suck you down – and Michelle lifts you up.  On General Hospital, there are so many actors that are the same.  They lift you up.  They want it to be good.  I’m so grateful for Michelle for those scenes.  I was so concerned about it.  I remember leaving the studio in tears going, ‘What am I doing?’ Then I saw them on the screen, and I was like, ‘Thank God.  I love them!’”  Finola Hughes weighed-in on the scenes between the dynamic duo: “It was very intense.  It was extraordinary, and they made it work.  Maura playing the devastation was phenomenal, and Michelle making that insanity work.  There was a very light touch Michelle had on certain speeches, which was sort of unnerving, because she was almost removed from the situation, and in her own head, which I thought was a key.  There was a lot of spookiness on how she delivered those.”

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

While widely lauded and praised for their work, Finola, Maura, and Michelle still are appreciative and thrilled to have won Daytime Emmys for their work, as voted on by their peers.  Hughes has won once, while Stafford and West have won twice each.  The ladies agreed that their initial victory was quite memorable, but for different reasons.  Finola took the Lead Actress prize in 1991, but she could not attend. “I had to go back to England to get a green card,” she recalled, “And it just so happened to coincide with the Emmys, and I had to do it, or I couldn’t stay in the country.”  But Hughes did have a celebration of sorts upon hearing her name was called, “I was in London at the time, and probably at my interview at the British Consulate.  I had been out with my brother, and I got back to my hotel, and I had forgotten about it.  When I came back, there was a telegram, saying ‘Congratulations!’  When I got back to LA, my dressing room was decorated like crazy.  It was really sweet.  A couple of my friends had ballooned it out and I could barely open the door!”

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

West recalled her first win in 2007: “I said to my kids before I left to come to LA for the ceremony, ‘What should I do if I win?’  And my son Joe knew what I was wearing of course, which was this gown, and you know I don’t dress like that every day!  He said, ‘You should curtsy.’  I said, ‘Well that’s it!  I’ve gotta curtsy!’  The win meant so much to my husband, to my family, to the people who love me, and people who watch my work every day, and my parents, too.  I always wanted an Emmy for other people.  I never wanted it for myself.  I wanted it, because I wanted my children to see their mom.  I so wanted it for my grandma, before she passed, to see her granddaughter do this.”  Michelle Stafford’s first win was a mixed bag: “It was not the most fun night of my life, until Drake Hogestyn (John, DAYS) said, ‘Michelle Stafford’ when he opened the envelope.  I was absolutely stunned.  I didn’t even know what to say!  I used the word ‘dynamite’ in my speech, like have you ever heard me say ‘dynamite’?   Where does that come from?  It’s like from my freaking twin soul sister!  It was so funny!” (Laughs)

Courtesy/ABC

Hughes, Stafford, and West play three very complex women on GH:  One is a federal agent trying to uphold the law, one is trying to put the pieces of her life together after losing 20 years being in a coma, and the other is gangster who has murdered and manipulated people to get what she wants, desperate to be a mother to her newborn daughter, and surviving cancer!  “Ava’s gone through so much and is still kicking, that’s me, and that’s her,” Maura says passionately.  “It’s a pleasure as an actress to have a complete rainbow of a character to play.”  As for Nina, Michelle Stafford says she wants her character to still be teetering on the edge: “I really don’t want her stabilized.  I think that’s boring.  I think it’s very real that she’s unstable.  There are many people in life like that.  I want her to have that element, where she is fabulous, but underneath she is completely unhinged, where she could lose it at anytime.”  As for agent Anna Devane, it looks like she may have a new love interest in her rival Agent Sloane (Grayson McCouch) Finola noted it’s nice to have some sexually-charged scenes as a veteran actress on a soap: “We are not dead yet! (Laughs) It’s fun.

As for the array of girl power in Port Charles, and the TV landscape, Hughes summed it up best: “It’s very cool to be a woman working on GH.  I think it’s cool to be a woman working on television.  It’s a good time right now for all of us.”

What did you think of what Maura, Michelle, and Finola had to share about working with each other, and the powerful ensemble female cast they are a part of on General Hospital? Comment below!

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PatrickediebaileyRoseShayCeeCee Recent comment authors
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me
Guest
me

Unfortunately, what these women don’t seem to realize (or don’t want to admit publicly) is that the lives of their characters STILL revolve exclusively around men. What they do, what they want, what they say, why they do what they do – it’s still driven around getting a man. And that means that nothing has changed since the 70s.

Even the great Tracy Quartermaine has been reduced to a giggling school girl, picking out her jewelry for her engagement party to a man.

Harry
Guest
Harry

Yep, Me is right. (That sounds grammatically incorrect).
Me doth not protest too much.
Tracy does disappoint the way she fawns over Luke no matter how abusive he is. And while this article does not feature Nancy Lee Grahn, Alexis is even a bigger disappointment with her propensity to believe and follow every pretty, lying bad boy, with a pretty waxed chest, who comes her way.

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

Since the 70’s, me? Getting a man is age-old. Why should the 21st Century be any different?…LOL.
I think the writers should know better…..women do not need men to survive…that includes sex…

And, Harry….me, in this context, does not sound grammatically correct….but, that is just what me chooses to use…..so, it is forgiven. Look to whom I am talking…!! The grammar whiz.
However( and I will get blasted by some), Nancy Dillingham, writer; poet; English teacher extraordinaire, makes continuous, egregious grammar mistakes….and, I do not mean typos.
(Sorry, Nancy…..alack, ’tis true, young lady!!!!!)

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

Women should never be underestimated or under appreciated! My best friend is a women and she holds her marriage together by being strong, smart and optimistic. Her mothering skills are next to none! Women can and should be powerful BUT they need to understand that men still want them to be feminine and vulnerable. Please do not define vulnerable as being weak. No, men still like to be strong and protective. [Masculine]

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

Hi, Timmm. Long time no talk. I ken what you are saying, albeit a smidgen archaic. But, we are talking about apples and oranges here. I am saying that women today can make a living and taking care of business without depending on a man to put food on the table. You are talking about emotional dependence….something we all need. Furthermore, why do men need to feel masculine? If a man is confident and sure of himself as a man, then he does not need a pacifier (binky). The instinct to protect their women comes naturally for men. I would… Read more »

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

Awwww, harry…I was being sarcastic, too.
By the by….I enjoyed your Sesame Street reference…LOL. You are one of a kind, Harry. I love it!!!

Rebecca1
Guest
Rebecca1

I don’t necessarily agree, ME. While it is true that they want love…who doesn’t! It’s not like they’re portrayed as man hungry…. Tracy truly lives Luke. I think her loyalty and devotion is rare in soaps; instead of bailing at the first hint of trouble…Tracy has supported her Luke through illness. When she felt mistreated or taken advantage of…she dumped him. He had to win her back. Anna is as independent as they come. She has lived a life of high risk and adventure…many times without a man. She, too, broke up with Duke when he didn’t meet HER standards,… Read more »

Harry
Guest
Harry

Rebecca, can you believe we actually agree about Alexis? And I cannot stand Julian–that pretty boy metrosexual! (not there is anything wrong with that).
Put on a shirt Julian!

Cee Cee, I was kidding with the Me reference.

When Anna is lined up with Ava, Nina, Tracy, Alexis and Kiki, all I can think of is that Sesame Street song,”One of These things is not Like the Other.”

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

Good synopsis Rebecca.

rebecca1
Guest
rebecca1

Harry…it was obvious you were kidding with the ME thing (it was rather witty…as was your joke that went “thud” to Su…) …and…we agree on more than you realize. Alexis, Ethan, AJ, agism…just because I don’t join in on or like the Alexis “boob” bashing or the incredibly irritating “Sappy” “sparkle pony” comments…shudder…blech!!! doesn’t mean we dont’ see more eye to eye than not. Love your posts! 🙂

rebecca1
Guest
rebecca1

Timmm. Thanks! And glad you could actually discern what I was saying through my ever-present auto correct word mistakes! Soooooooo annoying. I’m still clamoring for an edit or cancel option so we can have redo’s if need be! lol…

Rose
Guest
Rose

I think we all have valid observations on this thread. For me women and men all start from a basis DNA model, albeit archaic in today’s society, but still overpowering. It’s a broad brush, and certainly doesn’t apply to 100% of either…that of women as nesters and daily nurturers…men providers and protectors. But both men and women want to be appreciated and loved. Even when you look at nature the males and females appearances can be different…I’m saying this as the red male Cardinal and more muted female are at my bird feeder. GENERALLY, some of this also comes from… Read more »

Rose
Guest
Rose

Sorry if I got a little carried away on my comment. Maybe a little too philosophical for MF. But also maybe why I have some room on my right-brain side not to be too critical of affairs of the heart. Impatient maybe, but we’ve all got baggage and needs that can be our Achilles heel.

Melissa
Guest
Melissa

Excellent read. Maura, Finola, and Michelle, along with Laura, Jane, and Nancy are the best of the best!

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

Yes, Melissa….most of these women make the screen shake, rattle and roll……first-rate acting.
I must adhere to what I most wish for Michelle; that is, I would like to see Nina in true-Michelle-form. Lose the waif-like demeanor.

su0000
Guest
su0000

wow!

No other soap has a power cast of woman as GH..
It is unbelievable the greatness of these woman/actors.

Maura West (Ava Jerome)
Michelle Stafford (Nina)
Finola Hughes (Anna)
Laura Wright (Carly)
Jane Elliot (Tracy)
Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis)
Donna Mills and on goes the list..
——- A true Dream Cast… Magical.

cooks7570
Guest
cooks7570

I think Nina should have more scenes with other characaters. I like Anna and Sloane together. I think the show is getting a little better these days.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

Nina and Rosalie : the showdown with the “Q” stock…. Rosalie tells Michael the sale didn’t go thru…. MIchael goes home… and Rosalie congratulates Nikolas and hands him the shares of stock. Wednesday’ “ep” : Nina was pulled together …. and finally… looked as hot as all get out! stop with the ??? gangly physical slump and awkward … sit up straight, statuesque, a woman in charge NOW what are the writers doing to Nina? it took so long for MS’ Nina to get this far…. as you’ve said…. “I think Nina should have more scenes with other characaters” I… Read more »

Jenn
Guest
Jenn

I love Nina and Franco but their current story line not so much. I want them to be the fun scheming power couple a la Keith and Gina from Santa Barbara. GH already has it tumultuous pairing with Sonny and Carly.

ediebailey
Guest
ediebailey

Patrick, I agree totally with everything you wrote. Roger Howarth is the actor who drew me to GH and is why I keep watching. Seeing him betrayed by Carly and Nina in less than a year is way too much to take. I loved the uniquely magical love story of Franco & Nina, first when they fled to Canada and then at Shadybrook. When they were free, I was so looking forward to them taking Port Charles by storm especially after Franco managed to get Ned’s ELQ shares; only to be devastated now by Nina’s horrible treatment of Franco. Sure,… Read more »

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

@Edie : first…. what a beautiful post people : have to echo : “…Seeing him betrayed by Carly and Nina in less than a year is way too much to take. I loved the uniquely magical love story of Franco & Nina, first when they fled to Canada and then at Shadybrook. When they were free, I was so looking forward to them taking Port Charles by storm especially after Franco managed to get Ned’s ELQ shares; ” Monday’ ep : I was so livid with the writers…. frustrated that Nina was at the floating rib… telling Silas everything… it… Read more »

Harry
Guest
Harry

Nina is a colossal flop! The writing afforded her has been God awful and she has shrunken to the occasion.
Nina has become fast forward material and all the mugging, posturing, lip chewing, scene chewing antics which got her through her Y&R days is not enough to make Nin a viable, believable character anyone remotely cares about.
The writing given to AVA is also just dreadful but at least West is a decent actress.

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

They are both good actresses. Ava gets the better material. Sadly, this has not been a good ride for Michelle.

Nick D.
Guest
Nick D.

Great piece of writing and amazing interviews!

Rodd
Guest
Rodd

Love them all. GH rocks!

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

Denise / Ava and Silas : flashback scenes and concurrent @MarySF this is it…. Wednesday Ep: as the show ends… with Silas telling Ava… he gave her Avery’ bone marrow I was crying ???? the bigger mystery; did Ava take off from the hosp and assume this new identity ? I am loving the mystery with Ava and Silas can’t wait to see how Denise reacts to Avery Silas has some work to do… as he silently keeps all he knows to himself a part of me doesn’t want Morgan to move on with Kiki… as this is going on…… Read more »

Mary SF
Guest
Mary SF

Yes, I was very happy with the flashbacks– had to wait a long time to see those scenes but I’m just glad we got to see them and they were as good as I imagined them being. I think it was implied Silas released Ava from the hospital on the condition she would disappear, but instead she headed to Delia’s and with her mother’s help they invented Denise and everything she would have to do, to become her. I certainly hope “Denise” doesn’t try to get Morgan away from Kiki- I liking the vibe between her and Silas, but that… Read more »

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

The real question is, Patrick…how will Avery react to Ava? We have already had a peek of how Ava reacted to the baby. The eyes tell all.
Normally, babies to react to their true parents…it’s instinctual. Obviously this tiny, gorgeous little cherub will not react as she would to her bio mother, but, I am sure Maura will be able to coax her, and pull it off.
This is what separates Maura from the rest….did you notice the softening of her face when her eyes rested on the baby. These little nuances about the actress always take me aback. What a performer!!!!

Shay
Guest
Shay

Well, I guess we have our answer now, CeeCee!!!! What a beautiful scene between mother and child….sweet yet bittersweet, heart-warming but heart-breaking, all at the same time! MW pulled off one powerful performance….Ava MUST reclaim her child, and soon!!! Even if it means that she will need to flee with her daughter, this is a reunion that just has to happen. I simply cannot abide another day of that idiot Mikey and his sub-par servant of a nanny, Sappy, having physical custody of that adorable munchkin!!!! It’s too sickening to witness…..

JUDY
Guest
JUDY

REAL TALENT……REAL GIRL POWER ON GH!!!!!!

Lucerne
Guest
Lucerne

Great interview. I concur with Finola on finally getting a love interest she has chemistry with.

B
Guest
B

I’m so thankful for this cast. After OLTL I needed something good, and this is the only other daytime show I will watch. It’s got a power house cast and I love them!!

Double Z
Guest
Double Z

When will the time come when your headline will read…” Women power”?

Cathy
Guest
Cathy

This was GH not OLTL the first mistake FV made. Or was it a mistake? FV lost OLTL and tried to make GH into OLTL. If I wanted to watch OLTL I would have. There was a reason OLTL got cancelled. So,why try and ruin GH.

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

With all due respect, Cathy. I beg your pardon???????!!!!!!!!!!
There are many of us who DID choose to watch OLTL.

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

I agree CeeCee, OLTL and AMC had their fans and ratings. ABC didnt want to carry the financial burden any longer, fronting the money for three soaps. Its cheaper to televise a cooking show and show someone the 330th time how to gut a watermelon and use it as a bowl!

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

@Timmm.
You’re so right, Timmm. I do not watch cooking shows….actually, I am so sick of all the time dedicated to culinary entertainment.Everywhere I turn; there they are!!

And, I will always bemoan the loss of OLTL and AMC……I will always defend these shows as having some of the best actors/actresses/characters on daytime.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Great article! This is the most talented cast from top to bottom on GH since I’ve been watching the show. It’s a pleasure to watch every week. Even when the writing isn’t necessarily up to par, the acting is always on point, in my view. Finola has been in a class by herself for 30 years now, and I think Maura and Michelle have been great additions to the show. We can all have our opinions on the material they’re given to work with, personally I think they’ve been given mostly good stuff, a few misses, but the point is,… Read more »

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

You said it Dan and I dont know how they afford all this talent but we the viewers are spoiled!

trisha
Guest
trisha

There is a clear and wide disparity between the stories these actresses are getting. All wonderful actresses to be sure but until they are ALL given equally explosive writing that identifies them as leads I will continue to feel that there is a distinct bias toward those actors who have been brought to GH more recently by the current regime. The constant singling out of MW, And MS by giving them days and days of screen time along with integral story dialogue while others actresses get a few,lines here and there without writing that truly focuses on their character only… Read more »

KansasGuest
Guest
KansasGuest

Well, not everyone has A stories at the same time. There have been down times for Finola Hughes, namely when all the Maxie-Lulu-Britt-Sabrina baby stuff was going on. It’s cyclical. And, ironically, it was the maternity leaves of the actresses playing Sabrina & Maxie that initiated shifts to different actresses & storylines. Sometimes situations come up and the results take on a life of their own. Sam has had plenty of meaty stuff to play in the past 2 years. Ditto Tracy, Bobbie, and Carly. My gosh, Carly has had a gold mine of stuff opposite Franco, Sonny, her sons,… Read more »

Jenn
Guest
Jenn

GH has the best female cast of all the four soaps IMO I don’t feel like GH has been utilizing these ladies enough lately unfortunately. Things have been very male driven – or I should say Sonny and Luke driven. I truly believe that has hurt the rating a little. The Denise story line is bizarre but I was happy to see Ava back and reconnecting to Morgan. (Bye Silas) Nina is still the nut I adore but I don’t feel she is as in control and smart as she used to be. The Ric marriage would be better if… Read more »

General Hospital

Cailtin Reilly to Appear in General Hospital Tribute Episode to Her Father John Reilly

Tik Tok star, Cailtin Reilly, who is the daughter of the late soap veteran, John Reilly, will play a key role in the General Hospital tribute episode in her dad’s honor.

According to Variety who broke the casting news, Caitlin will portray Annie, formerly known as Anna, the daughter of her father’s character Sean Donely and Tiffany Hill (Sharon Wyatt).

In a statement on her casting,  Caitlyn expressed: “Words can’t describe how honored I am to be playing my dad’s daughter on the show. I grew up on the set of ‘General Hospital,’ watching him work for years, so it’s exciting to dive into a new character in honor of him. He’ll absolutely be by my side in spirit on set rooting me on. It fills my heart with gratitude to be a part of this tribute to him, and to feel so close to him working on a show he loved so much doing.”

The character of Anna was last seen on-air back in August of 2013, when she was portrayed by Courtney Halverson. In story at that time, Sean was poisoned by polonium and he teamed up with Luke (Anthony Geary) to track down the man who extorted millions for the cure, while Anna repeatedly got in contact with that man to get the medicine her father so desperately needed.

John Reilly passed away back in January 2021.  The talented actor first appeared on GH back in 1984 and last appeared on the daytime drama series back in 2013.

So, looking forward to seeing Caitlyn playing Sean and Tiffany’s daughter? Comment below.

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General Hospital

Lynn Herring Celebrates 35th Anniversary of Her General Hospital Debut; and ‘We Love Lucy’

Today, April 11th marks the 35th anniversary of the debut of Lynn Herring on General Hospital as Lucy Coe.  And wow, when you look at the road this character has gone on played to the hilt by Herring, it has been one entertaining ride for GH fans along the way.

Lucy started out as a mousy librarian, if you can believe that! And of course, she eventually showed all that she was a bombshell.  She then became quite the schemer and seductress.

Along the way, Lucy was married to Alan Quartermaine (Stuart Damon), was involved with Scott Baldwin (Kin Shriner), Kevin Collins (Jon Lindstrom) and other men in Port Charles.

 

At one point, Herring took the character of Lucy to the now defunct Port Charles where she stayed from 1997-2003,

But this one time gold-digger eventually became the champion of the GH Nurses’ Ball and helped raise awareness and funds for HIV/AIDS research. Now, year after year, the one thing you can always look forward to is Herring’s hilarious antics and sincerity in her star turn as the emcee of the annual fundraising event.

On Sunday, the GH tweeted posted: “Lucy Coe knows everything about everyone in Port Charles and we would be lost without her. Please help us congratulate TheLynnHerring on the 35th Anniversary of her #GH debut”. 

Lynn responded sharing: “Thank you! Have loved every @GeneralHospital  moment!”

Share your congratulations to Lynn via the comment section below, and let us know your favorite Lucy moment too!

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General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: “I’m Alexis Davis, and I’m a Fighter, and an Idealist, and an Advocate”; Nancy Lee Grahn Gives Masterful Performance In Special Episode

When you combine superb direction, writing, production, and acting in a special episode of a daytime drama, viewers can see and understand the thought and care that went into it.

This was more than on display during Thursday’s highly-anticipated ‘Alexis-Centric’ episode honoring the 25th anniversary of Alexis’ portrayer, two-time Daytime Emmy winner, Nancy Lee Grahn, on General Hospital.

Courtesy/ABC

In the story, symbolism was apparent and used for dramatic impact and it worked beautifully throughout, and best of all, Nancy received a script worthy of her immeasurable talents, and showed us once again why she remains one of the gold standards of our genre.  If you have not seen the episode DO NOT read any further as it contains spoilers.

It begins with an emotional Alexis looking at her mother’s watch which was still frozen from the time of her death.  While playing one of her mother’s records very loudly, she recalls Mikkos Cassadine kissing and dancing with her mom as a young Alexis (Natasha) looked on from the staircase.  When Sam asks her about it, Alexis shares that she sees the watch as sort of a representation for her own life being frozen over the last three years; which has included Alexis’ battle with booze taking over her life and her being disbarred, when being a lawyer was the way she identified herself and what gave her purpose.

Overwhelmed and anxiety-ridden, Alexis hightails it to Kevin’s office for a therapy session knowing she is going to Pentonville in the morning to serve her sentence.  She says she does not know who she is anymore.  Then, Kevin asks her how she spent her day thus far.  She flashes back to lunch with the good men in her life, Finn, Valentin, Jax and Ned.  Valentin tells Alexis she is proud of her for honing up to her mistakes.

Back at the therapy session, Alexis she was an attorney who stood for something and her life has derailed, and that she was a fighter, an idealist, and an advocate.  She knows she has to find a purpose in prison to make it through the three-year term and asks Kevin to help her find one.

Kevin wants to go back to when she was a little girl and her memories that are flooding back to her of Mikkos and her mother.  Just then, the younger version of Alexis is huddled in the corner of Kevin’s office, an image of her from the past.  Alexis tries to come to terms with her father and the choice of dangerous men and relationships that have marred her own happiness  … recalling Julian holding a knife to her throat like Mikkos did to her mother. She says he was one of the toxic men in her life, but Kevin reminds her all of the men in her life were not toxic.

Alexis starts with Ned as one who was good for her saying he was always stable, but she ruined that by recently sleeping with him and putting a wedge in his marriage to her long-time friend, Olivia.

We then flashback to earlier in the day, where Alexis ends up in an almost confrontation with Olivia.  However, Olivia tells her she misses the Alexis Davis she used to be and to get her back.

Now back with Kevin, a guilt-ridden Alexis relays she feels responsible for Neil’s death.  Kevin interjects she is not, nor what happened with Julian.  When Kevin attempts to bring up Mikkos again, Alexis rejects it and is angry that he is making her problem about daddy issues; like so many other women.  She vehemently shouts that the men in her life do not define who she is.

Then, Alexis flashes back to hurtful memories she has buried of a young Natasha witnessing Mikkos calling her mother a “greedy little bitch”.  She recalls it was on Christmas Eve and that Mikkos stopped by to give them gifts. That is when he presented her mother with the watch.  However, things took an ugly turn when he tried to leave, and she threatened to tell Helena all about her and Natasha. Next, Mikkos slapped her and that is when the watch shattered. As all this was going down, a young Natasha watched from the stairs and was horrified that she couldn’t stop her father from beating her mother and remembers how helpless she felt.

However, Alexis reveals to Kevin she thought this would be the last of Mikkos coming by, but he returned on New Year’s Eve and her mother took him back into their lives.  Alexis is beside herself that she could not protect her mother, but Kevin reassures her to remember she was just a child.

Courtesy/ABC

It is then we come to the crux of the story.  Alexis looks over in the corner and sees her younger self crying. She goes to her younger self and tells her nothing that happened was her fault, and that their father was damaged and cruel. She tells the young Natasha this shouldn’t have been her burden to carry alone, and that she deserves to be happy. Then in the moment of strength and coming full circle, Alexis introduces herself to the young Natasha, “I’m Alexis Davis, a fighter, an advocate, and an idealist … and I will take care of everything from her on out.”  In that moment, Alexis embraced herself, and forgave herself, so she could move on with her life.

Alexis then flashes back to earlier that night, as the Davis girls gather for a faux graduation ceremony so Alexis could see Molly in her cap and gown and they hug. Back in her session, Kevin remarks that Alexis has repeatedly defined herself as a fighter, an idealist, and an advocate, and reminds her she has three daughters who have those qualities, and that all she needs to be is Alexis Davis.

Then, we get a heart-warming montage of Alexis though the years in honor of Nancy’s 25th anniversary with GH.

Courtesy/ABC

As the episode concludes, it is the next morning, and Alexis enters Pentonville and enters her jail cell. There she meets her fellow inmate, who is studying law books to prep for her upcoming parole hearing. Alexis introduces herself as “Alexis Davis” and as someone who can help her.  We then go back to her mother’s watch which now begins ticking at Alexis’ home.  The show fades to black.

Kudos to Daytime Emmy winner, Phideaux Xavier for his outstanding direction, head writers: Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor and script writer, Scott Sickles for the thoughtful episode, EP Frank Valentini and his production crew for putting it all together, and the one and only Nancy Lee Grahn for a performance that will be remembered as a classic.

Share your thoughts on today’s on Nancy’s ‘Alexis-Centric’ episode via the comment section below.

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Y&R’s Joshua Morrow, Amelie Heinle, Mark Grossman, Hunter King and Melissa Ordway chat with Michael Fairman about being a part of and portraying the Newman Children as the show celebrates its 48th anniversary.Leave A Comment

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Nancy Lee Grahn as Alexis

General Hospital

Airdates: 4-8-2021

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