Connect with us

Interviews

THE MICHAEL FAIRMAN INTERVIEW – THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

fairman-head33b.jpg

Many “On-Air On-Soaps” fans have emailed me and written to me, asking, “When I am going to do an interview with Michael Fairman, who plays Katherine’s new beau Murphy, on “The Young and the Restless”? Also, many fans have asked me, “Are you related to “Y&R’s” Michael Fairman?” Well, in an interview that has been almost 40 years in the making, the two ‘soap opera’ Michael Fairman’s finally meet up face to face in this very profound interview. There is more to this story and our connection than meets the eye. Read the transcript below for all the details and what’s coming up on “Y&R” and more! Without further adieu, Fairman interviews Fairman!

Listen to the audio:

[display_podcast]

MICHAEL:

So you and I share a very interesting past and connection. You changed your last name to Fairman, and actually called my parents when I was growing up to ask permission.
Tell me in your own words what happened?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

I became Michael Fairman officially in Milwaukee, Wisconsin around 1967. I looked through the phone book and wanted to find a “Fairman” to see if it was alright to use the name. I happened to call Michael Fairman’s dad. I said, “Mr. Fairman you are not going to believe this conversation, but my name is ‘so and so’, and I would like to change my name to Michael Fairman, and I would like your permission to be a Fairman.” Well, I guess it turned out he had a son named Michael Fairman.

MICHAEL:

It was interesting. I was 9-years-old at the time. I was sitting at the dinner table with my parents and the phone rang. I knew this man called and asked my dad if he could change his name to Fairman. My dad goes, “Sure!” Little did he realize I was going to go into show business on my own, let alone end up in soap operas! And now, every time people would see your name on a soap or episodic shows, they would ask me if I was on that particular show, and I would say, “No.”

fairman-fairman.jpgY&R FAIRMAN:

…And the real Michael Fairman went into show business, and he can’t use his name now after all these years! I feel bad. How am I going to make retribution?

MICHAEL:

You have done soaps such as “Ryan’s Hope” and “General Hospital” and now “Y&R”. Let’s start with “Ryan’s Hope”. How did that come about?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

I was on a soap opera called “Love of Life” where I played the power behind the Mayor. He was a nefarious guy. Paul Mayer and Claire Labine wrote that soap opera. When they were doing that soap opera they were creating a new soap called “Ryan’s Hope”. One day Claire called me in her office and said, “How would you like to be on a new soap with a new character called, “Nick Szabo”? He was Hungarian Mafioso, and Julie Barr (Ex- Brooke, “AMC” and Ex- Reenie, “RH”) was my daughter. The whole concept of my character was that he would be in continual conflict with the Ryan’s, especially Frank Ryan. I would be his nemesis, and then Julia Barr, as my daughter, would have my character, Nick, wrapped around her finger.

MICHAEL:

How was working with Daytime Emmy winner Julia Barr?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Julia was wonderful. It was a very interesting concept for soaps at the time. The Ryan’s were working-class people and they had a bar in Manhattan. Then, they had the Mafioso story, which was me, and then there were the doctors, and the newspaperman, Jack Fenelli. So it was real people, not the pretty boys and girls that they have usually on soaps.

NickSzabo.jpgMICHAEL:

What happened to Nick?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

He went away to Las Vegas, never to return after the first year. I was going to be a staple on the show, but an executive took over ABC Daytime and decided he did not want a Mafioso storyline, so I was let go.

audio_icon_small.jpg

MICHAEL:

Interesting, since now there is Mafioso galore over at “GH”! Now onto “Y&R,” and your audition with thee Jeanne Cooper (Katherine): How did it come about?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

I was asked, “Do you want to audition for a soap?” I said, “Why not?” And I looked Jeannie up on IMDB on the website. I had never seen her on “Y&R”, sorry to say, and she had just won an Emmy! I knew she was Corbin Bernsen’s mom. I had worked with him several times on LA LAW, so I decided to audition. When I got there Jeanne was so warm and accommodating, and so accessible. This was beyond. We were at the edge of the table, and on the three other sides of the table were the executives and the casting directors, and we just had a ball. My agent had said, “There has to be chemistry.” So we made chemistry. I did not hear anything for a couple days, and I got a call saying the chemistry was great, and that they liked me. When I came into work the first day, they all said kind things, and it worked out. As I work with Jeanne, she continually tells me how good we get along. It’s like a match made in heaven.

audio_icon_small.jpg

MICHAEL:

You knew Michelle Stafford (Phyllis), though, and got the low down on Jeanne from her, right?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

I talked to Michelle Stafford and she said, “Oh, you are going to love working with Jeanne Cooper.” Michelle Stafford and I go back to before she got “Y&R”. We were in acting class together. Michelle is a dynamite actress. We all thought she would do really well in feature films, but she has done very well in soaps, which she loves. She told me everyone loves working with Jeanne.

MICHAEL:

So, what do you think is at the core of Murphy, on “Y&R”?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

What was in the script is: he was married and his wife died, and he was kind of lonely. So he would go down to the diner and visit Marge, Pearl, and Joe Jr. He is a low maintenance guy who eeks out a living by running a bait and tackle shop. He lives in his trailer. He lets life go by day-by-day, enjoying it and enjoying fishing, and he’s not really very ambitious. Murphy is enjoying his golden years, and once he meets Marge, or who he thinks is Marge, he becomes very protective, and his purpose becomes more active. Life takes on another dimension for him with Marge. Then when Marge turns into Katherine, he finds qualities in Katherine that are attractive to him in a different way. There is a scene where he says, “You could shoot the breeze with Marge, but you could really talk to Katherine.” Katherine is a much more dimensional person than Marge. He liked Marge to pal around with, but I think he could have a real relationship with Katherine.

another-michael.jpgMICHAEL:

Does Murphy feel she is unattainable or does she intimidate him, since Katherine is, after all, “The Duchess”?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Murphy is not intimated by it. But he doesn’t really feel he can fit in. I am a little reluctant to think that I could fit in, although I still care about her. But, as far as taken into her life, I don’t think realistically, he could fit in, and I think it would be awkward for him.

MICHAEL:

Are we finally going to have some DNA testing?!

Y&R FAIRMAN:

She is going to have the DNA. Her  memory has been coming back in bits and pieces, and I believe she is Katherine. Now we have the ring that she pawned, and the pawnbroker has figured out it was Katherine who turned over the ring, and that’s a big plus.

MICHAEL:

How did Murphy feel about Marge?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

He already determined Marge was dead, and it was sad for him. The fact that here is Katherine, sort of mitigates that.

MICHAEL:

Will we soon find out about the DNA results?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

The DNA test results will come soon and she will know she is Katherine. We are already playing a scene where I know she has to go back to Genoa City. It’s kind of bittersweet. She says I can fit in, and I say, “Probably not.” Things will happen that will put things off for a while, in terms of their separation.

MICHAEL:

They will be separated?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

They will and they won’t.

cooperjoes.jpgMICHAEL:

Tell me about working with Jeanne?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

She is very improvisational. In fact, she will be talking to me and I don’t know she is doing the script. It’s such a reality in terms of the character, and we are able to improvise. It’s just that circumstance where two actors are so comfortable with each other and their characters can say or do most anything and it works. In a short time we have reached a level of comfortableness. And she has said, and I have said to her a number of times, “God, I really love working with you.” (and she goes) “And I really love working with you,” and we do. We enjoy it, and we high five each other after every scene. We are the fastest in our scenes of anyone on the set, and we get through our scenes in record time.

MICHAEL:

What about your idea to do a play with Jeanne?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

There is a possibility of doing a play. I had an idea since we play cards on the show, why don’t we look at the play, “The Gin Game”. It won the Pulitzer Prize in the late 70’s. Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke, Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn, and Charles Durning and Julie Harris performed it. So I approached the idea to Jeanne and she wanted to read it. So this week I am bringing the play for her to read, and if she can make the time, maybe we could do it ourselves.

audio_icon_small.jpg

MICHAEL:

If you were writing the show, what would you love to see happen in the Murphy/Katherine storyline?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Since I am her protector and care about her, and probably even in love with her, it would be great if she then says, “Why don’t you come to Genoa City and take part in my business? I will give you a job or I will give you a position.” Murphy could then be her eyes and ears, and he agrees to do that. Everyone else thinks he is after her money. They all get kind of nasty with him and they try to prove she is insane for trying to do that. So now he has to protect her.

MICHAEL:

So he would kill for her?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Well, he’s already said that.

MICHAEL:

He knows he is in love with her?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

I have a line where he says, “I am really going to miss you.” He knows. He is not easily open with his emotions, but you know it’s there. I think if push came to shove, he would tell her in a certain circumstance.

MICHAEL:

What do you think Katherine feels for Murphy?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

I think she cares about him very much. I think she is almost there on that. I don’t think a man has treated her the way Murphy has, or given her the kind of care that he has. From the first time when he thought she was Marge, and now as Katherine, it has just intensified. He does not care she is a billionaire; it has no affect on him. It’s about the person for him, and I hope it stays that way.

audio_icon_small.jpg

MICHAEL:

What are some scenes or moments you have loved thus far, that you did on “Y&R”?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

There was one time when Katherine went to the mansion, and she recognized the picture of (Victor) Newman and her daughter, and at that moment Murphy realized she was Katherine and that Marge was dead. That was kind of a rich scene for both of us. Because I was equally affected by Marge’s death, and now here is someone I was assuming was Marge is now someone totally different. Another one was on Christmas Eve. The carolers came and they gave me a sprig of mistletoe. She said, “Are you going to stand there or are you going to hang it up?” I go, “Ok. I will hang it up.” Then she went under it and I kissed her. That was the first kiss. I have kissed her subsequently.

MICHAEL:

Is she a good kisser?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Well, it’s not intense yet. (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

Do you watch your performances back after you have taped them?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

I prefer not to for this reason: I have in my mind what I have done, and how it actually played out. If I need critique, I have people who will critique for me. But for myself, I don’t like to watch it in order to correct it. I feel so good about doing this, that I don’t want to see things that destroy that. I don’t want that. I have such a great time that doing that would affect me. The feedback I am getting on the show from executive producer, Paul Rauch, and supervising producer, Anthony Morina, and from Jeanne Cooper, is all complimentary. Since it’s an ongoing role, I don’t like that to interfere with my process for the role.

MICHAEL:

Now on “GH” you played another bad guy! Who did you work with the most over in Port Charles?

Y&R FAIRMAN

I worked mostly with Maurice Benard (Sonny) and Vanessa Marcil (Ex-Brenda). They are both great and terrific actors. I was Sonny’s mentor and a bad guy, and he killed me. I was Jewish mafia this time. I was named Harry Singer.

audio_icon_small.jpg

WithSlezak-2.jpgMICHAEL:

I was with Erika Slezak at ABC Super Soap weekend this past November, and she asked me if I was related to the Michael Fairman that was in the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre with her. I of course, said, “No, that’s the other Michael Fairman”. How was working with Erika?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Erika and I met in Milwaukee in 1965, and we were part of that company for four seasons. She and I were leading actors of the Milwaukee Repertory. Erika was wonderful! We did plays like, “Hedda Gabbler” and “Skin of our Teeth”. She left and went back to New York and eventually, “One Life to Live”.

MICHAEL:

OK, now let’s do a few comparisons. Born?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Bronx, 1934

MICHAEL:

Milwaukee 1961… Favorite color?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Blue…

MICHAEL:

…Blue… Zodiac sign?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Pisces

MICHAEL:

Capricorn… Hobbies?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Photography, working out…

MICHAEL:

…. Working out and music. Married?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Married and have a child from this marriage who is 14, and a son who is in New York who is 42.

MICHAEL:

I am single, single and single with no children, maybe a dog soon…Favorite actor?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Marlon Brandon, and I love Spencer Tracy!

MICHAEL:

Robert DeNiro… Favorite Actress?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Cate Blanchett..

MICHAEL:

Current crop of actors: who do you enjoy?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

I loved Johnny Depp in “Finding Neverland”. It was amazing, as are many things he has done…”Edward Scissorhands” and “Gilbert Grape”. I like European actors, too, like Christian Bale and Clive Owen, who is also just super.

HillStreetb.jpgMICHAEL:

When you were on the nighttime hit series, “Hill Street Blues”, that’s when I got a lot of phone calls asking me if I was on the show!

Y&R FAIRMAN:

I had a run on there. I played an interesting character: this smarmy councilman who was this nasty guy who put the screws to Captain Furillo. He abused his power, and one night when he was drunk he killed someone, and that was the end of him. Throughout my career, I have played hard, tough, no-nonsense guys. On, “Cagney and Lacey”, I was inspector of police and they used to call me, “The pig”!

MICHAEL:

Does that come easy?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Yeah. (He laughs) Nasty is fun… the nastier the better. A character who is bad does not think he is bad. The less you play bad, the less you are. But I like Murphy on “Y&R”. He is tough, compassionate, and not a pushover. He was tough on Marge.

MICHAEL:

Did you always know you wanted to go into acting?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

No. Entertainment was the furthest thing from my mind. It was not until I was in the Air Force that I was interested in acting. I was over in Japan, and someone talked me into being in a theater group, but not as an actor. I wanted to get involved because I had a lot of time on my hands. I liked carpentry and I would build scenery for them on the Air Force base just outside of Tokyo. They talked me into being in a play. I was in three or four plays. I loved being on the stage, and loved what happened after getting all the accolades, and the work was fun for me. I got out of the Air Force, and at that point I went back to NYU. I did not find that was very helpful for me. So I studied with Lee Strasburg, and I did not find that helpful. Then, I studied with Uta Hagen, which was helpful. Then, I went to do Shakespeare in Oregon. I did Shakespeare for four seasons, and became adept at classical plays. Then in 1961, I continued to study with Uta Hagen and then worked professionally. I was not finding a whole lot of work in New York, so my wife, who was an actress at that time, and I both got accepted at the Milwaukee Rep.

audio_icon_small.jpg

MICHAEL:

So, is that when you decided to change your name?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

It was a little bit before that, because my name was being misspelled in a derogatory way, and it was an ethnic sounding name. So I thought it would be limiting for me. I wanted to keep the MF initials so I found Michael Fairman and I thought it sounded nice. My name was ‘Fuchs’ and my first name was Milton. I used to get kidded as a child because Milton Berle was big at the time and he was known as “Uncle Milty”, and I was called that and I did not like either name. So I changed it to Michael Fuchs. When I started working in Oregon, they would misspell my name in the programs. So I said, “Enough of this”. So when I got to Milwaukee, I legally changed it to Michael Fairman. Milton Fuchs no longer exists.

fairman-headshot.jpgMICHAEL:

Well, I think Michael Fairman sounds ethnic, and I have lived it with since I was born! (He laughs)…In closing Mr. Fairman, if we were to tease fans of “Y&R”, what can we say is on the horizon for Murphy and Katherine?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

A complication of the plot! Here is what I can say: all may seem well with Katherine, and she may be going on the path towards Genoa City and her life. All may seem light and happy, and she is going back to renew her relationships with her old life… but that might not be… and look for Murphy on a white horse.

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.

 

 

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Video du Jour

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

The Michael Channel

Recent Comments

Advertisement

Power Performance

William deVry as Julian

General Hospital

Airdate: 11-20-2020

Advertisement

Popular