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The Melissa Claire Egan Interview – The Young and the Restless

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

It’s been a whirlwind week for Chelsea Lawson, and her portrayer, the previously Daytime Emmy nominated, Melissa Claire Egan on The Young and the Restless! Chelsea wandered into the dangerous ponds of Genoa City, almost died, gave birth to her baby (with a rescue and an assist from Adam Newman) and then gave up her baby boy to Billy and Victoria. From the looks of it, it sets Chelsea free to migrate into other stories while building a future bond or battle, and a continued history with Y&R’s favorite couple, Villy!  As many know on yesterday’s episode, Victoria decided she wanted to name the little boy, John, after Billy’s dad, in a truly heartwarming moment.

On-Air On-Soaps spoke to Melissa Claire Egan to get her thoughts on all of Chelsea’s antics, the riveting last few Y&R episodes with her front and center, if there is a romantic future with Adam, and the back-story of her parents!  We recently learned that Jeffrey Bardwell is Chelsea’s bio-dad.  And don’t forget mom, grifter extraordinaire, Anita!   With so many stories yet to play out, the Y&R writers and producers are certainly ready to put it in the more than capable hands of Egan.

Of course, many daytime fans know Melissa best from her work on All My Children as Annie, a woman who became so unglued that she became a resident whack-job.  But once again in the hands of Egan, Annie had so such depth, that you couldn’t at times feel bad for her desperation to hold on to the men she loved, or the future she wanted for herself and her daughter, Emma.  What is most sincere, as you will read, is Melissa’s memories of the show and revealing what she felt about the final episode.  And like most AMC fans, she is still not over the fact that the beloved soap is no longer on the air.  Always delightful and full of spunk, here is our conversation with Melissa!

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Chelsea’s world has been unraveling and been very interesting this week.  However, it started last week when she fell into the icy ponds of Genoa City.   Did you like the drama of that?  Many residents of GC have not survived those waters!

MELISSA:

Of course, everyone falls into a pond in Genoa City, and then there is some danger. I think like, eight people have died in there.  So I didn’t know if I would make it! (Laughs) I knew about it when I read the script.  I was kind of intrigued and excited by it, because it was kind of my first catastrophic event to happen on Y&R.  And then when I found out she was going to go into labor, I was really excited about it to see how that was going to turn out.  Plus, I was kind of over being pregnant on the show.

MICHAEL:

You must have been over it, having to dress frumpy, when you are so beautiful in real life.  You probably get really tired of the whole pregnancy get-up!

MELISSA:

You do!  I mean I kind of enjoyed it, but it’s a pain wearing that padding and suit.  I was excited to see what would happen story-wise after Chelsea gave birth and how it would all go down.

MICHAEL:

You have had the opportunity to mix it up with some amazing actors on this show.  Now you can also add Michael Muhney (Adam) to the list.  There must be a potential now for an Adam and Chelsea pairing.  What are your thoughts on Michael and his Y&R alter-ego, Adam?

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

MELISSA:

I love working with Michael.  I heard about him because my mom had watched Y&R before I joined.  So when I told her my character was going to be mixed-up with Adam, she went, “Oh! He is so good, but so bad!” (Laughs)  She told me he was a great character, but an evil one, so I was really excited.  And now knowing Michael, it has been so much fun.  Michael is such a pro.  He makes me look better, for sure.  It has just been fun for both of us to get to know each other’s acting styles and working together.  Everyone seems to think we have good on-screen chemistry, so it’s been awesome.  I think it’s an interesting energy between Chelsea and Adam being the “bad guys” in town.  

MICHAEL:

Adam delivered Chelsea’s baby and then Chelsea gave it up to Billy and Victoria! But is she really going to just let them have the little bundle of joy?

MELISSA:

Chelsea gave the baby up this week, and as of now it looks like she is keeping her word, although you never know.  Adam will be in the equation after all of this.  He has definitely been a support system for her, especially now.  Billy and Victoria now have the baby, and Chelsea is not going to live with them anymore.  She has to decide now what she is going to do with her life … like for her it’s an issue of “Well, what now?”

MICHAEL:

As an actress playing the character, do you think it was hard for her to give up her newborn baby boy? Did Chelsea have some very deep regrets?

MELISSA:

I think it was hard for her.  I mean, I have never had a baby in real life, but I can just imagine if you create this child and carry it for nine months and then go through this tumultuous labor.  I think at this point, she is really trying to be selfless, and do what is best for the baby, which is not to be with her.  She is such a grifter and irresponsible.  At this point, she is doing what is best for her baby boy.

MICHAEL:

At the beginning of the whole pregnancy mess, do you think Chelsea loved or was obsessed with Billy Abbott?  Or, was it all just a con for her?

MELISSA:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I think at the time when they met and hooked up, I think Chelsea was probably a bad person.  She was trying to take advantage of him and his money.  He has a way with the ladies.  Billy Abbott makes them want to drug him and take advantage of him. (Laughs) I am sure she had feelings for Billy at the beginning, but now too much has happened.  She knows that she is not going to break up the marriage of Billy and Victoria.  I think she has moved on. I really don’t think at this point she has any interest in breaking up their marriage.  She sees how solid their marriage is and I think she realized, “Alright. They are both good people.  They are in love.  This is not going to happen.”   I say, “Go to Match.com, Chelsea!  (Laughs) Go find someone else to try to date.” (Laughs) I think Billy Miller as Billy Abbott kind of liked this commune-hippie fee to his living lifestyle.  There was kind of a “Big Love” thing going on at the Billy Abbott house. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

How is working with your dear friend, Billy Miller (Billy)?

MELISSA:

Terrible!  I will tell you the truth later, off the record (Laughs) It’s great.  We are buds from way back, of course, from our days on All My Children, and so we have been hanging out even before I came to Y&R.  Now being here with Billy I get to see him double!

MICHAEL:

Did the two of you talk before you came on board at Y&R, about if you should take the role of Chelsea?

MELISSA:

I did tell him I was going into a meeting at Y&R, but I knew the character would be involved with Billy and Victoria, and involved with Adam.  So I knew how exciting this was going to be, because in my mind they are three of the very best and most popular characters on the show.  We did not really talk about it too extensively because the whole thing happened so quickly.

MICHAEL:

What do you think of Billy and Victoria?  They are clearly one of the fan favorite couples of Y&R.

MELISSA:

They are my favorite couple on the show.  People would tweet me and say, “You better not be breaking up Billy and Victoria.”  I hope I am not, either.  I am glad that the couple persevered and got their baby and all that good stuff.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Melissa, what has been great to see is how the writers are building anchors for your character, which guarantee longevity for you and Chelsea.  There is your relationship with Billy and Victoria, your child, Adam, your mom Anita and now, your bio-dad has been revealed to be Jeffrey Bardwell, of all people!

MELISSA:

Yes, I agree.  It’s been a lot in a short amount time, but it’s great to have so many people to be intertwined with, if you will.

MICHAEL:

What did you think of the plot point that Jeffrey (Ted Shackelford) was Chelsea’s father?  That was kind of out of left field!

MELISSA:

You know, that came out of nowhere!  I did not know that was going to happen at all. Then, I thought it was really cool.  I knew about Catherine Bach coming on to Y&R as my mother, but I had no idea they were going to go for a “finding my father” storyline, too.  That was kind of put in there in the midst of everything while Chelsea was dealing with her baby.  So it came up and then went away rather quickly.  But I think it will be explored later.  But right now, the show has been so focused on her having the baby, the Billy/Victoria stuff and the Adam stuff.  It’s kind of on the sidelines right now.  I mean, Chelsea had a few busy weeks, there! (Laughs)  You know, falling through the lake, giving birth without having any drugs on board in a cabin, and almost dying.  But who knows?  I am certain they will go back and explore Jeffrey and Chelsea’s relationship at some point.  Right now, she has her hands full … this week! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Y&R’s executive producer and head writer, Maria Arena Bell, recently told me she thinks that you and Catherine Bach, look like mother and daughter in real life.  Do you think so?

MELISSA:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I agree!  My mom jokes that I look nothing like her, and I look my dad.  My mom has blonde hair and is the total opposite of me.  I do wear “Daisy Dukes”, though to bed! (Laughs)  No, I don’t.  I wish I could.  (Laughs)   My real mom keeps joking that Catherine Bach looks more like she could be my mom!  She does.  It’s pretty crazy … the hair… and her skin tone.  Catherine is beautiful.  I have not worn my own “Daisy Dukes” in a while, although I am going to Coachella this weekend, so I might bring them out for that.  We will see.  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

It’s been “Grifter Central” in the Billy Abbott Home. (Laughs) You must have had fun with Catherine and Billy playing the absurdity of it all.  Were there some laugh riot moments?

MELISSA:

I think Billy and I always like to give each other a hard time.  We like to “Bust each others chops,” if you will.

MICHAEL:

From when you and Billy Miller started as the brother/sister act of Richie and Annie Novack on AMC , to your roles on Y&R, who knew this is how you would eventually interact on screen, and how your lives took you from New York City to Los Angeles.

MELISSA:

Courtesy/ABC

It’s pretty crazy how much has happened to us, and truthfully, I can’t believe it has been so many years now.  It’s amazing the friendships and relationships you make in this crazy business.

MICHAEL:

What has been your favorite Billy Miller scene from your time with him on All My Children, and from your time thus far with him on The Young and the Restless?

MELISSA:

On AMC, I loved when Annie pretended to be shot and “died” and Richie got really scared.  On Y&R, I would have to say, when Chelsea and Billy were flirting at the bar.  I just love flirting with Billy Miller!  It’s so much fun.  Also, when Billy and I are being nasty to each other in scenes.  I have liked that, too!

MICHAEL:

Do you want to see Chelsea mellow out or continue to have a bitchy backbone?  You play the bitchy, crazy, and vulnerable gal so well!

MELISSA:

I really like the bitchy parts (Laughs).  I like that Chelsea has mellowed out a little bit, and she is not as nasty, but I really hope she does not lose her spunk.  She is a fun, bitchy character.  I like that she gives people a hard time and doesn’t care.  It’s fun to play.

MICHAEL:

Adam and Chelsea could really be a pair to be watchful of, if you are a citizen in Genoa City!  Quite the dangerous duo …  would you agree?

MELISSA:

I think so!  I see them causing trouble together in the future, but we shall see!

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I hope there is not another custody battle down the line on Y&R over a child, with the fight instigated by Chelsea to get her baby back from Billy and Victoria.  Enough is enough.  Do you think that could possibly happen?

MELISSA:

I don’t think so.  It seems Chelsea really wants the baby to be in a good place and in a strong family environment, which she certainly doesn’t have right now.  I don’t even think she has a house now.  Thanks to Billy, she is kind of on the street! (Laughs) 

MICHAEL:

How has it been working with Amelia Heinle (Victoria)?

MELISSA:

I love Amelia.  I am very impressed with her and she is awesomeness!  She is so lovely and such a great actress, and she is such a pleasure to work with.  It is especially fun when it’s me, Billy, and Amelia working in scenes together.  There is a lot of goofiness between us, and the best part of a long shoot day, is that the three of us can go have a glass of wine after!

MICHAEL:

Where are you at with All My Children being gone, and the legacy of the show, and putting it behind you?  You were such an integral part of its storytelling in the final years of the soap.  Do you still see many of your AMC pals and stay in touch with them?

MELISSA:

I see Chrishell Stause (Amanda) all the time.  She is my “Bestie”.  I talk with Cameron Mathison (Ryan), but he is New York a lot with Good Morning America, so he is kind of hard to pin down.  I saw Stephanie Gatschet (Madison), Christina Bennett Lind (Bianca), and Jill Larson (Opal) recently at this Yoga-thon.  It was so fun to see all those gals.  Especially in this business, you see them at auditions, or the gym, and all over. Luckily now, we are all in the same town for the most part.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Would you say that Pine Valley’s Annie Novak McDermott Lavery Chandler was one of your favorite roles of your career?

MELISSA:

All My Children changed my life in an amazing way.  I was playing that part from age 24 to Age 28, which are such important years of your life.  It was such an important job for me which took me to New York.  Then I got to have all these experiences in New York, and the benefits of having a great job at that age.  I saw a couple of episodes of All My Children on SOAPnet recently, and I am blonde on it!  So, to look back on that, and go, “Wow! That was six years ago,” and that is kind of insane.

MICHAEL:

What do you think about the final episode of AMC?  Many felt underwhelmed.  It was very upsetting to fans that wanted closure, when the writers had to leave things with a cliffhanger on the belief it was moving to the Internet and continuing on via Prospect Park. 

MELISSA:

I did watch it.  Of course I did.  I loved it because I have loved that show for so long.  I loved All My Children when I was growing up.  I was kind of bummed that they did not use the ending we all taped, which showed us all in the future.  I was kind of sad not to see that, because it tied it all up in a bow.  But, I understand also why they didn’t.  I am so proud of everyone involved, but it was so hard to end a show, when you think it could be possibly moving to the Internet.  It was hard.  It was hard for everyone. I think they did a great job.  I was sad to see it gone.  I am still in shock.  I think it’s such an iconic show, and it makes me very sad that it was the final episode last September.

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

MICHAEL:

And as they say, when one door closes, another opens.  And for you, that was coming over to the number one soap, The Young and the Restless.  So, what would you say in a general sense to viewers to look forward to from Chelsea?  And, right now, what do you want for her?

MELISSA:

The viewers met Chelsea as a schemester and pregnant with child.  She did not have any friends.  And now, you will be able to see her personality.  We can see her finally in some hot clothes, maybe a skirt, and high heels.  She is no longer the beached whale at the bar.  (Laughs)  I would like to see her maybe more vixenish, and not just a baby mamma, but more of a young girl in a new town trying to make her way.  Maybe, since Chelsea did not get Billy the way she wanted to, maybe she will get some lovin’ in her life.  She has had a lot of hardship lately.  I definitely think she needs to get some lovin’!

 

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Dawn HesterMarie GrandeBrenda LeeKelpat coggins Recent comment authors
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Lynn
Guest
Lynn

Thanks for the great interview. MCE has already had a memorable soap history. I wish her lots more!

ricardo
Guest
ricardo

bravo michael fairman wonderful interview. i love melissa what a great actress. i hope she stays on the young and the restless for a long time. loved melissa as crazy annie on all my children. now all we need is cameron mathison to come to the young and the restless. that would be a dream come true.

Rhonda
Guest
Rhonda

“He has a way with the ladies. Billy Abbott makes them want to drug him and take advantage of him. (Laughs)” Wow, just wow.

Cindy
Guest
Cindy

I can not believe you did this interview and couldn’t ask one question about JR and Annie or possible crossover to LA for Chelsea. No further comments necessary Fairman.

Karina
Guest
Karina

I must say I agree! The chemistry between Jacob Young & Missy Egan was insane. I would have loved for those two to be together at the end of AMC. But since the writers left us fans in the ditch on that one, a Rick/Chelsea cross-over would be blissful!!!!

Leina
Guest
Leina

I just read this interview and was also bummed that the question wasn’t asked if she had any thoughts on a cross-over to B and B or Jacob crossing over to Yand R so they may again be paired together..They were on their way to supercouple status before she decided to leave AMC. Their chemistry was like no other. They were acting soulmates. Jacob could surely use her now as a love interest.

Reel Views
Guest
Reel Views

MCE definitely has chemistry with Michael Muhney, but I’ve never seen an actor have the ability to play off of other actors so well like MM does. He’s quite the hat trick: Good actor, great personality, and one hot dude.

MCE/MM’s Chadam pairing is something to look forward too, especially with Sharon’s jealousy of Adam’s attention to Chelsea looking on. I expect fireworks coming too.

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

I always liked Annie on All My Children. I think Melissa is gorgeous. She is ALSO the LOOKALIKE of Trista (Rehn) Sutter, the FIRST bachelorette that got married. They look like twins and have the same smile. I wonder if they have ever been told how that they lookalike? In writing this post, I looked up their birthdays to see how close they are in age. Go Trista! You look great! I would never believe that you are NINE year’s older than Melissa (maybe 2 or 3 but NOT nine). Another thing Melissa and Trista have in common is: They… Read more »

TnT 2.0 Forever
Guest
TnT 2.0 Forever

Thanks for the interview! MCE is an amazing actress. I am happy for her success and I wish her even greater success in her career.

brandy
Guest
brandy

leave shadamam alone.Chadam work good as friends. The ratings are bad enough. She and adam can be friends, with jealous sharon. I also want sharon to be pregnant with adam babt.eery friendship dont have to be romance, just like Michael and phyllis.

Simone
Guest
Simone

I am really starting to like the idea of Chelsea and Adam as a couple. I have never really been a fan of Adam, but I love his scenes with Chelsea. I hope that their relationship grows beyond friendship.

Juanita
Guest
Juanita

I really love the shirt Chelsea wore on Young and the restless today. Where can you get it. The open shoulder, tye dye look. Loved it.

ToddBlairStarrJack
Guest
ToddBlairStarrJack

I am loving the Chelsea/Adam pairing. MCE and MM play very well off each other, Cheldam are my favorite Y&R couple. Please tptb don’t wreck them too much!!

john gavert
Guest
john gavert

Y@R fan now for 2 years Think Michael And Melissa are fabulous acting talents.

pat coggins
Guest
pat coggins

Is Mellissa pregnant in real life this time around since they haveher pregnant again so soon.

Kel
Guest
Kel

I really hate the Adam with Chelsea . I loved loved Adam and Sharon as do sooo many miss Shadam , We can’t forgive Chelsea for giving away her baby just like that!

Brenda Lee
Guest
Brenda Lee

I hate Adam had taged up with the penis hungry Sharom. I wished he would get back with Chelsea/ Sharon needs to get her a viberter, she stays too host. I hope chelsea have a little girl and name her hope. If sharon become pregnate I hope she be forgotten and go away. I will not watch the young and the restless no more until they put adam with chelsea.

Marie Grande
Guest
Marie Grande

I love the Y&R, watch it during the day and night. I think Adam is gorgeous and a great actor. I hope Adam and Chelsea get back together, although I like Dylan also. I come from Winthrop, MA, it’s like the Y&R in a way. Keep up the great acting Adam.

Dawn Hester
Guest
Dawn Hester

I Love Chelsea, favorite actress on show…Everyday I watch to see what Chelsea is wearing (beautiful) and hated Chelsea at first “just proves what agreat actress you are”.

Interviews

B&B’s Scott Clifton and Don Diamont Talk on the Plight of Liam & Bill and Their Cover-Up of Vinny’s Death

If you are watching current episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful then you know that Scott Clifton (Liam) and his on-screen father, Don Diamont (Bill Spencer) have been spending plenty of time together in scenes in very dramatic and intense fashion.

In story, Liam is guilt-ridden over running down Vinny Carter (Joe LoCicero) by accident when he was driving Bill’s car.  Since the moment that Vinny was killed, Bill leapt into action, destroying any evidence tying the two to the scene of the crime and continually demanding that Liam let this go and move on with his life, or the implications for the both of them could certainly be a long jail sentence, or worse.

Photo: JPI

Now as Liam is finally making headway in a reconciliation with Hope (remember his last secret – sleeping with Steffy – was quite the doozy), this new secret of what he has done, and hiding, could up the stakes even more and take him away from his family for good … or would Hope (Annika Noelle) after finding out what Liam did be the nail in his coffin that ends their relationship once and for all and kicks him to the curb?

Courtesy/CBS

Both, Scott Clifton and Don Diamont chatted virtually with Michael Fairman exclusively for You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel to offer up for viewers and fans of The Bold and the Beautiful: an inside look at what goes on when they tape their scenes, how they see their characters motivations, and they serve up a preview of what may lie ahead in this tangled web that Bill and Liam have unfortunately weaved.

Photo: JPI

Check out the humorous, candid, and enlightening conversation with two of the leads and mainstays of this CBS Daytime drama series below.

Then let us know; how do you think Liam and Bill can get out of the mess they find themselves in? Will Liam crumble and spill the beans? Will everyone in town get on to them and figure out the secret they have been keeping? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section after taking a look at the virtual conversation.

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Days Of Our Lives

Kevin Spirtas Talks ‘After Forever’s’ Digital Special ‘Riley’s Unforgettable School Project’, The Loss of Michael Slade, and a Chance to Reprise DAYS Craig Wesley

The coronavirus pandemic has put to the test many content creators on just how they would keep their projects moving forward in ways they never dreamed of. However, out of that situation has come some of the most compelling, unique series, specials, and features currently streaming for viewers. One of which is Riley’s Unforgettable School Project, brought to you by the team from the six-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning series, After Forever.

Former Days of our Lives star, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley) has starred in and created the first two seasons of what has become the most honored Emmy-awarded LGBTQ-themed drama series on any platform.  Along with his ‘After Forever’ writing/producing partner, the late Michael Slade (DAYS, OLTL, Passions, Another World), the two also conceptualized and delivered this latest documentary-style offering now on Amazon Prime Video.

What makes Riley’s Unforgettable School Project so noteworthy is not just how they were able to execute the series based on fictional 11-year-old Riley’s virtual school project and utilize its cast, which includes: Spirtas, Cady Huffman, Jamison Stern, Lenny Wolpe, Erin Cherry, Anita Gillette, Christopher J. Hanke, and Finn Douglas, but that it was made while Slade was succumbing to his battle with cancer, and that this special marks the final script from this talented writer.

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Spirtas about making the special during Covid-19, how the death of Michael Slade has made a lasting impact on his life, what After Forever has personally meant to him, and how an official third season is still in the works, and … if he would consider a return to Salem and Days of our Lives, should they come a-calling.  Here’s what Kevin had to say about it all.

Photo: AfterForever

I think the entire story of this digital special has become even more meaningful with Michael Slade’s passing. What was the genesis of the concept? You wanted to continue the telling of the story of After Forever … but we are all in the middle of a pandemic?

KEVIN:  Yes and… when we filmed season 2, we had the scripts for season 3 already completed. It was our hope and desire to film them at the same time, back-to-back, so that we would have had all of our cast and crew together, and we could have gotten through it because we’ve always imagined this story being told in a trilogy so to speak – a beginning, middle, and end to Brian (Spirtas) and Jason, (Mitchell Anderson) and Brian’s healing or his steps towards healing through grief.  Schedules turned out that they couldn’t really work out for us to hold all the people and hold all of the sets for that amount of time.  So, we thought, “We’ve got the scripts for season 3 ready.  We’ll come back to it in the following year,” and that was always the intention, and then the pandemic hit.  So, it was shut down immediately that we weren’t going to do anything, but we wanted to stay current, and instead of going back in and telling the third installment of After Forever as a Covid-19 story as well, Michael and I sat down and looked at a way of staying relevant and current with a story within COVID, and there was born the idea to do this documentary style story/special about the characters of After Forever told through the lens of the character of Riley, the 11-year-old boy, who is now being homeschooled during the pandemic. He gets an assignment to do a project about the most unforgettable person he has ever met, and he, of course, chooses his best friend, the late Jason Adams, and he enlists all of Jason’s friends and family to join in.  Michael actually said, “What if we tell a story about Riley being homeschooled?” And, not only is Riley a technical genius at 11-years-old in the story, but Finn Douglas, who plays Riley, is a technical genius.

And didn’t Finn perform and write the song “Forever There” contained within the special?

KEVIN. Yes. He is this incredible musician.  Michael thought, “What would it be like if we asked to have the character of Finn sing a song for Jason?”  I said, “Well, what kind of song would we have him sing?”  Finn could play anything, I’m sure, because he’s self-taught, he plays by ear – guitar, piano, and drums.  Michael said, “What if we ask him to see if he could write a song?” and when we heard this song, we all called each other and we all got on Zoom and went, “Can you believe this song?  Can you believe this came out of this 11-year-old?”  It’s pretty incredible.  Michael did a gorgeous job of weaving the stories in and out and how they just sort of dove-tailed into each other, and then it was framed by Riley opening the project and ending the project.  During the Zoom reading we wanted to hear the song out loud.  We said to Finn, “Would you want to sing the song?”  We all just watched everybody on that Zoom call just fall apart.  It was just so beautiful. He’s an amazing talent.

Where is your character within this?

KEVIN:  I still stand in the center of the story of Jason because my character, Brian, was married to Jason, and it sort of connects us all, and through Riley’s understanding of how we all connect to Jason, is how we are all sort of spread out throughout the story.  Michael jokingly said, “You know, you’re not going to be the star of this special,” and I said, “I don’t think it’s about being the star.  It’s really about the storytelling.”  The beauty of Riley’s Unforgettable School Project is that we get to see moments of each person’s relationship with Jason, which Riley sets out to say, “Answer these three questions: What did you like most about Jason?  What did you like least about Jason? And what’s your favorite memory?”  Those three things, cut back and forth is where we all kind of fit in.  Nobody has more of a story than the next person, and it’s all telling honest portrayals of how they’re dealing with their loss of their good friend, or their child, or partner.

It’s a very inventive idea during Covid-19 to continue it in a way where you weren’t having to go shoot a full season of episodes.

KEVIN:  Well, we couldn’t. I have to say, Allison Vanore, who not only produced this special, but she also stepped up saying, “I’d love to direct this,” and I said, “Yes, please!”  She knows the characters.  She understands the story because she’s been a part of it for the last two seasons.  Allison also has this extraordinary amount of knowledge and expertise with the camera and what was needed for a remote shoot, and to also be able to organize filming 13 people in 2 different countries and 5 different cities… that’s just the technical side of it, but having that in our back pocket, knowing that it was a remote shoot, we had to send the camera, the computer, the ring light, and the microphone to each person’s house.  We had to location scout over Zoom.  We had to do wardrobe over Zoom.  It was all this big puzzle putting it together, and once you look at that board of storytelling and how we were going to do it, it kind of fell into place.  I feel blessed that a) we still had Michael with us, at that point, and b) Allison had the know-how to do this.  We all feel that at least this pandemic didn’t keep us from doing what we love.

Photo: AfterForever

In terms of the contribution of Michael Slade in this special, was it the construction of the story, and how was he able to work and write this during his illness?

KEVIN:  Michael’s contribution to the special was no less than the contribution to season 1 and season 2, and the future of season 3, because the scripts are written.  We did everything on Zoom, and we worked around his schedule of treatment.  We scheduled 2 people per day, and we spread them out over two weeks.  He was very present, and when there would be a day where he would say, “I’m going to be an hour late, let’s just push that call time,” I would ask, “Is this too much right now?  We can shelve it; we can stop it.” He’d then say, “Absolutely not, otherwise cancer will win.”  He was determined to stay focused and to stay active because it took his mind off of what was happening to him.

Photo: AfterForever

It would be lovely moment if you both were to win a Daytime Emmy for this project. 

KEVIN:  It’s our last collaboration together as a team, as I said, season 3 has been scripted, and it is on the calendar to get made.  We are just waiting for the COVID restrictions to lift a little bit and everyone to get vaccinated.  Michael was really hit hard with cancer – to stay healthy was so challenging for him.  Sadly, he didn’t make it to see the final edit of the special, and he died four days before we launched, but he had seen the cuts before that and was very approving of it, and had made some decisions, and offered some suggestions, and if God gives him an Emmy for this, it’s not because he died.  It’s because it’s great work.  It just happens to be that the work that was involved in this particular special was very tricky.  It brought up everything, like life itself to have to deal with.  Here we are dealing with the loss of a colleague, the loss of a friend, someone’s brother, someone’s son, this is life imitating art, imitating art imitating life. I can’t tell you the darkness that I went through just experiencing the need to stay focused on getting everything edited, and everything ready, and everything aligned for a release of this project that we had put into motion.  On top of it, our editor lost his mother just before Michael passed, and Allison’s mom was sick at the time, as well.  It took a lot of heavy deep breaths with Michael’s death, and the pandemic, and the loss has, for me, on a personal level, sent me back to really questioning my spiritual muscle and to help remind me that we have to come out of this better than we went into this.  I had many dark nights of the soul this last year, and December was probably the darkest.  I feel like I’m just kind of coming out of it now with the spring revealing itself.

Photo: AfterForever

It must have been extraordinarily difficult for you to also go to New York during a pandemic and also knowing Michael did not have much time left.

KEVIN:  I will say this: I am grateful that I was able to stay in touch with my heart and my instinct and go out to New York to let that be my remote location.  Yes, maybe there was some risk involved.  I wore my mask; I was Covid-19 negative, and I was determined to be fine.  Once I got to New York, I would visit him very protectively with our masks and our gloves, and I’d sit across the room, and then I’d go back to the house I was at.  It was a gift that I was able to see him at that time.  We had some good talks then about how he was feeling, and I think he was still being optimistic, and then once we got the project in the can there was maybe this psychic letting go. That’s when everything really started to reveal itself as this could be the end.  I did go back to see him when he was in hospice.  I think I was there the last two days that he really was able to really stay coherent.  He would close his eyes and be at peace and quiet for a minute, and he would finish a conversation and sort of close his eyes, not to sleep and not to go away, but I remember watching him going, “Look how peaceful he is,” and then he’d open his eyes and he’d remember that he is in this body that has been given a time limit of life, and he’s on his way out.  I’d watch the fear go back in his eyes.  At one point, he did say, “I’m so scared,” and I just held his hand, and I said, “I’m scared too.  Let’s be scared through this together.”  I don’t know how to navigate grief like that.  We are all going to be in a position at some point where we are going to be on the other side of the hand holding.  The wonderful thing is that we were able to have honest communication about our feelings.  I thanked him for everything that he has done for me and how he believed in my talent and creativity and our partnership.  I will always take that with me.  I waved my finger at him, and I said, “Listen.  Now, we wrote a series about a man talking to his deceased husband.  You’d better talk to me!”  So, we laughed about that.

Photo: AfterForever

You’ve done a lot of things in your career from Broadway to television, and of course, daytime fans know you best as Dr. Craig Wesley on DAYS.  How does the entire After Forever project stack up to you within all that you have done?

KEVIN:  Former DAYS casting director Fran Bascom, sought me out and offered me this 2-day role on Days of Our Lives, and those 2 days turned into 8 years, and unbeknownst to me at the time, the final 3 months of that contract of those 8 years, Michael Slade was brought in to write.  We didn’t cross paths at that point, but years later, when we did cross paths in New York, and then After Forever was born, that was that universal crossing point.  I am most proud of the fact that we were able create something fresh, and real, and personal to ourselves that we didn’t have to cater to any “powers that be” that had their vision and their tinkering, that they thought that it could be better in this way or that way.  Then for After Forever to gain such recognition, within the film festivals, and the Emmys, and then, just after Michael died, we won the GLAAD award for Special Recognition this year.  We don’t even fit into one of their categories!  They found a way to acknowledge this project.  If another Emmy happens again, that might be another one to put up on the shelf for After Forever that would be beautiful, and I couldn’t have done it without Michael.

For the Daytime Emmys this year, what category have you entered Riley’s Unforgettable School Project?

KEVIN:  We are not a series this year, we are a daytime fiction special, and the “Daytime Fiction Special” category is a special class.  It’s anything that’s digital in the construct of less than 40 minutes.  NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) is being bombarded with so much content, they’re trying to find ways to put categories together.

Photo: JPI

So, now, when we last saw Days of Lives’ Dr. Craig Wesley, where was he? (Laughs)

KEVIN: (Laughs) He was in a flash from the past or something in the DOOL app’s Last Blast Reunion series. I had a fun time working with Patrika Darbo (Nancy) and Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), once again.

So, if they were to want Craig to come back to DAYS, would you be all for it?

KEVIN:  Hell yes!

Photo: JPI

Now, what story would you want to be told involving Craig? 

KEVIN:  When Craig was first on the canvas in Salem, there was a lot of mustache twirling and a lot of hand wringing.  He was always plotting; most of the time with Nancy.  It was kind of this high drama, evil villain storyline being told, but when the writers created an opportunity for us to be on after those first three months by bringing on Chloe without a father, there was something real about it.  It may have been told under the construct of soap opera storytelling, but there was a reality-based story about, “You have a daughter, and we are just now finding out about it?”  Then, finding a cure to her health was another realistic story, and finding out that Craig was her real father.  Anything that’s reality based is what I’m getting to.  I would welcome any job that brings me back and gives me an opportunity to dive into something real.

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome the opportunity to play a gay character on daytime; in a medium where there are very few represented in storylines?

KEVIN:  I’d have no problem with that.  Do you know anybody who is starting that?  Let’s do it!  (Laughs) First of all, there’s nothing to hide anymore.  There’s nothing to pretend you’re not anymore.  I would think that bringing in a storyline that deals with anything outside the norm that we are used to seeing would be interesting.  How many times can you retell a story?  How many times can you set the same story up with another couple?  So, why not be diverse and have a stylized story being told through the lens of a gay person.

Photo: AfterForever

In closing, so many go through life without acknowledging people who had an impact them.  We don’t give pats on the back, often enough, and especially in Hollywood, where people can be very self-involved.  You have already paid tribute to Michael Slade in our discussion, but what gift from him is your personal takeaway?

KEVIN:  The gift that Michael really gave to me is to remember to be kind to myself and to others, and to acknowledge and salute the person who is in front of us, because we don’t know when we will have, or if we will have, another moment to do that.

Now below, check out the trailer for Riley’s Unforgettable School Project.  Then let us know, what do you think of its concept? Kevin’s thoughts on the passing of his collaborator on the project, Michael Slade? And, do you hope DAYS brings back Dr. Craig Wesley? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH’s Kin Shriner Talks on Franco’s Demise, Scott’s Budding Romance with Obrecht, and His Enduring On-Screen Partnership with Genie Francis

One of the most beloved actors in the history of General Hospital, Kin Shriner, currently finds his alter-ego, Scott Baldwin, in a new budding on-screen romance with none other than Liesl Obrecht (Kathleen Gati).

This comes on the heels of Scott learning the devastating news that his son, Franco Baldwin was shot and killed, thus writing-off the ABC daytime drama series, for now, popular actor, Roger Howarth.

Photo: JPI

Throughout his now almost 44-year-run on the ABC daytime drama series, Kin Shriner has brought his unique acting chops that helped mold the character of legal eagle Scott Baldwin into the humorous, at times cutthroat, endearing and many times heartbreaking character we have all come to love.’

 

In a brand new exclusive virtual sit-down interview with Michael Fairman on You Tube’s The Michael Fairman Channel, Shriner opens up about his history with GH and the times he stepped away to take on roles on Texas and As the World Turns, and then back again to the town of Port Charles and GH.

Photo: ABC

As well, Kin reveals his reaction to learning the news that Roger Howarth would be exiting the show as his TV son and how he shot the key emotional scene where Laura (Genie Francis) tells Scott that Franco had died.  Shriner shares that he does not see how when Howarth returns to the show in as a yet-to-be-revealed character, that it would be a stretch if the two were some how related, but that he will miss working with the talented Howarth as a scene-partner.

Photo: JPI

As to the women in Scott’s life, Kin addresses each of them from: Lucy (Lynn Herring), Bobbie (Jackie Zeman), Dominque (Shell Danielson), Laura (Francis), Ava (Maura West) – to which the character could never get that close to – and now Liesl (Gati), and working opposite all the powerhouse actresses who portray them.

Photo: ABC

For fans of General Hospital who have watched the series for decades, Kin also shares memories of working with his late TV parents, Peter Hansen (Lee), Susan Brown (Gail) and his friend and former GH castmate John Reilly (Sean), plus backstage stories with his longtime scene partner, Genie Francis.

Watch the entire conversation with Kin below.

Now let us know, are you all for the Scott and Liesl romance? Will you miss scenes between Scott and Franco?  Would you ever want to see Scott and Laura reunite romantically? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Y&R’s Joshua Morrow, Amelie Heinle, Mark Grossman, Hunter King and Melissa Ordway chat with Michael Fairman about being a part of and portraying the Newman Children as the show celebrates its 48th anniversary.Leave A Comment

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