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THE A MARTINEZ INTERVIEW – ONE LIFE TO LIVE

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MICHAEL:

This week A Martinez returns to daytime! What prompted your decision to come back to daytime and to “OLTL”?

A:

It’s really an interesting show, and so many of the actors on there are actors that I have loved. When I was doing “GH”, I had met most of those actors around ABC functions and the Daytime Emmys. I got to go to a party once for Erika Slezak (Viki), who I think is the most remarkable actress. I have had such a high regard for her and the show. I had met Frank Valentini (executive producer, “OLTL) back in the day, and when you are in daytime, it’s really a small community. Even the people I worked with going way back to, “Santa Barbara” they are still working, and you feel like a connection to them even though months and often years go by, without any real conversations. It’s an interesting feeling to walk back into it. Going back to the set of a daytime soap felt so immediately comfortable. It was actually quite surprising.

MICHAEL:

How long can fans expect your stay in Llanview to be?

A:

I signed a five-week deal and I just finished my last tape day. I think the stories and the scenes will play out over 8 weeks.

MICHAEL:

Was the shows intention with your character, Ray Montez always supposed to be for a short stint?

A:

The character had various incarnations; I think he was originally thought of as someone who would be around for awhile, and then someone who was somewhat disposable quickly. I think, but you never know, but he may survive. I won’t say more than that. I think there is possibly a future for him. I hope so, because he is a lot of fun to play.

MICHAEL:

Is there a down side to only being able to explore this new character for such a short time?

A:

There is no down side. It’s a really fun character and the actors are wonderful to work with. At this point in time, it’s greatly pleasurable to spend time in New York City. We would have to think long and hard as a family if we make a decision to move here.

MICHAEL:

Vince Irizarry (ex-David) who recently left “Y&R” told me he was flying back and forth every week from his home on the east coast to continue taping his role on the west coast. Would you consider a set-up like that?

A:

The thing is, you can’t quite tell how you are going to respond to it until you try it. So far what has happened is, I came and when back to LA once, and did that again, and then my family came and visited me and we had our wonderful little August summer vacation. It’s been a great five weeks, I have to say.

MICHAEL:

What were the circumstances that led you to Llanview?

A:

My agent called me and said, “There is this thing, and would you consider doing it?”, and it was a little much to consider. It was sign on the dotted line and move to New York for two years, and that was a little too much to imagine. But then the showed changed the way they thought about it, and I looked at what was on the table and thought it would be great.

MICHAEL:

You are one of the most beloved and cherished actors the soap genre had ever had. Why do you think you work so well in this medium?

A:

I have always loved working in daytime, it’s certainly where I feel the most free of anything. Once you establish that in your mind, it’s hard to let go of it. Even though I am getting better,  and ‘god knows’ I should after all these years, I think I am getting better in film than I used to be. There is just nothing like it, the soaps….the freedom of being and performing live with live cameras. I love to play with good actors and it literally is fun.

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MICHAEL:

Why do you think some actors and characters transcend in this genre, while some do not?

A:

When I did, “Santa Barbara” I played Cruz for more than 1600 times. He took on weight in my emotional life that was shocking when he was gone. I had no idea for what it would feel like to say, “Goodbye” to that guy.

MICHAEL:

The fans weren’t either.  It was so hard to say goodbye to “Santa Barbara” and to Cruz Castillo. It’s such a testament to you and the character, and how you portrayed him. It is legendary!

A:

He is a great guy, and at the end of the day, it’s about the writing, and he was the best guy I got. There is just no getting around it. He was my teacher and he was my brother, and when he went away, he demanded he be mourned in my own personal architecture. All that being said, it was a nice day when I could finally let go of it.

MICHAEL:

From Cruz on “SB”, we next saw you return to daytime on “GH” as Roy Deluca. This week you come back to daytime as Ray Montez. What can you tell us about him?

A-look.jpgA:

He’s tortured and misunderstood. He’s not well-mannered, but he is capable of being charming. He defaults more often to certain rudeness. He is real different.

MICHAEL:

Is he a criminal?

A:

He is perceived to be a criminal, and legally he has been imprisoned, but it remains to be seen what goes on with his heart. The thing that is so great about him is he is really tortured. He is not a guy that has got the world on a string. He is struggling, and it’s so much fun to play. It’s hard not to root for somebody, if you have empathy for anyone who is struggling unless they are utterly irredeemable!

MICHAEL:

So he is not irredeemable and not a villain?

A:

No. I would not say he is a villain, but people do talk a lot of trash about him.

MICHAEL:

Who have you worked with at “OLTL”?

A:

First, I got to work with Jerry ver Dorn (Clint) immediately. Clint brought Ray to Llanview and Jared went and did the deed. So, then I met Brittany Underwood’s character Langston, and then that turned into the Clint/ Dorian feud. Then I got to do some fairly operatic stuff with Robin Strasser (Dorian).

A-jared.jpgMICHAEL:

Tell me about working with the amazing Robin Strasser?

A:

She is amazing, fearless, and brilliant and that is the heart of it. You go, “OK, this is a person who inserts her fangs and goes to work and attacks the work and has such high standards and a willingness
to take risks.”

MICHAEL:

She knew you were thee A Martinez? Right?

A:

We were aware of each other. We met, although briefly, at this party that ABC threw a few years back. We met across this big white table, and we saw each other, and acknowledged each other and expressed our mutual admiration for the work. I always thought she was fabulous. When you get to do a scene with someone who raises your goose bumps that to me is the thing I most feel and crave as an actor, and as a person watching the theatre.


MICHAEL:

The rumors are that Ray will be adversarial with Dorian, but that he could be a potential love interest for Dorian.

A:

Hmm. From the get-go and the way we worked with each other, it was really cool.

MICHAEL:

So there could be some sparks between them ?

A:

Yeah.

MICHAEL:

Many fans and insiders were swirling around in their soap fantasies, that perhaps when you were going to be brought on to “OLTL”, Marcy Walker (Ex-Eden, “SB”, Ex-Liza, “AMC”) would soon follow?

A:

It’s among my dreams. I work love to work with Marcy again, but I have not heard that rumor personally.

MICHAEL:

Have you stayed in touch with Marcy?

A:

I have not talked to her for several years.

MICHAEL:

Why was that such an unbelievable pairing, Eden and Cruz?

A:

A lot of it was dumb luck of having such a similar approach. We are cut from the same clothes as how we see the task. She is really committed and detailed oriented, and the thing I would always say, right? The one thing that stood out over time, depending if one of us had a bad day, is it would never happen two days in a row, it would never recur. And sometimes that’s hard to do after a time. After awhile it’s real, real tempting to mail this one in… and that was not going to happen with us. And that is what set us apart. We were ferocious about how we protected the quality of the work. I say this to my kids all the time, and I am so grateful about this in my life, and that is, “We knew how good it was, and how special the work was while we were doing it. “ It was utterly clear to us that we had something very special, and we ran with it as long as it was there to run.

MICHAEL:

How was working with Ray’s Llanview relative Langston, played by Brittany Underwood?

A:

She is great, and it’s a sweet group of young actors they have on the show. They have a sense of doing the work, and they seem to know how lucky they are to have the gigs and are committed to the work. Brittany is a strong worker.

MICHAEL:

Langston did not know she had an Uncle Ray.

A:

She did not know of Ray. Langston was looking for relatives when her parents perished.

jachendy.jpgMICHAEL:

Ray has wife, Vanessa!

A:

Yeah, Jacqueline Hendy is the actress that
I have done one scene with. She is very nice. Jacqueline plays my wife and somebody is a trouble maker in this group and that’s the big debate. Who is the most trouble in the marriage? We don’t really know.

MICHAEL:

Any other famous “One Lifers” we should look forward to seeing you on-screen with?

A:

I got to do nice stuff with Kamar de los Reyes (Antonio), and briefly got to work with Hillary B. Smith (Nora).

MICHAEL:

Well, I thought perhaps they would put Hillary and A together? The two Daytime Emmy winning dynamos, and that would really screw Clint for bringing Ray to stir up trouble in the first place.

A:

Hillary’s character, Nora just treated Ray terribly. He is apparently an easy guy not to like. I just knew Hillary from back in the day.


MICHAEL:

So how do we get you in a scene with Erika Slezak?

A:

She walked in the door today! Erika was on vacation the whole time I was there. I just got to say, “Hello” to her, and she’s Erika Slezak. I saw her in the hallway!

MICHAEL:

If you were to explain who Ray is, what would you say?

A:

He’s a tortured guy who is trying to crawl out from under a rock.

Double2.jpgMICHAEL:

So, you have completed everything with “OLTL” at this point?

A:

I filled my contract.

MICHAEL:

What do you think needs to happen for everyone at the show and ABC to commit to telling Ray’s story long term?

A:

I am sure that they have to reconvene and figure what they want to do next. It’s like so many aspects of this game. You don’t really know until you put it on its feet, and see how it stands up. They have to look at it on how it plays within the flow of the show, and then see how the viewers respond to it. I think as you mentioned and intimated, it’s sometimes difficult to separate me from Cruz. He is probably one of 150 people I have played and still he is that guy. I think it’s always questionable how people will respond to any actor, when they are expecting a certain thing and what they are getting is something else.

MICHAEL:

My thought was “OLTL” would be stupid if they did not try to keep you on the show, first of all, for your value?

A:

I think a lot depends on how people respond to it. I am very hopeful.

MICHAEL:

Was their one scene that you felt you got to “dig” into?

A:

There was one scene were Dorian got Ray to loose his cool and he become undone. She got him so mad that he started breathing heavy, and then he tried to get out of the room, and before he could get to the door, she jumped him from behind, and tore him up! It filled my eyes and gave me goose bumps.

MICHAEL:

There was a wonderful new Lifetime Television movie you just appeared in, “Little Girl Lost: The Delimar Vera Story”. Tell us about it?

pow-wow.jpgA:

It’s a true story and it was a wonderful experience to get it. I was approached by a woman from the Native American Cultural Studies class at Cal State Dominquez Hills. They had used one of my earlier movies called, “Pow Wow Highway” on their syllabus. She called me and asked me, “If I would come meet her class?”, and I had not seen it in a long time, so I thought I would love to go, and I would watch it again. She let me come and see the movie. It was a joy to see it. I had an audition that same day. I am on this wonderful high from seeing the movie, and I am driving to Hollywood. At that point, my manager calls and says: “Well, there is good news and bad news. And bad news first… the interview you are currently driving to, they have decided to go in another direction. So you don’t need to keep driving.” I go, “Well, what is the good news?” He then says, “The good news is that Lifetime called and offered you this movie, “Little Girl Lost: The Delimar Vera Story”. It was one of those great days.

MICHAEL:

The story is so moving. Did you know when you got your part in the film that this was going to be an incredible and powerful experience?

A:

Judy Reyes (Nurse Carla, “Scrubs) played this woman, Luz Cuevas. She busted us down at the table read, and when I saw that, I knew this was going to be something special. Usually, at the table read hopefully there will be hope for optimism on a project. She just killed. She turned to me at one point in time, and this woman thinks she has lost her baby, and thinks her baby is alive, and everyone including her father, and husband and the police are telling her she’s crazy, and she need to get a grip and get on with her life. Well, she finally comes to my character, who in the real-life true story, is the person she turned to, and in the table read she turned to me and said, “Do you believe me?” When Judy said that line to me… her face was pale, her eyes were wet, her lip was moving, and I was thinking, “Holy Moly! This is going to kill, and it did.” We went to the premiere in Hollywood at the Director’s Guild, and it tore the room up. Then the executive at Lifetime addressed the room and said, “I want you to know the real Delimar Vera is here with her momma. Here they are!” We all stood up and turned to her. The baby and she are now together. That is the baby that was supposedly dead in the film, and the entire room gave her in a standing ovation. They just bathed her with respect and it melted her.

little-girl.jpgMICHAEL:

Tell us about your role in the film?

A:

I play this guy named Angel Cruz, who is a representative in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives who is out of Philadelphia’s 180th district. I think he may be the first Hispanic legislator to come out of Philly. I think he is in his fourth term now and made it possible for this woman to have her life turned back around, because when she came to him, he promoted himself as the friend of the common persona. When she came to him, he did not brush her off. He went out of is way to get her access to DNA tests which she could not afford under her own auspices and functioned as an angel in her life. So it’s really cool to say the least.

To read a write up and review from the Philadelphia Daily News about the background of this horrific yet triumphant story on Delimar Vera, click here!

MICHAEL:

Have you stayed in touch with Jill Farren Phelps (executive producer, “GH”)? I know she is one of your closest friends from way back to your collaboration with her, when she was executive producer of “Santa Barbara”.

A:

Yeah I have. She is as good of friend as anyone, and helps me with so many things in terms of a career. As a person, she is one of the wisest people I have ever known. Our family owes so much to her family, and the things they do instinctually is just wonderful.

MICHAEL:

When Roy Deluca wondered out of Port Charles and you left “GH”, did you and Jill feel the character had it’s closure?

A:

Basically, they sent him to Miami.

MICHAEL:

I got confused. I think he kind of felt shuffled off the canvas.

A:

There was a thing where he was trying to undo Sonny and then Alcazar came in. Then Roy went into ca-hoots with Sonny and went to Miami to cover some of Sonny’s operations. At that time, I got offered this Lifetime Series, “For the People”. That was a real sweet gig. I was hoping it would turn into something, and then in true show biz fashion, you walk away with another gig.


MICHAEL:

How was it working with heavy hitters… Maurice Benard (Sonny) Steve Burton (Jason)?

A:

They are wonderful, and the best thing for me is that I got to work with Tony Geary (Luke), because Roy and Luke were thick as thieves. It goes back to the very beginning of the show that relationship, and obviously it’s Tony Geary! It’s a wonderful group of actors. I got to do things with lots of people on the show, but most of the stuff, I got to do with the men was with Tony. There really is no one quite like him. You don’t know how much I respect him.

MICHAEL:

What is it about him that makes him so unique and special as a performer?

A:

Tony steps up on a daily basis. He explores these colors, and the palette he is using is just so huge. It’s so hard to pin that character of Luke down. There are things we have come to understand about him. The day by day exploration and wanting to try new things made it such a joy to work with that guy.

MICHAEL:

How was it getting to work with Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis) when you were back in the fold with her? So many loved her, as Julia Capwell on “Santa Barbara”.

A:

We’re down. She’s awesome!

MICHAEL:

Also, I know there was a moment in time you thought was very special for Maurice Benard.

A:

When Maurice won his Emmy… it was long overdue. What a night that was!

MICHAEL:

We thought your Daytime Emmy was long overdue by the way!

A:

Oh bless your heart….

MICHAEL:

….I remember. I was there.

A:

The thing I will never forget about it was that afterwards, my wife, Leslie and I stood off one of those big ballrooms, because the show was inside the main Marriot Marquis ballroom in New York City. We stood there together shoulder to shoulder for three hours or so. We fielded a river of people coming to express their best wishes and their pleasure that I had been recognized. That’s a moment where you feel your whole sense of the world tilt a little bit. I mean… it was beyond. It was so genuinely generous from so many directions and gave us certain value to the work.

A-tux.jpgMICHAEL:

Where is the Emmy?

A:

It’s my living room. I will tell you what though, whenever we evacuate because of the latest fires or what not in LA, you grab your Emmy! At the end of the day one thing you can say about it is, “that they are very pretty items.”

MICHAEL:

I wanted to just go back to your “Santa Barbara” days with you. Give me a few words about some of your former female co-stars…Kim Zimmer (Ex-Jodie, “SB”, now Reva, “GL”)?

A:

She was profoundly energetic and fun.

MICHAEL:

Sydney Penny (Ex-BJ, “SB”)?

A:

Soulful.

MICHAEL:

Eileen Davidson (Ex-Kelly, “SB”, now Ashley, “Y&R”)?

A:

Beautiful and passionate.


A-Chains.jpgMICHAEL:

In closing, as you premiere on “OLTL” this week, what can we tell fans to look forward to?

A:

The fans can look forward to that he is a real interesting guy. He got to do a bunch of real interesting things with a bunch of the characters. If people enjoy watching it half as much as I enjoyed doing it, then they will remember him fondly.

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Nelly Were Otube

Hi, am Nelly, from Africa (Kenya) I have read this whole interview but with only one interest, Cruz and Eden..how is it possible that A has not talked to Marcy for several years? this is simply heartbeaking… I think. Their incredible perfomance on SB left many of us all over the world marvel at what real love should be, it was sort of a yardstich for which all love should be measured. The least they could have done for their fans, especially hopeless romantics like me, is to stay friends.. atleast… what happened? so heartbeaking. Yes we respect that they… Read more »

Interviews

B&B’s Matthew Atkinson Weighs-In On Daytime’s Wildest Storyline, The Hope Mannequin & What’s Really Going On With Thomas

If you think you’ve seen it all on daytime soap operas, think again! Over the past several weeks viewers of CBS Daytime’s The Bold and the Beautiful have been witness to fashion designer Thomas Forrester’s (Matthew Atkinson) descent into madness, or is it?

In B&B’s thriller-esque storyline, complete with tight close-ups and tilted angles of Thomas and his co-star, the Hope Mannequin – yup, you read that right, the series is taking the audience on one wild ride, something we have not seen the likes of since back in the hey day of the late head writer, James Reilly, during his tenure on Days of our Lives or Passions.

Photo: JPI

Inspired by, believe it or not, true life events, B&B’s head writer and executive producer, Brad Bell and his creative team have served up a story generated off all of the buzz the show was receiving for using mannequins as scene partners for the actors in intimate moments to adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols.  B&B was the first American show back in production amid the pandemic.

 

Within this twisted tale, Thomas has the life-like version of Hope Logan Spencer (Annika Noelle) at home with him.  Those who have stumbled upon him with the mannequin, well, he has been able to explain that away by saying that having the doll with him is helping him create some of the best designs of his career.

The problem is the mannequin is talking to Thomas, it’s eyes have often turned devil-red, and on Friday’s episode it walked!  It’s objective is to get Thomas to kill Liam (Scott Clifton) and to get Hope back to be his one and only. Throughout many of the scenes in the storyline, Thomas suffers from what appears to be severe headaches.  All of this leading the audience to believe either … he has a brain tumor … he is being drugged … he is suffering from a severe mental break and disorder, or something else.

Photo: JPI

In a very candid and often humorous conversation with Michael Fairman for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Thomas’ portrayer, Matthew Atkinson, discusses some of the craziest scenes to shoot thus far including Thomas having dinner with the mannequin!  In addition, Atkinson reveals how he and Annika Noelle tape the scenes where she is the voice of the Hope mannequin while adhering to safety protocols,  and how Liam is the only one, apparently, thinking something is off with Thomas, and so much more.

Photo: Gilles Toucas

One thing is for certain, Matthew Atkinson is sinking his teeth into the material and making it must-see daytime drama through his performances while we all wait to see what the possessed mannequin does next.

Check out the full interview with Matthew below. 

Then let us know, what do you think is happening or wrong with Thomas? Are you getting a kick out of the Hope Mannequin storyline? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

 

 

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Interviews

Eric Nelsen Talks Latest Film, Becoming a Tony-Nominated Producer, ‘The Bay’, and His Elizabeth Gillies & Ariana Grande Connection

You can catch All My Children reboot alum, Eric Nelsen (Ex-AJ Chandler), just about everywhere this month, and that’s hard to do given that we are all living in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, this Daytime Emmy-winning actor has his hands in a myriad of projects of late including: appearing on season six of The Bay (new episodes every Tuesday on Popstar! TV) where he continues to play Daniel’s journey after the character has come to terms with his sexuality and finds love, plus his comedic turn in the film, 1 Night in San Diego, and recently becoming a Tony-nominated producer along with his wife Sainty for the critically-acclaimed, and now 11 times nominated Broadway play, The Inheritance.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Eric to get the lowdown on his busy professional life, and we were in for some surprises along the way including: what the producers of AMC had in mind for the character of AJ that ultimately did not happen, and that Eric starred on Broadway with Elizabeth Gillies (Fallon, Dynasty) and Pop superstar, Ariana Grande – and there’s more to that story below.

 

What makes Nelsen so good at what he does on-screen is that he is a like a chameleon; adept at playing the quirky, to the troubled bad boys, to the emotional heart-tugging anti-hero. So here’s what Eric had to say in this fascinating conversation.

Photo: : Metropolitan Entertainment,

Your latest film appearance in 1 Night in San Diego is out this week on multiple streaming on-demand platforms from: Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and more. Tell me about the movie and when did you film this?

ERIC:  We filmed it near San Diego, not this past February, but last February, and it’s hilarious.  It’s a female-driven comedy.  The cast is incredible.  Alexandra Daddario, who is just epic, and Jenna Ushkowitz, and Laura Ashley Samuels, they truly bring it in this powerhouse comedy, and it’s just one of those make-you -laugh movies from beginning to end, just silly, stupid stuff happening the whole time.  General Hospital’s Mark Lawson (Dustin) is also in the film.  While we don’t work in scenes together, I did get a chance to meet him and he’s a really great guy.  I play this off-the-wall character, named Gordo, who is a real burn-out, think Matthew McConaughey meets space cadet, which was a lot of fun to play.  Gordo is a great role.  I had more fun with this part than I’ve had in a long time.  So, it was cool to throw a comedy into all of the drama I have been playing in my other projects.

How does Gordo know the girls in the film?

ERIC:  One of the girls knew him back in the day, so they were in town looking to reconnect, and she’s like, “Oh, we want to party and let’s hit up Gordo,” and they do.  He has just gone completely off the rails, off the deep end with spirituality and kind of in his own world. They find themselves in quite a predicament when they come visit what they didn’t know was a commune, basically.  Gordo creates this hippie commune for a bunch of outcast musicians, (laughs) and I don’t want to give too much away, but a lot of interesting stuff happens there.

Photo: InheritancePlay

 

In addition, you are now a Tony-nominated producer for the play The Inheritance!

ERIC: That was crazy, because it’s always been a dream of mine to produce for Broadway.  That was how I got into the world of film and TV acting, which was through the theatre.  That’s where I started.  I was lucky enough to star on Broadway when I was 16 and 17, in a musical called, 13.  I started with Ariana Grande! It was so fun.

Wait, what?

ERIC:  Yeah, that was her first big show, and Elizabeth Gillies’.

Photo: AP

I think Elizabeth Gillies is terrific in Dynasty.

ERIC:  Oh yeah, and you know she and I dated for two and a half years during the whole run of the show 13.  Elizabeth is very talented.   She is amazing.  The funny part of it is, we were dating forever, and kind of had a bad breakup, and then Sainty, my wife, gets cast in her show Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, in the pilot to play Liz’s best friend on the series.  So, all of the sudden, I’m like, “Wait, wait, wait, out of all the shows, all of the things, this is who you have to get cast as best friends with?” and so they actually became really, really, close friends.  So, I’d actually come home from work or filming, and Liz would be on my couch sitting there giggling with Sainty.  I’m like, “This is just becoming too much.  This is a full-circle moment here.  I can’t deal.” (Laughs)

Now, you and Elizabeth are broken up at this point?

ERIC:  Yes.  We had been broken up at this point.  Sainty and I were actually together.  I started dating Sainty in New York and the pilot she was shooting was in New York, and she gets cast as Liz’s best friend, and I was like, “Oh, of course.”

Photo JPI

But Sainty knew you’d dated Elizabeth?

ERIC:  Yes, she did.

You must have been dying.

ERIC:  Yes, so dying.  Dying.   You know, it’s just one of those things that in a million years, you would never expect this to happen, and of course, Sainty and her had to become best friends in real life because they’re both great girls, and naturally, they would be friends, but now, I’m like this guy stuck in the middle who can’t believe what’s happening, and thought that was one chapter, and this is a different chapter, and now the chapters are combining.  It’s kind of a comedy act.

Photo: JPI

Since Ariana Grande was on Broadway with you and Liz, what was she like back then before her meteoric rise to fame?

ERIC:  Ariana was literally the sweetest, most innocent, and cutest – like my little sister.   To me, it was like, Liz and I were dating, and Ari was kind of like the little sister.  All of a sudden the show ended. Ariana got a Nickelodeon show, and after that, she became the most famous person in the world and was like this sex icon, and I couldn’t get over it.   She’s always had that talent with her voice and in 13 she was an ensemble member.  She wasn’t even one of the leads, but her voice was so incredible, even then as a young teenager.  I thought she was going to go on to have this great Broadway career as an actress and do musicals her whole life just because of her voice.  Then, all of the sudden, right after the musical, we all auditioned for the same Nickelodeon show.  I ended up going to the finals for the boyfriend role, Liz got the girlfriend role, and Ari got the funny friend on the show role.  That kind of catapulted them into the TV world, and Ari got a spinoff because of her character on that show for another Nickelodeon show, called Sam and Cat, and then after Sam and Cat, she went from this innocent, sweet, little Nickelodeon girl that I knew to being the biggest star.  It was unbelievable to me.

Photo: Broadway World

So, you started on Broadway as a teenager, and you found you always wanted to produce for the Great White Way? 

ERIC:  Yes, I did the Broadway thing, and then I got into film and TV, and then I got into film and TV producing.  As an actor, there are a lot of ups, a lot of downs.  So, in between the ups, I wanted to fill my time, so I got into producing, and I loved it.  I loved creating.  As an actor, we just show up, and everything is already done.  All we have to do is say our lines.  We get pampered, and we go home, but I wanted to know how it got to that point, like what happens before that.  So, I started producing film and found some success doing that, and it was so much fun for me.  Sainty’s and my first love, and what feels like home, is theatre.  So, I wanted to take it full circle and produce a Broadway show.  I just thought that would be such an incredible moment, and so that’s what I did.  I started emailing all of the Broadway producers who I had worked with as an actor, letting them know what I had been doing, kind of the success I had gotten from producing The Bay and some of these other things. Different shows came across my desk that I didn’t quite bite the bullet on, a couple of which I wish I would have, Dear Evan Hansen being one of them.  I would have been so rich by now!  (Laughs)

I just want to clarify for people who might not know, the word “producer” can mean different things.  There are “producers” who are putting money in … they’re backing projects or shows.  There are other people who are “producers” on the creative side of projects.  So, when you’re talking about producing a Broadway show, it is as an investor?

ERIC:  So for theatre, unless you’re the head producer who kind of gets creative control, every other producer listed in the credits is basically helping raise finances and is also very heavily involved in the process of everything else along the way, which is also what makes it special.  So finally, The Inheritance came across our desk, and it checked every single box.  It was just an epic play.  It’s a two-part play, and it’s just hours and hours and hours long.  You see it in multiple days or in multiple shows.  I remember reading the script and not stopping until I finished.  I was like, “This is amazing,” and it had just come off of a huge commercial successful run in London.  It won the Olivier Award for “Best New Play” and just about every other award you could win, and so I was like, “This is the one.  This is incredible.  I love the piece, love the message, and pulled the trigger,” and I would have done it all over again if we could.

Photo: Broadway World

The Inheritance is a generational piece centering on gay men during the AIDS crisis.  What can you say about it to those who don’t know about it, or have not seen it yet?

ERIC:  It takes place in the past, and then it fasts forward to the future.  You see two generations of gay men in New York City, and it’s all about the AIDS crisis, and so you’re bawling crying, and then you’re laughing throughout it.  It’s just one of those epic plays that pulls at every single emotion and you feel like you’re watching a movie.

It seems reminiscent of Angels In America, but different.   

ERIC:  Yes.  It’s definitely its own thing.  It’s actually an adaptation of Howard’s End, the novel by Forster, definitely different from Angels in America, but the two-part show is kind of what I was meaning by that.  People have said it is kind of our generation’s Angel’s in America in tone and subject matter.  It was just a dream come true, and like all other theatre that was open during our season, it had to close because of the pandemic, and it will have life after Broadway.  We are already slated for the Geffen Playhouse in LA, so I’m very excited for all of my LA friends and the public to get to see it.

Courtesy/ENelsen

And you get nominated in the year that the coronavirus pandemic shut down live theatre! But it is my understanding we still do not have a date for handing out this year’s Tony Awards.

ERIC:  No, we do not.  They finally announced that they were going to announce nominations, and for a while we didn’t even know that they were going to do that.  We received 11 nominations, which is incredible.  We were so excited.  I truly thought the American Theatre Wing and the Tony committee were not going to do the Tonys at all, and so we were just like, “I can’t believe the one year we pull the trigger on the show, this isn’t going to happen for us,” but then thank God, they came to their senses.  There were plenty of shows that opened and needed to be recognized.

How long was it open on Broadway?

ERIC:  We were open from September 2019 through February or March.  So, as long as your submission was open on Broadway before Covid-19 and had at least all of its previews and an opening night before Covid-19 hit, then you could qualify, and then in the play category, there were like 10 plays that had opened last year that were contenders.  So, that was definitely the hardest category.   It will be interesting to see what happens after all of this.  The only good thing I know that is going to come from this is the amount of creatives who have had so much time sitting at home to create and write, that there will be so many new scripts and plays and musicals that are going to come from this.  I think it’s’ going to be the biggest boom that we’ve probably ever seen in theatre, just because there’s been so much time to develop stuff.  At the same time, it’s piggybacking on the darkest time that theatre has ever seen.

Throughout the pandemic, I always stream all of the Broadway Actor’s Fund events.  It’s really sad.  It’s just a difficult time, those in the arts are struggling and especially in the live theatre and also musicians who can’t tour or play gigs in front of an audience. I know they said Broadway is closed through May 31, 2021.

ERIC:  It is really hard.  I’m happy that we are able to find other ways like streaming shows.  I’m actually producing a big benefit for Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS that will be airing on World AIDS Day, December 1st.  It’s a show called Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens.  The cast we have is everybody from Nathan Lane, to Academy Award winner J. K. Simmons.  It’s insane.  It will be streaming online on the Broadway HD network.  It is a huge list of Broadway stars and a lot of movie and TV stars as well that are participating.  We’ve got people from all over the map.

And … Ariana Grande? (Laughs)

ERIC:  (Laughs)  Ari is not in it, actually!

Photo: Prospect Park

So, in this week’s latest episode of The Bay, your character of Daniel Garrett makes his final choice for love between Caleb (Mike Manning) and Matthew (Randy Wayne).  When you came to the show, did you know that this part was going to wind-up being a gay character?

ERIC:  No, I did not.  I think I dropped a bird in Gregori Martin’s (creator, The Bay) ear by telling him that before All My Children ended, they were going to have my character of AJ Chandler have a storyline where he is gay.  The producers sat me down and talked through an entire storyline arc with me.  Basically, Ginger Smith (ex-executive producer, All My Children) and Alison, our casting director, and one other person from the show, took me to lunch in New York. They pitched me what they wanted to do for my character, and asked me if I would be comfortable with it, and they wanted my opinion, everything.  It was really cool how they approached it, and I was like, “100% completely.”  I look at what Chandler Massey (Ex-Will Horton) did on Days and where that brought him and his storyline, and I thought, “Yes, there’s going to be so much more depth and stuff to play than just being this fun little rich kid.”  At the time, there really wasn’t much depth to AJ.  So, I was like, “Yes.  I will be all over it.  Absolutely.”  So, I told Gregori that, and I don’t know if he already had something in his mind or not, or if that influenced it at all, but maybe he just figured that was something that would work well, and up till that point, I guess they didn’t really have that on the show.  Regardless, no, I wasn’t aware that that was the direction it was going in, but I was really happy with my storyline and it’s grown a lot since then, and in this current season especially.  It’s really given me an arc to play, which I’ve enjoyed.

Photo: LANYEntertainment

So for those who may not know let’s do a re-set.  Where is the character of Daniel at? It seems like he is at crossroads, and is making some important decisions, or trying to.

ERIC:  So Daniel was a wild party boy in the beginning, just head in the clouds, lives life with thinking there’s no repercussions and just doing what you want to do all of the time, and that got him into a lot of trouble with drugs and alcohol. Then, we realize why Daniel has been the way he is, and why he acts out, and why he has been so all over the place, and it’s because he hasn’t been able to come to terms with who he is.  Then, he admits it to himself and for the first time to somebody else – who happens to be his priest in a catholic church, ironically –  that he is gay and this is what he has been battling with.  For the first time (and I don’t know where on television it has depicted it this way), but the catholic priest looks at Daniel, and he’s like, “What’s your sin?  You haven’t sinned.  This is perfectly fine.”  So, I love that Gregori made that the outlet for which Daniel was able to basically come to terms with who he was, because he grew up in the church, and so he was always told that it was wrong.  Obviously, it’s not wrong, or obviously the church needs to change their mindset, but on The Bay, he chose that to be the outlet through which he came out, which I thought was really powerful.  Through that, Daniel experimented with other boys and such to figure out where he wanted to land, and then in this newest season, I can’t say much that gives anything away, but for the first time, we really see Daniel’s growth, and he’s making decisions, and the most mature we’ve ever seen him, and it’s been really cool to see that come full circle.  He’s making commitments to himself.

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

In story, Daniel chooses Caleb.  Why so?

ERIC:  Obviously, that’s who it works with,  Caleb is a teacher and a great guy.

… And Matthew is not a great guy?

ERIC:  He is… he’s just not the great guy for him.

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

This season of The Bay is heavily steeped with social issues of our time.  Covid-19 has come to Bay City and the Black Lives Matter movement also plays prominently.

ERIC:  Yes.  It’s kind of the beginning of the pandemic in The Bay and within all of the intense drama that Daniel has been having, he is still, for all intent and purposes the comedic relief of the show, and so there is a funny scene where I’m carrying like 28,000 rolls of toilet paper like, “Come on, guys.  We’ve got to stock up!”  We all remember those days, don’t we?

Photo: JPI

How do you feel about this season of the show and your work in it? You’ve previously won a Daytime Emmy for your performances on The Bay.

ERIC:  This season is more cemented in a character that has truly grounded himself.  So, the first Emmy I won was for a storyline of coming out and uncertainty and struggle and pain, whereas this season Daniel knows what he wants and is going for it.  There is much more passion and love in this season for Daniel, as opposed to struggle and heartache.

The cast and crew of The Bay all went away and quarantined at this ranch this past summer to get the new season completed.  What was that like?

ERIC:  We were actually in Santa Barbara, and filmed on this epic ranch up there.  It’s like this 500-acre ranch that we all quarantined on.  We had to do the testing, and temperatures three times a day, and the whole thing.  So, it was really structured, tough to pull off, but we were all so grateful that we were able to do this.  Luckily, we had this incredible kind of bubble of a ranch to live and work on while we were shooting.  They were really good about block shooting it all, so we’d kind of shoot one person’s character, then the next, so we wouldn’t have to ever be leaving the ranch before we were done.

Courtesy/ENelsen

Finally, how is being a dad?

ERIC:  Oh, it’s amazing.  I just can’t believe how fast the time is flying by because of it.  We just had Molly’s first birthday on October 1st, and I feel like yesterday she was born.  I sound like my parents when I say this, but it’s like the time keeps getting faster, but it’s so true.  She’s awesome.  We play Broadway musical soundtracks to her all day, and she sings.  She sits at the piano with me when I play, and she kind of plunks notes out next to me.  She loves music, and we’ve introduced it to her from day one.  We always joke that she won’t be able to watch any of daddy’s stuff until she’s 18 probably, but Sainty is a voice-over actress.  She has done parts for animated films and TV shows such as Trolls, and Barbie, and Boss Baby, so everything from the first part of my daughter’s life is all going to be Mommy’s stuff, and then, in the later part of life she can start watching Daddy’s stuff.

Right, she can’t watch anything that you do!  (Laughs) So, basically forget that!

ERIC:  (Laughs) Yep!

Check out the trailer for 1 Night in San Diego below.  Then share your thoughts on Eric’s current role on The Bay, if you hope he wins a Tony to go with his Daytime Emmy, the six degrees of separation between him, Elizabeth Gillies and his wife, and that the All My Children reboot considered making the character of AJ Chandler gay via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Peter Reckell Reflects On His Time As DAYS Iconic Bo Brady, Life In New Zealand & Christmas Music Project

Last week, Days of our Lives  turned 55-years young, and the historic long-running NBC daytime drama series has been home to some of the most memorable stars and characters of the soap opera genre, perhaps none more so than anti-hero Bo Brady played by Peter Reckell.

Reckell who appeared on the show for several runs that lasted over four decades, premiered as Bo back in 1983.  He then stayed through 1987, came back from 1990 to 1992, again from 1995 to 2012, and back again in 2015 during DAYS 50th anniversary and to wrap his run as Bo, when the character was killed-off, after Reckell made it clear that he wanted to give the audience closure for the character.  He later made another return in 2016 to help the character of Hope (Kristian Alfonso) move on with her life.  Hard to believe for all of those heart-tugging performances, Peter was nominated only once for a Daytime Emmy.

Photo: JPI

In this candid, deeply personal and enlightening new interview for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Reckell opens up as to: what led to many of the decisions he made throughout his time as Bo, how he helped craft the role from the start, the accident that almost took his life, how he handled all the fame that came his way as part of the Bo and Hope supercouple pairing, and how two women in the cast; the late Frances Reid (Alice) and Peggy McCay (Caroline) made lasting impressions on him that he will carrying with him for the rest of his life.

Photo: JPI

What would Peter say if somehow DAYS wanted him back and Bo was actually alive and well?  Find out as Peter weighs-in and wishes his former show a happy anniversary  In addition, he even shares how he felt when Robert Kelker-Kelly took over the role of Bo when he decided to leave the show at one point, and his time playing Johnny on primetime’s Knots Landing.

Photo: JPI

Reckell has moved his family to New Zealand, and this conversation was conducted from his home.  Peter is married to singer/songwriter/producer Kelly Moneymaker and the couple have a daughter, Loden.   It was not wanting to miss the moments of his daughter’s life growing up that has been much of the impetus for some of Peter’s career choices.

Photo: BlueAeris

With Christmastime approaching, Kelly and Peter are part of a brand new Christmas LP entitled Joy.  The album is now available for download on Spotify, Apple Music and major music streaming platforms.

In an exclusive during the interview, we give fans a sneak peek of Peter’s new music video for “Under the Mistletoe”, the song he sings that appears on Joy, which was written by his wife.  For more on the album project visit BlueAegis.com

Photo: BlueAegis

Now, check out the interview with Peter direct from New Zealand below! Then share your thoughts on Peter, Bo, and more via the comment section.

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B&B’s Matthew Atkinson chats with Michael Fairman about the wild ride of the Thomas/Hope Mamnequin storyline currently on The Bold and the Beautiful.Leave A Comment

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