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THE FARAH FATH INTERVIEW – ONE LIFE TO LIVE

fathgreen-lowe.jpgShe plays the feisty and spirited Gigi Morasco on One Life to Live, and many remember her winning performance as Mimi Lockhart on Days of our Lives.

Well, since moving east a few years ago, not only has Farah Fath nabbed a prime role and continuing storylines in Llanview, but she’s found herself a very well known boyfriend… her co-star, John Paul Lavoisier…”Sexy Rexy” Balsom.

“On-Air On-Soaps” got the opportunity to catch up with Farah for this revealing interview. We chat about the hot new storyline kicking off next year for Gigi and Rex, the irrestiable charms of Mr. Lavoisier, and working with some of the top talent in the industry. Farah’s always direct, honest and fun to interview. So, without further adieu…Farah!

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

So, I hear there is big new storyline in the New Year ahead for Gigi and Rex on “OLTL”!

FARAH:

We just started taping our new stuff, which will air beginning in January and February. I am really excited about it, and it will be all I had hoped for on the show. Frank Valentini, executive producer “OLTL”, just wanted us to know that with this new character coming on we will be working a lot again. So, Frank said, “I hope you enjoyed your time off because it’s over.”

MICHAEL:

In July you participated in the 40th anniversary of the show’s “Time Travel” storyline. I thought it was some of the best work you ever done! I loved the dual roles.

FARAH:

It’s my favorite thing I have ever done, too. It was literally so fun to go to work everyday. I have never gotten to play dual roles and have such a fun role. I could not wait for it to air. I have never been so excited to watch my scenes and watch the storyline unfold. We would scurry home from work every day and put on the Tivo and watch it. Words cannot express how John-Paul Lavosier (Rex) and I loved the storyline. At first, we thought it was cheesy, with the location shoot and the dedication the actors put towards their dual roles. I thought it was fun and different to watch. Some people, I guess, did not like it.

JP-farah.jpgMICHAEL:

You and JP are involved in real life and work together so much on-screen. Do you ever critique each other’s work?

FARAH:

We both are in the same boat, so we would never critique another actor, or I give him notes. I would compliment him. The only thing I would do is point out a physical habit, because that is what I would
appreciate if it were me.
But as far as the acting process,
to each his own. It’s a different
creative process for everyone.

MICHAEL:

Did you want to relocate from LA, where you were Mimi on “DAYS”, to New York to work?

FARAH:

You know, I had this overwhelming and gravitational pull to New York. I felt like I needed to move to New York, especially when my time was over on “DAYS”. I felt I needed to start over. And I did not leave the soap to not do soaps. I was looking at all roles. I wanted to do something different and move to New York. So, I went through pilot season. Then I took a meeting with Brian Frons (President, ABC Daytime and SOAPnet) and it all worked out. I was ready to leave LA. I had soaked up my LA sponge, if you will. I am young and not settled down at all, and I wanted to do something different. So, the adjustment was not so much. It was not a sad thing to move. I am having a lot of fun, and I have not looked back since.

MICHAEL:

You told me at ‘Super Soap’ you have had some issues playing an on-screen mom.

farah-shane.jpgFARAH:

Yeah, Shane is eleven now, and the actor Austin Williams is twelve in real life. When I first started I told the directors to be hard on me about playing a mom, and I was told at the last second that I was playing a mother to this ten-year old. It was not like I had any preparation time. I just find it’s not that natural to me. I have to be aware of how I am to this child, and so I have to remind myself, that this is my kid, and I have
done everything for him and
for us to survive, and he is my
world. I don’t have anything l
ike that, personally. I try to
keep that in front of him, and
physically have those motherly
instincts toward him.

MICHAEL:

How is Austin Williams to work with?

FARAH:

He loves acting. Sometimes I worry about the kids, if they are doing it for their parents or did they really want to go on this audition. I have asked him in nonchalant ways. He really does love it, so that is really important.

MICHAEL:

How was it when you got to be heavy in story with newcomer Mark Lawson (Brody)?

mark-lawson.jpgFARAH:

He is really intense, and I like to work with actors who take their work seriously. He is a true actor’s actor. He gets in there and finds the rawest place he can go. He does not care if it’s a big scene or small scene. He is committed. Mark was on contract from the beginning, but that does not really mean anything. I think they were really impressed with him, and he works really hard, does his homework, and I respect that.

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MICHAEL:

Now on to your boyfriend, John Paul Lavoisier. It’s not unheard of that co-stars end up together. It almost looked like you were together, even when none of us knew you were together! Make sense?

FARAH:

Yes, I met him a week before I started. I came in for a wardrobe fitting and he did not have a shirt on. Obviously, I was taken aback with his physique, but I went up to him and said, “Hey. I am Farah Fath. I am playing Gigi.” And he went, “Hey JP, nice to meet you.” And I walked away and I started to question myself, “Does he know who I am and does he know who Gigi is?” JP also said, “I don’t usually walk around without my shirt on.” We did not work together for four or five weeks because I was doing scenes with Erika Slezak (Viki). But, the first time we worked together there was an instant chemistry.

MICHAEL:

Weren’t your first scenes in the diner and Rex yelled, “Morasco?”

FARAH:

Yeah, and those were some really well written scenes. I liked his work ethic and his fun personality immediately.

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MICHAEL:

Did either one ask the other out on a date?

FARAH:

No. It just happened organically, and we just started hanging out together and there was no asking out. I have never dated anyone I worked with. I actually made it a rule, and it’s really easy to know someone that way. We were definitely friends first. He is pretty wonderful, but he is a terror and a handful. I have to tell people, “He’s my boyfriend, but he also is my little brother,” as sick as that is true.

JP.jpgMICHAEL:

JP’s comedic timing is beyond brilliant!

FARAH:

I know! That was the first thing I noticed right away when I met him. He is super talented. He has a huge range, and he can do it all, and do it all in one scene. He is a very good actor, and he’s better than me and I told him that. I hope in four years when I am his age, I am that good.

MICHAEL:

If you were to describe JP in a few words, what would you say?

FARAH:

Charming… goofy… sweet and laid-back. He would say the same about me.

MICHAEL:

When Gigi arrived in Llanview she was thrust into story with Viki. So, there you are in your first scenes working with thee Erika Slezak! Were you nervous?

FARAH:

I was not nervous. I was excited. I mean, I knew all about her. I was antsy to get back to work, and when I heard I was going to start on air with Erika, it made it all the more suspenseful. I had nine months off and I was ready to act. I was so excited it was going to be with her. Watching her work the first few weeks was fascinating. She is a genius! She does not look at her scripts. She is so prepared she knows everything, and everything about every storyline, and everything about every piece of history with the show. She is consulted about these things. I don’t think I have ever seen her mess up. We hit it off. I think my not being nervous around her, and my talking to her like a normal person might have helped. We had so much fun and we would gossip together about the soap world. Erika is also down to earth.

MICHAEL:

How was working with “Bitchy Bangs” Adrianna, played then by Melissa Gallo Fumero?

FARAH:

Working with Melissa is a fun dynamic because she plays the bitch so well. At the beginning, when Gigi came on, she just took it. Then the writing starting to change to where Gigi would stand up for herself and fight back. It’s always fun to have catfights.

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MICHAEL:

“One Life” had Adrianna and Rex together and then they brought you on the canvas. Was the intention always to do the Rex and Gigi romance, even though Melissa was leaving the show?

farah-sexy1.jpgFARAH:

My character was written to fill the void of Melissa Gallo leaving the show. They knew pretty far in advance. The part was written for me to work with JP, and have the characters eventually come together. Brian Frons (President ABC Daytime/SOAPnet) really banked on, thought and hoped that JP and I would work well together. He had seen my work and personality on “DAYS”. I guess if the chemistry wasn’t there for some reason, they might have changed gears and gone with another storyline, but it was always planned, yes, from the beginning that Rex and Gigi would be a couple. At the same time, if Melissa hadn’t been leaving this may have happened anyway, you never know.

MICHAEL:

Do you think the fact that you and JP are a real life couple has any influence on the two of you staying together on-air? Soap history has shown that sometimes if the writers see a couple off-screen together they may partner them on their soap.

FARAH:

I don’t think real life couples have much on the writers. I think if we stay together and they decide to break Rex and Gigi up, they are just going to do it. We might care and be sad as actors that we can’t work together anymore, but what else can we do?

MICHAEL:

Who else on the cast of the “OLTL” would you just love to work with more?

FARAH:

I like working with Trevor St. John (Todd), and I only had a hand full of scenes with him about a year ago. He came to Paris, Texas looking for his son. All the scenes we did were very fun, because he is very unpredictable. He works like I do. He does not plan anything, he just let’s it happen. His scenes are different every time he tapes them. If we do a re-take, it’s different than the ones before, and that is so interesting to me. I don’t know in what way they would have Gigi and Todd working in a storyline together, but he is so interesting, funny, and raw.

MICHAEL:

Who else on the show?

FARAH:

Robin Strasser (Dorian) is phenomenal! She had spoken to me when Dorian took over BE and Gigi was working there at the time. She was hoping they would do a, “Devil Wears Prada” storyline with Dorian and Gigi. I thought that would be really fun. But it did not go that way. Dorian ended up quitting, and we never worked together again.

MICHAEL:

What is Gigi doing for work these days?

FARAH:

The scenes where I am at now, I am working at Rodi’s. But, the scenes I was telling you about at the beginning will kind of lead me to a different direction.

farah-Xmas.jpgMICHAEL:

Since Rex is already a PI, I am feeling Gigi and Rex will be PI’s like a “Nick and Nora” spy coupling.

FARAH:

I am hoping that. I mentioned that at “Super Soap” that it would be fun, but as soon as I got back to the studio, I found out she is not going to be a PI, but it is in that realm.

MICHAEL:

So, I was close.

FARAH:

It’s a mystery with romance, and it’s an umbrella story.

MICHAEL:

Since you have been a bit back-burnered of late, do you like it better when you are working?

FARAH:

John-Paul likes to work, work, work and have stuff to do everyday. I am the opposite. If I have nothing to do, I will sleep all day, but he feels he constantly has something he has to do everyday. Me too, sometimes. I like working a lot. Sometimes I surprise myself when I like to work a lot, and it’s also fun not working a lot!

MICHAEL:

Do fans still call you “Mimi” from your “DAYS” job?

FARAH:

Most of the messages are, “I like you as Mimi from ‘DAYS’, but I like you as Gigi on ‘OLTL’.” A lot of people came up to me at “Super Soap” and said, “They watched me on ‘DAYS’.” It’s nice that people made the jump with me to One Life.

MICHAEL:

Then, how did you feel about the Deidre Hall (Marlena) and Drake Hogestyn (John) firings, and the current state of the soap industry budget cuts?

FARAH:

I don’t know what to think about it. I know Ken Corday (executive producer, “DAYS”) is in a tight spot and he has a lot of cutting to do. Listen, I don’t know what Marlena and Johns numbers are. I feel bad for Deidre and Drake personally, but I know Ken needs the show on the air. I know that “AMC” had cuts. I know Susan Lucci took a pay cut. I have not heard about anything at “OLTL”, but I am a team player. I know John-Paul and I will do what we need to do to help our show. I think hearing about Deidre and Drake, and Susan Lucci and Kristian Alfonso (Hope), and Peter Reckell (Bo) taking cuts, and for me personally, since I am not in those categories, I feel like they are going to impact the top stars first. When I was on “DAYS” in 2006, it was mandatory that we had to take pay cuts. So I have been there before and in this situation before. I think “OLTL” is the one show that does not go over budget every year. We do locations and musical acts, and that’s because they only do those things when we are still under budget and we have money to play with. We are keeping our fingers crossed that our show is in good shape.

MICHAEL:

Which of your former cast-mates of “DAYS” do you still stay in touch with?

cook-fath1.jpgFARAH:

Jason Cook (Ex-Shawn “DAYS”, now Matt “GH”), Martha Madison (Ex-Belle) a bit, Kyle Brandt (Ex-Phillip) is doing an ESPN show called “The Jim Rome Show”. He writes and produces his show, and does a radio show. He actually is so talented. I think he should host his own sports show, but he likes writing best.

MICHAEL:

Do you ever just pinch yourself and stop for a second and look at what you have accomplished at such a young age? Not many girls that are younger actresses have had the opportunity to have leading roles on two soaps.

FARAH:

It is cool, and it takes people like you to bring it up. I am proud of myself and it is great, but I am constantly on the track of trying to get better and do better. I never feel like I am good enough, so I am always trying to improve. Even though I have sort of made my mark in daytime, it still could be taken out from under me. Look at Deidre and Drake. I want to do my best.

MICHAEL:

Would you like to pursue a feature film career?

FARAH:

It’s always an option. I really hate auditioning, to be quite honest. I really like the soap opera world. I get to do it everyday. I never say never, but I am very content with my career and the current state of it.

MICHAEL:

What are you and JP doing for the holidays?

FARAH:

We are going to his parents’ house for Christmas. This will be the first time I don’t go to my parents’ house in Kentucky. I was there over Thanksgiving and broke the news to my family that I am going to spend my Christmas with JP.

MICHAEL:

How did that go over?

farah-sister.jpgFARAH:

They were all pretty upset. My family loves JP. They think he is cute and funny and they approve. My sister and I are close and she is my best friend. She thinks he is very good for me. So, we will spend Christmas in Pennsylvania. We don’t have New Year’s Eve plans yet, but maybe Atlantic City because we like gambling.

MICHAEL:

Yes, I know you do. Now you have a ‘jonesing’ for Poker?

FARAH:

I want to get onto a Celebrity Poker tournament. We were scheduled to play in one event and JP got sick. It was at the Mohegan Sun, and it was a celebrity event. He felt so bad because I worked hard at getting this gig, but he was so sick, poor thing.

MICHAEL:

And then there is bowling night with Lavoisier and Fath, right?

FARAH:

Bowling is every Tuesday. We have a place you can bowl all night for $28.00 in New York. It’s called Chelsea Piers. We got new bowling balls. Since we advanced our skills, we got heavier ones. JP loves it. He has a lot of hobbies, and I found my self hobby-less. All I did was work. So, I decided bowling would be my thing. However, he has taken over and now he wants to be a pro bowler. We have been watching the PGA Bowling on ESPN everyday!

MICHAEL:

So, will Shane ever come to love his real father?

FARAH:

I think once they start the new storyline that is not going to be the issue anymore. That had sort of been our holding storyline, and we are going to move on to the next big thing.

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farah-jpcar1.jpgMICHAEL:

In closing, what can we tease your fans to look forward to in the New Year from Rex and Gigi?

FARAH:

Right now, they are a happy couple and trying to get Shane to accept Rex as his father. But they kind of get past that, and someone comes to Llanview from their past, and stirs up their relationship. Rex and Gigi find themselves trying to solve something together. They are going to get into a lot of trouble. It’s back to fun Rex and Gigi. You are going to see the Rex and Gigi that first were on the screen together, because JP and Farah are itching to be comedic and loveable once again.

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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