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THE CHRISTEL KHALIL INTERVIEW – THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

ChristelKhalilMain.jpg

As one half of one of daytime’s most popular couples, (Cane and Lily), actress Christel Khalil is at the center of one of soaps hottest storylines, which is set to explode this week!   Lily has just found out that Billy is the father of Chloe’s baby, and Chloe is about to give birth practically in front of Lily, or is she?  Elsewhere, Cane has just realized he has been a fool, and has run out the door to find Lily.  Christel reveals her perspective and what to look forward to next, in one of soaps all-time best quadrangle story arcs.

Last week, Christel was also nominated for an NAACP image award, and is still in the running for a Daytime Emmy nomination after the in-house voting at “Y&R” for the Younger Actress category.  In this revealing interview, she talks about working with Daniel Goddard… voted “soaps sexiest man”; and the real life love of her life… musician and husband, Stephen Hensley. Christel also gives her insight into how the Maria Arena Bell  writing regime has affected the “Y&R” scripts and dealing with the pressures of awkward Red Carpet moments!

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:
How do you like the amazing “Y&R” quadrangle you are part of?

CHRISTEL:
I love the storyline!  I love the actors that are involved in the storyline.  Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe) is one of my best friends.  It’s hilarious when we have fighting scenes, and when we have photo shoots.  When we look at each other really mean, we laugh at each other afterwards.  Billy Miller (Billy) is a great actor and I have worked with Daniel Goddard (Cane) for a long time.  It’s great to have everyone come together.  There is not a weak link in the bunch.

ChristelKhalil-bestbuds1.jpgMICHAEL:
This week is a HUGE and pivotal week for the “Quad”.  Chloe is about to give birth in the cabin where Billy and Lily are having a romantic getaway!  Set it up for us.

CHRISTEL:
We are there for a Valentine’s Day trip and Chloe follows us there.  She is looking through the window and she hears Billy tell me that he is the father of her baby.  Billy and I are about to make love in the cabin.  But before we do, Billy is feeling very guilty and that’s when he says to Lily, “Listen, I have to tell you something.“  Chloe overhears it and bursts through the door.

MICHAEL:
What happens next?

CHRISTEL:
Her water breaks.  At first I don’t believe her, but then I see clearly that her water broke. So, we don’t have much time. We have to deliver the baby right then and there.

MICHAEL:
Billy has known for some time that he’s the ‘baby daddy’, and that makes things all the more horrible!

CHRISTEL:
Billy found out when Chloe fell off the ladder and she went to the hospital.  He asked the nurse, “How far along is she?”  When he finds out he keeps it quiet, because he figures out that he is the father.  And at that point, Cane and Lily did not know.

MICHAEL:
Isn’t it odd that Lily, who just found out about this lie, is helping to deliver the new little bundle of joy?

CHRISTEL:
So, here is good ole’ Lily!  This is how I thought about it.  If you see someone about to have a baby, your logic and hatred goes out the window.  I mean, it’s a big snowstorm and we are all snowed in.  So, I guess I’ve got to help this person!

MICHAEL:
Where is Cane?

ChristelKhalilandDana.jpgCHRISTEL:
Cane is at home.  He ends up coming there, but he is not there for the whole delivery part.

MICHAEL:
Does he find out who the baby’s father really is?

CHRISTEL:
He finds out whose baby it is.

MICHAEL:
Will devoted Lily/Cane fans be happy in the foreseeable future?

CHRISTEL:
Yes. They will be happy, because of the way Cane finds out and how he reacts to it.  Then the way that Lily reacts to it ends up working out really well, also.

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MICHAEL:
So, there will be some stuff coming up after Valentines Day between the star-crossed lovers?

CHRISTEL:
Yes.  It happens very quickly. It’s just so funny because the writers took so long to break us apart, and then all of sudden, its “bam”.  I understand why it would be that way, though.  In real life when you are apart from someone, you want to be with that person.  And when you are finally able to, you jump at it.  I can see how it would happen, but it’s a little funny.

MICHAEL:
Will the baby be a problem?

CHRISTEL:
The baby will be a huge factor.  As long as Cane feels he needs to be the baby’s father, no matter what, whether he is the baby’s father or not, it will continue.  He had been thinking this is his child, and when he finds out that it isn’t we will see Cane’s character change in a lot of ways for the good.  I think the quadrangle will go on forever.  Cane and Billy are brothers, and Chloe and I are always at each other, so I think it will always go on.

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ChristelKhalil-Dan-Liz.jpgMICHAEL:
In a few words, describe Elizabeth Hendrickson to me.

CHRISTEL:
Elizabeth is feisty, funny, and a firecracker.

MICHAEL:
Billy Miller?

CHRISTEL:
Billy is crazy, funny and a Texan.

MICHAEL:
Daniel Goddard?

CHRISTEL:
Daniel is inappropriate, and that’s Daniel. (She laughs)

MICHAEL:
You recently got married to musician Stephen Hensley.  Short romance wasn’t it?  How did the two of you meet?

ChristelKhalil-Henley.jpgCHRISTEL:
I met him at church.  I remember when I first met him.  I did not like him.  I was not attracted to him.  He had long hair and a beard, and he looked like Jesus.  I remember  thinking, “Wow, this is really creepy,” and then I had a friend who invited me to a barbecue and he was there.  We started talking and we hit it off.  We were talking for three hours straight.  I remember being so blown away by him… the way he talked and acted.  I never met anyone like him.  He is a Leo and I love Leo’s.  So, we started dating and he came to Hawaii with me, a month after meeting me, for my birthday.  He is so spontaneous, like that.  We always knew we wanted to get married.  So we originally set a date of July 8, 2009.  We wanted to have a small wedding in Italy.  Then all of a sudden it was July.  I said, “I don’t want to wait a year to get married.  It’s so long and I don’t want to do that just because everyone else does.”   So, we decided to get married this past September 21.  Because it happened so quickly, we did not have time to plan a real honeymoon, so Adrienne Frantz (Amber), who has a house in Lake Arrowhead, let us stay in her Lake House for three days.  I got to bring my three dogs, which was great for me, since it’s hard to find someone to take care of them, usually.  For our one-year anniversary we want to go somewhere really big… like Italy, Fiji or New Zealand.

MICHAEL:
I missed something in the story.  When did Stephen cut the hair and the beard?

CHRISTEL:
It happened gradually.  First, he cut his hair to his shoulder.  Then after he did that, I thought it was too long.  Then he cut his beard where he had a goatee.  Then he chopped his hair off before he came to Hawaii as a surprise for me.  He did his hair in ‘Faux Hawk’ and I was like, “Oh My God, I love those!”  That is what he has now.  I just told him flat out, “You need to cut your hair.”  He is so attractive!

ChristelKhalil-Stephen-Happy.jpgMICHAEL:
What do you think makes a successful relationship?

CHRISTEL:
Stephen is a musician, and we are both creative.  I think the number one thing is communication for friendship, and relationships with your family, or your partner.  I am the kind of person when I am upset I want to be left alone, and then I will talk.  But he wants to talk about it right away, which is good.  I think it’s always easier for a woman to come around then a guy.  He’s more sensitive than I am, and I am sensitive in a different way, and I am a brat.  I realize I am kind of a control freak.  I don’t want to be.  It’s very stressful being a control freak, because you want everyone to do it like you, and nobody does.

MICHAEL:
You were just nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Lead Actress in Daytime Drama, an award you won last year.

CHRISTEL:
I was the only person from “Y&R” last year, so that’s probably why I won.  Usually, there are so many nominees from the show.  This year there weren’t.

MICHAEL:
Debbi Morgan was the eventual winner in your category last week.  Do you like the whole process of picking out a dress to go to these types of ceremonies and to walk the red carpet, or don’t you really care?

CHRISTEL:
I care.  I try to put it off as long I can, because I hate formal gowns.  I am more of a jeans sort of person.

ChristelKhalilRedCarpet.jpgMICHAEL:
So, what’s prepping for an award show red carpet like for you?

CHRISTEL:
Basically, it’s choosing a gown. You go to lots of different shops or designers and look at choices and options.  Usually, it’s expensive and you don’t buy it, and anything you see any celebrity wearing is usually borrowed.  The day of the award show, you can hire someone to do your make-up and hair, or do it yourself.  I do it myself because I am too cheap to hire anyone.

MICHAEL:
Is that including your own make-up?

CHRISTEL:
I do it myself… make up… hair and everything.  I do it simple.  I probably should get a stylist, but I never do.

MICHAEL:
The red carpet can be daunting, with all the people, the paparazzi, and the pressure to look good.  Are you cool with it?

CHRISTEL:
I am, but at the beginning it was bit uncomfortable.  You have a lot of people screaming your name, “Look over here! Over here,” and if you don’t, you feel bad.  The photographers are like, “Christel, Christel to your left, to your right.”  It’s always cool, but I hate posing, I really do.  (She laughs)  I feel like a goofball when I am standing there.  And there are certain poses that actresses know how to do to make their dress look good.  I just don’t know how to do it at all, so I feel like an idiot.  I am that girl in school again who is like, “Ah, don’t look at me.” (She laughs)

MICHAEL:
Are the crying scenes, as Lily, the easiest or hardest type of scenes for you to play?

ChristelKhalilMonteCarlo.jpgCHRISTEL:
This is my theory: crying scenes are the easiest, because whatever brings you to that, it will be truthful, because you are actually really crying, whereas, when you have a normal scene, its harder to stay truthful the entire time.  But for me, crying is not easy.  There are times when I have to be angry or screaming in a scene and that will make me cry.

MICHAEL:
Have you noticed a difference in the scripts under Maria Arena Bell and this new regime?

CHRISTEL:
Yes. I love Maria Bell.  I love what she is writing.  Honestly, I loved when Josh Griffith was writing the show, when Lynn Latham was gone because of the strike.  It was amazing, and we miss Josh.  I think with Maria here, it’s great, too. She knows the history of the show, which is
something Lynn Latham did not know.
So, it’s great having someone who
knows the show and how she writes it.

MICHAEL:
Why was Josh Griffith let go, do you think?

CHRISTEL:
Who knows?  The politics?  It’s never based about talent or what someone can really do, but Josh was great.

MICHAEL:
How is working with daytime classic soap executive producer, Paul Rauch?

CHRISTEL:
Paul is a tough guy.  I like being told what to do.  I do really well with clear- cut direction.

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MICHAEL:
Right, because you are a control freak (he laughs), so coming from him that probably works well for you.

CHRISTEL:
It’s funny, because Daniel Goddard and I have this joke.  With his acting, he is very analytical and precise, and I am totally go-with-the–flow.  I think that’s why our chemistry works so well.  There are days when he makes me think about something more, and times where I will make him calm down.  It’s a good balance, and it shows on screen.  I think that’s why people like us together, because we have this really great way of how we work together.  I am like, “Daniel, just shut up and calm down.”  And he will say, “Crystal, think about this.”  And I am like, “Eh. It’s OK.” (She laughs)

ChristelKhalil-SoapNetParty.jpgMICHAEL:
Remember way back at the start of the Cane/Lily relationship, so much was made of their age differences.  Lily the younger woman and Cane the older man.  What happened to that?

CHRISTEL:
I don’t know.  It cracks me up so much about some of the characters on the show.  In real life my husband is nine years older than me.  It’s so funny how these relationships come and go on soaps.  It’s like, “Oh, look who I am with now!”

MICHAEL:
Coming up this week on “Y&R” it’s going to be, ‘hold on to your seats’ kind of drama. What can we tell your fans to look forward to?

CHRISTEL:
Make sure you watch, because it’s crazy the way everything unfolds.  It’s so great!  It does not happen all at once, but it’s not over a long drawn out period, either. You will have an, “Oh, my God,” moment!

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NATHAN JAMES

SHE IS WONDERFUL ACTRESS AND ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL GAL GO CHRISTEL

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Great job on Y and R! Just started watching since All My Children, and One Life To Live were taken off the air. U r a brilliant asset to the show, and a fabulous actress. Keep up the good work!

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Daniel Goddard is so sexy and charming – what a gift to women!!

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Keep up the good work Young and the Restless!!

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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