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THE CAROLYN HENNESY INTERVIEW – GENERAL HOSPITAL

Hennessey-Main.jpgMICHAEL:

You have just released your first book, “Pandora Gets Jealous” and it’s follow–up, “Pandora Gets Vain”.  Many in the soap industry seemed to be caught so pleasantly by surprise by yet another artistic side to you.  So, when did Carolyn Hennesy get the writing bug?

CAROLYN:

It had been ‘noodling’ around in my head. I had always written, but it really hit me when I was taking a workshop class, and I was working so much at the same time. I was sort of the dilettante in the class. I wasn’t very serious about it, but I was working on a series of short stories of misunderstood women in fiction…kind of like, the story from, “Wicked”. They were very short stories, and one of these stories was based on and about Pandora! I thought, “Wouldn’t it be interesting, if she was a 13-year-old girl with all of these foibles and flaws and insecurities who finds this box and takes it to school for, “Show and Tell”, and all hell breaks loose. I read it in class, and a gentlemen happened to be visiting the class that day, and he looked at me and said, “I can sell that for you tomorrow!” and everyone else in class went, “What?, Carolyn, the least prolific of all of us?” This visitor turned out to a very prolific writer from Ireland named, Michael Scott. He called me one day, and said, “I had been thinking about your story and it’s a novel for young adults. No, wait. It’s seven novels. Write a thousand words a day and in six weeks you will have your first novel. Go!”

Pandora.jpgMICHAEL:

Weren’t you terrified when you heard this?

CAROLYN:

He also padded it with, “This will be life changing.” That’s the thing that spurred me on, and he threw down a gauntlet, “A thousand words a day.” I said to myself, “I can do a thousand words a day.” (which is basically four pages a day) I worked for a few days on the synopsis of the first book, and I was half way through the synopsis of the second book, and I said, “Enough is enough”,  and I just wrote the first book, which is “Pandora Gets Jealous”.  Michael then told me that, “Every evil that comes out of this box needs it’s own book.”  So suddenly it went from three novels to seven and I said, “Bring it on.”

MICHAEL:

And you obviously incorporated into the writing, that amazing humor and wit you possess. Were you confident it would translate to the page?

CAROLYN:

From knowing that I had things to say, and that knowing my voice as an actor is a very particular and unique voice, why would that not translate? I can bring a humor and wry piece of the world and perspective, and it can have a purpose. Writing these books and realizing that if these were going to be novels for “tween” girls then basically, if you ask my husband on any given day, I still am a 13 year-old girl. I then thought, “What do I want to say to the 13-year-old still inside of me?  What do I want to say to the 13-year-olds that are out there being raised with entitlement and no responsibility?”  This was my shot to tell a fabulous story of a tremendous myth.  Let’s face it… no one was back there then, so it could have happened this way! (She laughs)

MICHAEL:

Why were you so drawn to Greek Mythology? When did this all begin for you?

CAROLYN:

From the time I was in the fifth grade. Mrs. Ebert, this crazy, fresh out of the 60’s bleach blond dingbat genius, was teaching Greek Mythology. She was not politically correct by today’s standards. She would talk about the Greek myths: Zeus’s infidentily, who was sleeping with who, the pettiness and the selfishness of the gods. I was riveted, and it was magical, and I was hooked from then on.

MICHAEL:

Where can your fans buy “Pandora Gets Jealous”?

CAROLYN:

You can get this anywhere. It’s on http://amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com and any big book store to any smaller youth book stores. And book two, “Pandora Gets Vain” just got released. I will be sent out on book tours very shortly. So, I am looking forward to meeting the public!

MICHAEL:

When you finally saw the first book, hard copy in print, what were your emotions?

Pandora2.jpgCAROLYN:

I wept. I cried buckets when I put the final period on the final sentence of the first draft. I looked at it and went, “Oh my God!” I was a woman, who was only going to be an actress and a good one, and there you go, and I wrote a novel. I had the word by the tail. Then when my editor showed me the book jacket, I sobbed with tears of joy. Then when I got the hard cover, it’s like holding a baby. It’s the closet I am going to get to having one, and I did it!

MICHAEL:

What was your husband Donald’s reaction to the birth of your new bundle of joy?

CAROLYN:

My husband cried along with me, and we danced around, and he took pictures of me holding the box of books.

MICHAEL:

What did your co-stars have to say about this over at “GH”?

CAROLYN:

When it first came out, I gave Maurice Benard (Sonny), Steve Burton (Jason), Megan Ward (Kate), and Laura Wright (Carly) who all have kid’s, copies of the book. They were like, “Oh yeah, that’s really cool,” and I was like, “just give it to your kids!” A lot of the cast were really surprised and sweet, especially Megan Ward.

MICHAEL:

Megan and you seem to work so well together, how is she to work with?

CAROLYN:

When Megan and I are on the set, it’s such a joy. She is a queen to work with. She knows her stuff and she will tell you, that she strategizes and maps out scenes. She knows every beat of every scene. She is terrific.

MICHAEL:

Did you expect Diane to continue to be part of the “GH” canvas for this long?

Maurice.jpgCAROLYN:

Did I expect it to go this long? Are you kidding me? I was still bringing in my own wardrobe the first week. There are people’s names I still don’t know, because I never thought I would be on “GH” this long.  Mark Teschner, the casting director, called me and said, “I have two days work for you on General Hospital.”  Mark was a good friend and he said, “You will be working with Sonny Corinthos.” I then said, “Who is Sonny Corinthos?” I had not followed “GH” for many years. Well, I quickly learned who Sonny Corinthos was. I think that might have been the thing that saved me, because I had not walked around on my first day going, “Oh, it’s Maurice Benard, the hottest actor in daytime.” (The other being Steve Burton) So I didn’t know any better, and so here comes this dark eyed “demi-god” walking toward me. I didn’t know that if anybody looks at him wrong in Port Charles he has them killed. I just gave it as good as I got!

MICHAEL:

Did Maurice try to throw you off as a test to hang with the mob boys?

CAROLYN:

He did just a touch. He put his hand over his mouth mumbling, and I thought, “I don’t know if my cue line is in there anywhere, but you give me a pause and I am taking it!” I barreled right through and I could see he thought, “Here is someone I can play with.”

MICHAEL:

What about Steve Burton, he is very funny in his own right?

CAROLYN:

Steve is very dry and hysterical, but I just assumed Steve was coming at me with love and I was taking all his stuff. He is very sardonic and I assumed none of it was personal. He began to ease up, and lighten up. When he knew I was around for the long haul, and had his best interest at heart, I think, finally, the two of us made each other look good in scenes.

MICHAEL:

You are able to hold your own with the biggest soap powerhouses!

CAROLYN:

Again, I think I did not realize the power, or magnitude, or scope of what I was stepping into. Any hint of intimation and Diane would have been out the door.

MICHAEL:

What do you think of Diane’s romance with Max? Do you ever wish she could be paired with a more dramatic character on the show?

CAROLYN:

I think I undertand what they are trying to do with Max. There are a number of characters on the show that Diane could have been paired with as a true long lasting love interest. Max would not have been the first thought that comes to mind. They are trying to show a human side to her and Max is somebody who forces Diane to relax. She is so tightly wound with Sonny, Jason, and Spinelli, and Kate, that she loves coming home to Max, because she doesn’t have to think anymore. It doesn’t have to be an intellectual discussion, and her brain can relax. That is why Max is a good choice for her right now.

VincentPastore.jpgMICHAEL:

And now Vincent Pastore (Ex- Big Pussy, “The Sopranos”) is on is way to Port Charles as Max’s father. Are you looking forward to that?

CAROLYN:

We start that on the 15th of September. Well, I don’t want to spoil anything, but apparently he takes quite a shine to Diane. The story is, that Max has written to his father that he is the big mob kingpin! So Sonny and Jason, out of the decency of their own hearts are going to act like that’s the way it is and I think Diane will do that as well. I can’t wait to work with Vincent Pastore.

MICHAEL:

Do you ever have trouble with the legalese in the scripts playing a lawyer?

CAROLYN:

It’s not usually a problem with me and this is due to my husband. I get the scripts enough ahead of time that my husband goes over them with me. Bob Guza (head writer, “GH”) rights logically. So the law follows a linear pattern and if you just follow the pattern…you can get it. Sometimes during the trial of Jason Morgan vs. Lorenzo Alcazar, I did trip up every once in awhile…but not so often.

MICHAEL:

What happens when one “flubs”? Do you break character and break out in laughter?

CAROLYN:

I try to make it funny, but I usually just fall on my sword and go, “I’m sorry. I’m bad. My problem. Let’s go back.”

MICHAEL:

When you think back, what do you consider great moments or scenes for you as an actress, when playing Diane?

CAROLYN:

One moment certainly, was when Diane was talking about her father in the Father’s Day episode. It was gut-wrenching. It was hard in rehearsal. I revealed in that, that my father had died of cancer when I was a very young woman, and that we never had gotten to know each other. We had danced around it, and this happened with my own father.  He passed away when I was 19. I never had time with my father and either did Diane. So I was able to tap into that.  It was very rewarding, what I had been feeling. It was a killer.  Another time, when I walked away from the studio, going, “Well this was more fun than anybody should be allowed to have!”, was the scene in the biker bar with all the bikers, and then when Alexis and Diane are there on their own. That was hysterically funny and a lot of fun to play.

Nancy-Carol.jpgMICHAEL:

How is working with Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis)? Alexis and Diane are like the newest “supercouple’ in daytime!

CAROLYN:

She is great, and we have a lot of fun.

MICHAEL:

What would you love to see Diane get to do in a storyline that she has not done yet?

CAROLYN:

I would love to see Diane in a tremendous amount of danger… having to use her wits with Alexis, or to see her in a life or death situation where she has to go undercover. If she gets caught, it’s curtains for Diane. I would love to see that. I would like to delve into her past. Diane is so concerned with Sonny revealing his infidentlity with Carly to Kate, that something has to be behind that.

MICHAEL:

She does seem to be frantically concerned with this secret coming out!

CAROLYN:

She is uber-concerned. I choose to believe, Diane was cheated on, or she saw the effects of her mother and father cheating on each other. It was so devastating, and it was so horrific for her that she is having trouble with this secret. This continues with her until Sonny finally puts an end to it.

MICHAEL:

I always thought, perhaps deep down, Diane had a “thing” for Sonny?

CAROLYN:

It’s interesting, but Diane sees Sonny absolutely for what he is, and that kind of power attracts her. She sees through the murky depths underneath Sonny, and I think becoming involved romantically with Sonny would be the death of Diane. She would be more interested in Ric or Luke although… can I tell you how much the fans would scream about that?

MICHAEL:

Why?

CAROLYN:

Luke is Tracy’s! Hands off! I have been told even on my own message boards: “We love you Diane, but stay away from Luke.”

Max-Carol.jpgMICHAEL:

How is working with Derek Cheetwood (Max)?

CAROLYN:

Working with Derek is heaven. He is a great big teddy bear, and we will embellish the scripts with our little Max and Diane touches, and he goes right along with it. He is fantastic.

MICHAEL:

If Steve Burton and Maurice Benard should depart “GH” when their contracts expire what would become of Diane?

CAROLYN:

Well, I don’t think she could become a public defender because the money is not good enough. If the Karpov’s keep hanging around she could go work for the Russian Mob. She certainly can go into business for herself. Does Diane have to be a lawyer? Could she open a smoky jazz club on the lower east side of Port Charles given an alternative? Picture it…”Diane’s smoky jazz club”, and every once in awhile she takes to the mic herself.

MICHAEL:

Does it bother Diane that she defends a mob guy like Sonny Corinthos?

CAROLYN:

It does not bother her, because every one deserves the best legal defense possible, and Diane considers herself the best legal defense possible.

MICHAEL:

How about working with Sarah Brown, as Claudia from that other mob family, the Zacchara’s?

CAROLYN:

She is lovely. We have the same hair stylist so we chat. (She laughs) She is an intense woman and passionate.

MICHAEL:

You come from a very famous show business family.  So what journey did you take to realize your dreams and ambitions as an actress?

CAROLYN:

My father, Dale Hennesy was an Oscar winning production designer.  My aunt is the actress, Barbara Rush, or as I fondly call her, “Auntie Babs”.   I grew up at an early age knowing what I wanted to do.  I studied in London, went to the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, and then hit the pavement and worked at almost every small theatre in Los Angeles. I started with small roles, then movie roles, and then a point came where you could tell, that if I got on a sitcom as a recurring character it would be cancelled shortly there after! (She laughs) They would love me so much that they would want to bring me back as a regular… and the show is cancelled. Then a few years ago, I discovered a bent for comedy.

MICHAEL:

You are so innately funny. Why did it take so long to tap into your, “inner comedian”?

CAROLYN:

Because… I was very serious. I was the next Meryl Streep, who is still around, so by the way there is no next. I was passionate and intense, and serious, and then a friend of mine and I were taking class at the Groundlings Theatre, (which is known for improvisational comedy) and I had such a great time.  She went, “You really have an innate sense of humor.”  That’s when I went, “OK. Hello funny stuff!”

MICHAEL:

Was Diane then supposed to be a comedic role on “GH” or did you change her?

Hennessey-Orange.jpgCAROLYN:

I changed it. They wanted a lawyer, and somehow I may have smirked or clucked or cocked my head a certain way and Bob Guza caught it and went, “Oh? What’s this? There is more to Diane than meets the eye!”  They are now allowing me to make Diane, wry, sophisticated, funny, witty and urbane. I took it from there.

MICHAEL:

Were you disappointed at this year’s Daytime Emmy nominations, when you did not make the final cut for the five slots in the Outstanding Supporting Actress category? Many soap journalists and insiders picked you to make into that final round.

CAROLYN:

I had so many people saying, “You’re in” that I bought into it. But then, I knew the academy doesn’t really go for funny. It’s a game. What was great? Is when Bob Guza said to me, “That you made it out of the building.”  Meaning, that I had won the respect and approval of the cast and crew that were deciding the final three to represent “GH”.   That was so gratifying.

MICHAEL:

What’s next for Carolyn Hennesy to tackle?

CAROLYN:

Once the seven novels are finished, and the Emmy is on my mantle piece? Probably, I would like to start a production company.

Don-Carol.jpgMICHAEL:

Tell us about your husband Donald, and how you both have made your relationship work?

CAROLYN:

We have been together a year and half. He is patient with me. He is my number one hero, and such a champion of mine. Donald will stay up with me, cook, do laundry, and work my lines with me. He gives a 150% and I try to give 150%, but sometimes I only can give 110%, because I am off juggling things in the air. He is bright, funny, and he gets me, and understands me. Donald is as handsome as the day is long. He was the one worth waiting for!

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Breaking News

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

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

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

Photo: AP

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

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47th Annual Daytime Emmy Nominations To Be Unveiled Early to Mid-May

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

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

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General Hospital

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

et us know your thoughts via the comment section,

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General Hospital

GH’s Steve Burton and Maurice Benard Deliver “The Power Performance of the Week”

Last week, as General Hospital aired the final episodes they had in the can, prior to the coronavirus TV production shutdown, viewers of the series were left with a one-two punch of gut-wrenching performances from Daytime Emmy winners, Steve Burton (Jason) and Maurice Benard (Sonny)

Burton, also received great news last week, when he found out he was again Emmy-nominated in the Lead Actor in a Drama Series category, while Benard, told fans he did not submit himself in the competition this year, when they were wondering where his name was in the list of the finalists in the category.  However, Maurice won last year for the second time in his career, for Outstanding Lead Actor.

Courtesy/ABC

Now on last Tuesday and Wednesday’s episode of the ABC daytime drama series, Jason was trying his best to break it to Sonny that Sonny’s dad, Mike (Max Gail) is not going to get any better as he continues to decline from Alzheimer’s disease, and that Mike is waiting for Sonny to let him go.  Sonny is devastated sitting with Mike watching him being completely unresponsive.  He tell Mike he will be back to see him tomorrow, as he leaves Mike reaches out his hand slowly.

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Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) has just told Jason that she believes the signs are all there that Mike is on his final decline and battle with Alzheimers. Mike is unresponsive, not eating. and slipping away quickly. She believes he wants to let go, but is holding on for Sonny’s sake, something that tears through Jason.  Knowing Jason was told something by Elizabeth, Sonny asks what it is.  That is when Jason tells Sonny he thinks Mike is waiting for Sonny to let him go.

An overcome Sonny tells Jason that he worries that Mike might still want to fight, but for what? He is a shell of himself and has no memories.  It is then that Burton as Jason, in a touching performance, tells Sonny what he’d want if he were in Mike’s place. Jason reflect that he wouldn’t want machines keeping him alive or his kids having to go through what Sonny is having to deal with right now   Jason goes on to say that even when Sonny put walls up between himself and Mike through the years, that Mike never stopped trying to break them down.

Photo:ABC

Once Jason leaves, with tears running down his cheeks, Sonny sits with Mike trying to come to terms with what he must do now.  Will Sonny let Mike die and spare his father any further misery … or will he try to prolong whatever time Mike has left?

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These scenes for anyone who has endured or lived through losing a loved one battling through Alzheimer’s and having to make a life and death decision, and the emotional turmoil and sadness it causes a family, could feel the pain and heartbreak played  by Burton and Benard. That is why Michael Fairman TV gives Steve and Maurice the honors of The Power Performance of the Week.

Watch a few scenes from part of Steve and Maurice’s ‘Power Performance’ below

Then let us know, what did you think of Steve and Maurice’s performances in the Alzheimer’s storyline? Comment below.

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Power Performance

Steve Burton as Jason & Maurice Benard as Sonny

General Hospital

Airdate: 5-19/20-2020

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