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THE ILENE KRISTEN INTERVIEW – ONE LIFE TO LIVE

kristen-Main.jpgMICHAEL:

You have just finished performing in our benefit, “Soaps In The City”, and I know you have been involved so much in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

ILENE:

I probably have been involved for the last three years, at least. Last time, we had the east coast event at the club ”Prohibition” in New York. It’s for a great cause.

MICHAEL:

Have you personally been affected, or touched by people in your life, or in show business that have died of HIV/AIDS?

ILENE:

I lost many, many people… and there was a friend mine that was the stage manager from “Grease”, and then we lost another stage manager. Then, my wonderful Christopher Adler died, and this was early on. Then I lost more than 20 people that I knew, some which were really close to me. I lost my manager, and that was a tough one, because I don’t think he knew he had AIDS. Then he got pneumonia and he died. This was in 1994, and that was extremely difficult. It was a real shock because there was no time to prepare for that.

MICHAEL:

Do you feel that here in the US, AIDS awareness has been sidestepped as an issue, where globally it’s a pandemic?

ILENE:

Honestly, I don’t think we can ever do enough. But, I think it’s changed considerably from the 80s, for sure. I have a lot of friends living with AIDS, but not dying of AIDS. One of my very closest friends is HIV-positive and he is doing well. Of course, he is on the cocktail, and if people can’t afford the cocktail and the medications, that’s a problem. It’s changed a lot over the last 20 years, so people aren’t dying immediately. In fact, I haven’t heard of anybody dying that I have been friendly with. So, that’s a great thing!

kristen-mazur.jpgMICHAEL:

We all know you from your portrayal of Roxy Balsom on “One Life to Live”, and
the amazing, Delia, on “Ryan’s Hope”. But now, you seem to be taking the musical aspect of you talents to new heights?

ILENE:

I have always sung with one rock band or the other. I have always kept it on the down- low to some degree. If people had bands, they would want me to sing with them; so I would. Then, I started songwriting a lot in the 90’s. I had written
a lot in the 70’s and then I was doing a lot of other people’s songs. Then in the 90’s I started doing my own stuff. I started writing with a great writer out in LA…
Kenny Mazur. One day he said, “You know, you really ought to start writing, because you have so many adventures and you need to get them out, and start getting your life out.” There was a song I wrote called, “No Matter What”, which was about my life, and he said, “You are on a soap, Ilene, and you need to spice this up a bit!”

MICHAEL:

Why were you so low on the radar with your great singing ability?

ILENE:

It’s a very big problem, and it’s kept me from doing a lot because I grew up listening to the best music you could listen to. My criteria have always been very high. I listen to Joe Williams and Ella Fitzgerald, just the great people. The way I sing, is like a Julie London- type singer, kind of smoky. I feel if I am not as good as those people, I don’t count. And then after seeing KD Lang last night, I never want to open up my mouth again. But because I am a very good actress, I am going to pretend that I am full on KD Lang. I am the feminine KD Lang. She is all boy. ilene-soaps.jpgIt’s fantastic! I think
she is so comfortable in her skin, and she came out with no shoes on and looking like a man, but she was beautiful… and the voice was the best instrument that I ever heard! You want to be up there with the really good people to call yourself a singer, and I don’t call myself a singer. I call myself, a “Thinger”. I have a “thing” and I think it’s good.

MICHAEL:

The songs you performed for us at “Soaps In The City”, please tell us about them?


ILENE:

This one jazz song I wrote is a combination of “Fever” and “Moondance”. Then I wrote a song called, “Rise to the Occasion”, and my first job was with the great, Johnny Pacheco. I was a dancer at nine, dancing with two Cuban guys, and that is how I started in show business. So, this song is a kind of Latin boogaloo, which was popular in the 60’s. It was written as an assignment, between Lenny Kravitz’s, “Lady” and Cyndi Lauper’s, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”. Then when that did not happen, I changed into a different groove. I performed a song called “Flesh and Blood”, that was written for a friend of mine who was dying; the wonderful and beautiful, Nancy Addison (Ex- Jillian Coleridge, “Ryan’s Hope”). I remained close with her, and was with her every day until she died. Nancy was a wonderful friend and she died from a form of cancer. The doctors did not know the origin of it, and it was very difficult, and it took about two and half years. I started writing the song about the thought of losing someone, but knowing they will always be there with you…. and then 9/11 happened! This song came out of that, and then it really wrote itself. I knew Nancy would be dying, and I knew I would sing this song at her funeral, which was what happened. It’s a song I did not sing at my father’s memorial, but I recited the words. I have done it at other friend’s funerals. The list just goes on. I am proud of it.

MICHAEL:

Your stupendous and stunning portrayal of Roxy on “OLTL”, is so completely different than any character or actress on daytime. The scene that aired last week where Roxy pushed Adriana up against the hospital glass letting her know that she was causing her son, Rex, to basically die. That was because Adriana would not allow Gigi in Rex’s hospital room, and that was heart wrenching. Did you know those scenes were dynamite?

ILENE:

I knew things were real for me. The thing that is so difficult about that is, once they put up the hospital set, they will do three shows a day at the hospital set. You are so overwhelmed. You are so scared that you are going to be sacrificed, and you have to get to another scene. I felt like there was a little scene I had with the troll days, and I was not sure I was totally on my game. But then, the stuff where I put Adriana against the glass, I felt that I was on my game. With age, you are able to pull so much stuff out of your life and access it for your character. Before, when I was playing Delia on “Ryan’s Hope”, I had to do crying scenes all the time. I would have to go in back of this set, and do all this sense memory stuff. Now, I don’t have to go to that place or substitute much anymore, because of my life experience as Ilene.

JP1.jpgMICHAEL:

How is working with John Paul Lavoisier (Rex)? We need more mother/son scenes between them.

ILENE:

Oh, it’s great! The audience wants more, and its short changing both Rex and Roxy, but they may get it. We got extraordinary reaction as to who is Rex’s father? That is yet untold, and they better tell it!

MICHAEL:

Will it be Mitch Laurence?

ILENE:

It would be great if it was Mitch, if they
tell a real story. They were about to do something when the writers’ strike happened, and then they felt it was not an important enough story to do, so they bypassed it. We waited till head writer, Ron Carlivati came back to the show. Once Ron came back, it didn’t go anywhere, but we are hoping that it does. You know, stories have to be approved by ABC Daytime and SOAPnet President, Brian Frons. So hopefully, he will see fit to give us a story. I know he likes me, but he has to like me enough to let me tell a story. The one thing I know I am capable of, is telling a good story…. even the stuff I had with Miles…. where did it go?

MICHAEL:

What about working with Erika Slezak (Viki)?

ILENE:

She is wonderful to work with. With Erika, this is nothing that she enforced, but she has her scenes early in the morning. So, if you have scenes with Erika, you better be on your game. First of all, she is so professional and wonderful to work with, and so generous. But, she knows all of your lines as well, and that’s a spectacular thing to do. Every once in awhile, I am on my game like that, but she is always on her game. Erika has been very, very, good to me.

MICHAEL:

I love that Roxy stumbles around drunk all the time. Do you think that will ever change?

ILENE:
Until she resolves certainly some of her issues, I think she should have a bit of a substance problem. I think when she goes to work, she really tries to do that hairdo. I know a lot of people like Roxy, who have more than slight substance problems, whether they are on Quaaludes or something else. I think Roxy was pretty coherent with the recent hospital stuff with Rex, though.

MICHAEL:

In your performances, do you like towing the fine line between comedy and drama?

ILENE:

Oh, yes! I like towing the line, because I feel that people need the humor, and it’s hard to play comedy on a soap. I think I have managed to do that extremely well, and better than most, and it’s my background. When I came on the show I came on right after 9/11. I felt that people needed a break, and also needed to be highly entertained. I felt people needed cushioning, especially in New York; it was like a scorched landscape. What happened was I got the job on September 10 and I only called a couple people to let them know, and then 9/11 happened. At first I thought, what is acting? What does that mean to people, after we have gone through something like this? Does anyone even care anymore? Is watching television, except for watching the news, important? And then a couple of days before I had to go to work, I got very inspired. I felt that somebody had to entertain the troops, and I really felt it was my job to do that.

Melissa-Ilene.jpgMICHAEL:

Now tell me about working with the fabulous Melissa Archer (Natalie)?

ILENE:

I really like working with Melissa. She has had a lot of responsibility at “OLTL”. You know, once they see that you can do three shows in a row that is probably 18 scenes, they will do that and work you a lot. They will get away with doing that, and it is very difficult. One day Andrea Evans (Tina) had 100 or so pages. The Game Show episode with Rex, of “Whose Shane’s Daddy?”, we had a lot to do that day. Then the director said to us, “Not to put any stress on you, but this is going to be my Emmy submission!” Then it was like, you got to
be on!

MICHAEL:

I think you have a few good shows to submit for Supporting Actress Emmy competition for next year. Would you go for it?

ILENE:

I think I would. I did have scenes last year had I gotten nominated. My second year on the show I got nominated and it was a bit tricky. First of all, you have to have shows, which not only are you good in,… but the person you are working with is good, too. There is nothing worse than your doing a good performance, and the other person not delivering. I tend not to like to submit hospital scenes. I said to ’JP’, when it was the scene when I was in the hospital with Charlie and he comes in and says, “I don’t want to know you! Both of you!” I said to ‘JP’, “I don’t care what other people say, but these are the scenes you are going to submit!” In the past he has not submitted the right scenes. He has not done the right choices. I helped Renee Goldsberry (Ex- Evangeline) with her choices, and I was very proud that I could help her with that, and she had good stuff.

MICHAEL:

Now to “Ryan’s Hope”, and your iconic role of Delia Reid Ryan Coleridge. Ah, the list of married names goes on and on. Why do you think that worked so well?

ILENE:

The answer is, because of the show’s creators and head writers, Claire Labine and Paul Mayer. They wrote something from their heart. They had the bible on that show written extraordinarily well from day one, and what they had written for these characters always stayed in my mind. I knew what they wrote in those three paragraphs for Delia… I could get it. At the time, what was hard for me was that I was a very happy person playing a very unhappy person and that was difficult. I had just come from doing “Grease” and making people laugh, and once you have made 1200 people in a room laugh, you want to do that all the time.

MICHAEL:

So, after “Grease” you went to “Ryan’s Hope”?

kristen-Main2.jpgILENE:

I had done “Grease” for two years. I quit “Grease” in 1974 and got “Ryan’s Hope” in 1975. All of a sudden, I am playing this semi-tragic character who is crying all the time, going, “Love me. Please love me!” That was not second nature to me… being that screwed up. So, it was hard for me and difficult. Also, what was difficult, was you got these long scenes, which made it extremely potent for the audience, and addictive for the audience. You’ve got to travel with these characters when they made certain transitions. What disturbed me about the recent scenes with Adriana on “OLTL” in the hospital, was that the initial scenes with her were so short. I said to her, “Listen pipsqueak…” and the scene was over.

MICHAEL:

The soap climate now is faster, quicker scenes, than in the classic soaps presentations of yesteryear. It seems to fans that they think perhaps the perception is the actors can’t handle that much dialog.

ILENE:

I don’t think that’s what they are doing. When MTV came in, and I do not know what they are doing now, people got faddy or trendy. Now in daytime, they are trying to tell as many stories as possible, where Claire Labine just tried to tell two really good ones. I actually think the half-hour soap format is better. It gets you to concentrate and to be mesmerized by these people’s lives. People were addicted to the emotion of it, and not so much to flashy story. You know, I don’t know why we try to do car crashes or train crashes on soaps. Why do we do that, when “Lost” does it so much better? Why are we trying to compete in an area that we shouldn’t compete in, when people just want to be touched by a story? I think there was real value to the way “Ryan’s Hope” was done and was shot.

MICHAEL:

Can you tell me, off the top of your head, some Delia moments that you just loved?

ILENE:

The hysterically blind scenes when I am on a cruise with Pat. He realizes I am lying and throws the hairbrush at me and I catch it. The stuff with Roger and Sheila in the cooking lessons were fabulous, and every time Maeve would say, “Where you going Delia?” And she would go, “Oh, I’ve got cooking classes”, and the audience would go nuts.

MICHAEL:

Speaking of Maeve Ryan, tell me how was working with the incredible Helen Gallagher?

kristen-ron.jpgILENE:

Oh my God, fantastic! She is a pure gift. Both of us were hoofers! The wonderful thing about the cast was it really didn’t matter what you paid us, we would show up, because we did not make a lot of money on “Ryan’s Hope”. It was like
hoofer pay. Helen did have in her contract, that nobody could get more than her. Malcolm Groome (Ex-Pat) Kate Mulgrew (Ex-Mary), and Ron Hale (Ex- Roger) these were great, great people.

MICHAEL:

Now to “OLTL” favorite Roxy moments?

ILENE:

First of all, working with Jim DePaiva (Ex- Max) was a pleasure. Our wedding scenes in Las Vegas, where he wakes up the next morning, and does not realize he married me, was during the live week. Everything shot during the live week was priceless, but it scared me.

MICHAEL:

But you perform sketch comedy, as you did here in Los Angeles this weekend at the ACME Theatre and other venues. Why are you scared, if you can do such impromptu performances on the spot? I know why, but probably most people looking in from the outside, would not figure it to be the case.

ILENE:

I am scared of everything. I did “Grease’ for two years and the adrenaline would be out of control. It’s all scary to me, but I guess it’s good to be scared, because you can come up with interesting work, but your stomach is upset all the time. I have been in this business so long, and I am still scared. It keeps you coming up with new creative things for yourself.

ilene-nightclub.jpgMICHAEL:

Do you ad-lib a lot as Roxy? Some of those jabs she gives to the other citizens of Llanview seem like it.

ILENE:

I am a great ad-libber, especially in the role of Roxy. If it’s a group scene and they need a Roxie line, they go, “Please come up with one!”

MICHAEL:

You are in a new film called “The Manhattanites”?

ILENE:

Yes. We had a screening for it in New York and Aidan Turner (Aidan, “AMC”) is terrific in it. David Fumero (Christian, “OLTL”) is also in it, and Forbes March (Ex-Nash, “OLTL”) plays my competition and steals my boyfriend away from me. Jill Larson (Opal, “AMC”) was going to do my part, but it worked out better because she ended up playing a homeless woman in the movie, because she wanted to try something different.

MICHAEL:

What is the premise of the movie?

ILENE:

It’s all these people’s different stories and how they intersect. They are in somewhat of a community, and that gets the ball rolling. I play a real professional type. I play a lawyer. It was not a comedic character, and not a villain. I am kind of one of the leads in it.

couch-ilene.jpgMICHAEL:

In closing what would you
say is at the core of Roxy Balsom, if you were going to explain her to someone who does not know her very well?

ILENE:

Party! Party! I think she has fun, even in times of tragedy, and she will always find a way to rock.

Interviews

Y&R’s Sharon Case, Mark Grossman & Jordi Vilasuso Talk Love and Betrayal in the Rey/Sharon/Adam Triangle

This week on The Young and the Restless, Sharon (Sharon Case) and Adam’s (Mark Grossman) kiss took centerstage and went viral when a photo of the passionate moment was seen by Sharon’s husband, Rey (Jordi Vilasuso), and fiancée Chelsea (Melissa Claire Egan), and many more citizens of Genoa City!

That moment looks to be a game-changer.  Now what will Rey do? Will he continue to try to salvage his marriage to Sharon? Will wheelchair bound Chelsea, hatch a plan to payback Adam and Sharon? Will Adam and Sharon meet up for some dangerous liaisons? There’s so much to this story left to play out.

Photo: JPI

In a new interview on The Michael Fairman Channel, Sharon Case, Mark Grossman and Jordi Vilasuso chatted candidly about their on-screen love triangle and more including: what happened when Mark auditioned for the key role of Adam, the character of Sharon’s battle with breast cancer, and who Sharon feels is Sharon Newman’s true love, Nick (Joshua Morrow) or Adam? Plus, the trio share their reactions to the news that their castmate, Sasha Calle (Lola) was tapped as the first Latina ‘Supergirl’ in the upcoming DC Universe film, The Flash.

During the conversation, Vilasuso said Rey was not blindsided by Adam and Sharon’s ongoing attraction: “Rey’s known for a long time, c’mon!  I had somebody on Twitter post all the videos on how long I’ve known about Adam and Sharon. (Laughs)  I had still had a beard on the show back then!  What’s he going to do?  I think this Adam sickness, this addiction, this pathology that he has, I think Rey hopes he can just arrest him and he will just go away for ever.  That’s playing in the back of my mind, like, ‘there’s no way Adam can keep up this behavior for much longer’.  Rey is crazy about Sharon. T here’s also some ego involved here, too of, ‘I got to be the guy here.  I can’t lose to this guy’.  But man, does Rey have a threshold for dealing with this stuff.  Remember, his (ex) wife had sex with his brother, and then she did it again, and now they are having a child together… and Rey was still able to move on.”

Photo: JPI

Case clarified from her previous 25th anniversary interview with Fairman, just who is Sharon Newman’s ultimate love, Nick (Joshua Morrow) or Adam?  Case had stated Adam.  The actress explained:  “When you think about what the character’s have been through, the history of The Young and the Restless, how stories are usually told – and what I mean by all that is Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) and Victor (Eric Braeden) have always been the “It” couple of the history of Y&R and they are very different.  They actually remind me more of Adam and Sharon then Nick and Sharon.  Nick turned out more to be the good son, while Adam was more in the image of his father, and it would be the obvious choice to guess that Nick and Sharon would be endgame.  I think soaps try to not go in the obvious way.  The two men that she has been married to, and were the biggest loves of her life, and both Victor’s kids, choosing between those that is why I said what I said, and why I think that’s true.  Sharon and Adam don’t have all of the pain, that Sharon and Nick have had from multiple cheatings and a loss of a child which is very hard for a couple to ever get past that.   I also think that Sharon and Nick are sort of together now anyways as co-parents and are such good friends.  They have a new relationship – they are not together in a romantic way – but their relationship is really great now and very full for what it is.”

Photo: JPI

Grossman shared that knowing Chelsea has a history of being con-artist, that she could potentially pull some stunts on Adam and Sharon to keep them apart:  “That’s always in the back of his mind.  You know, maybe she will start to con Adam and maybe he might pick up on it, maybe he doesn’t pick up on it, but obviously it’s a really sad situation that Adam is in.  There’s a lot going on in Adam’s life. It’s unfortunate that Connor (his son) is not there as he is off to boarding school, and then Adam wasn’t there because he went to Sharon’s wedding to peek his head in, and Chelsea had her stroke.  So there’s a lot of guilt there.  I think it’s really frustrating to him that he can’t have a conversation with this woman – who is his fiancée – and this is his fault and he caused all this.  But there’s always the underlying pull from Sharon, and after they kiss there are a lot of conflicted feelings there.”

Watch the entire interview with Sharon, Mark and Jordi below.

Now weigh-in: Are you Team Rey or Team Adam? Who do you want Sharon to ultimately wind up with? Share your thoughts and theories in the comment section.

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Interviews

Catherine Hickland Talks On ‘ABC Daytime: Back on Broadway’, One Life to Live, and the Heartbreaking Deaths of Carrie Fisher & Debbie Reynolds

Former One Life to Live star, Catherine Hickland (Ex-Lindsay Rappaport) along with many of her former co-stars, and actors from All My Children and General Hospital, will be taking part in tonight’s ABC Daytime: Back on Broadway livestream benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS which begins at 8 pm EST.  You can watch it here.

Ahead of the event, Catherine chatted with Michael Fairman exclusively for the Michael Fairman Channel from her home in Las Vegas; where she discussed being part of the live musical benefit that was originally created back in 2005 and lasted till 2011 as a one night only live event called: ABC Daytime: Salutes Broadway Cares.  Now 10 years later, the actors will revisit their performances as their production numbers from the past are part of the 2021 livestream to help those in need that have been hardest hit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Photo: ABC

During the conversation with Fairman, Hickland also talks on her lengthy soap opera career where she not only appeared on OLTL, but Loving/The City, Capitol, and Texas, as well. 

On a highlight, Catherine recalls playing One Life’s Lindsay and her ongoing on-screen feud with Nora Buchanan played by Hillary B. Smith.  She also speaks on her marriage to her former husband, Michael E. Knight (Ex-Tad, AMC, now Martin, GH) and working in the daytime genre and then at one time getting burnt out.

Hickland, who is now married to Todd Fisher, opened up about the devastating loss of her mother-in-law, Debbie Reynolds, and her sister-in-law, Carrie Fisher, just one day a part back in 2017, and how the couple dealt with this tragedy.  The real-life duo now host, “Cat and Todd Live” on Facebook each week.

Photo: JPI

In addition Catherine will be participating in ABC Daytime: Back on Broadway’s Virtual One-on-One Meet and Greets with the stars on Saturday, February 13th.  For info on how to participate click here.

To make a donation to Broadway Cares: Equity Fights AIDS click here.  With a screenshot of your donation, you can enter a chance to win either “Star Wars” or Debbie Reynolds memorabilia as detailed by Catherine in this interview.

Watch Catherine’s conversation below.

Then let us know, if you loved the Lindsay/Nora feud on One Life? If you watched the livestream of ABC Daytime: Back on Broadway? And, what was your favorite part of the interview with Catherine via the comment section.

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Days Of Our Lives

Linda Dano Talks Taking On DAYS Vivian, Heartfelt Memories of Another World & Felicia Gallant, One Life to Live, Winning a Daytime Emmy & More

Currently, daytime fans are getting to see one of the most beloved actress in the history of the soap genre, Linda Dano, on NBC’s Days of our Lives in the role of the villainess Vivian Alamain.

Dano is taking on the part originally made soap-famous by Louise Sorel, and last played by Robin Strasser. Now it’s Dano’s turn to bring her own style to the role as viewers have witnessed that Vivian has kidnapped Eli (Lamon Archey) and Lani’s (Sal Stowers) twins, thanks to Viv’s sidekick, Ivan (Ivan G’Vera), and the story and all the drama continues this week.

Photo: JPI

In a very special conversation on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Linda chats with Michael about the challenges she faced stepping into Vivian’s shoes, and working with the cast and crew at DAYS.

 

Linda also shares her sorrow over the heartbreaking cancellation, and then taping final episode of Another World, where she played her signature soap role of Felicia Gallant for 18 years.  During her run, Dano won the Outstanding Lead Actress Daytime Emmy in 1993 for Felicia’s battle with alcoholism, which as she reveals she is still stopped on the street about to this day.

Photo:NATAS

Soap fans will recall that Dano is the only actress to crossover to all of the ABC daytime dramas when she returned to One Life to Live, (following her time on Another World), in the part of Gretel “Rae” Cummings, and we learned that Rae was the bio-mother of Skye Chandler, played by Robin Christopher.

Photo: NBC

Throughout her career, Dano also appeared on Guiding Light and As the World Turns, hosted the talk show, Attitudes and is known as one of the fashionable people in the business.  Linda formerly helped dress many of your favorite soap stars, wrote a book on having just the right look, and is always on the cutting edge of the fashion world.

As you will see, the conversation was poignant, humorous, and candid, but what else would you expect from the one and only Linda Dano?  You can watch the full chat below.

What have you thought of Linda’s portrayal of DAYS Vivian thus far? Was your favorite soap role of Linda’s … that of AW’s Felicia Gallant? What story that she shared in the conversation did you enjoy hearing about the most?  Let us know via the comment section.

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