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The Peter Bergman Interview- The Young and the Restless

Peter-Bergman-main

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Ten days ago on November 27th, 2009, Peter Bergman celebrated his 20th anniversary on the number one daytime drama, The Young and the Restless. The actor, who has won three Daytime Emmy Awards for his portrayal of bad boy Jack Abbott, is one of the most respected actors of the soap genre.  Bergman first came into prominence as one half of Pine Valley‘s “super couple”, Cliff and Nina (Taylor Miller) on All My Children.  After a twist of fate that had the actor being let-go by the soap, Bergman came kicking and screaming to Y&R where this stalwart performer set up new digs to take over the coveted role of Jack, played originally by the late Terry Lester.

Bergman met the love of his life Mariellen on a blind date, set up by his former AMC cast mate Michael Minor (Ex-Brandon) who happened to be going out with her cousin at the time, and she has been with Peter every step of the way during his soap career.   In this revealing interview with On-Air On-Soaps, Peter discusses his beginnings on Y&R, favorite moments, favorite leading ladies, and the heart and soul of a veteran actor in daytime, who has been through and seen it all… including the notorious real life fight with his co-star Eric Braeden (Victor Newman).  But it is Victor and Jack’s on-screen rivalry that has lit up the television screen for decades, thanks to the amazing performances by Bergman and Braeden.  And as we head into 2010, Jack may be getting a new lady love and Victor will be on his way back to town to reignite the feud.  Here’s Peter on his journey to Genoa City and much more!

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

Peter, you just celebrated your 20th anniversary as Jack Abbott. Do you feel old?  I feel old knowing this! (Laughs)

PETER:

It’s funny.  The first time anyone mentioned this 20th year thing, I thought, “Geez, it felt like yesterday.”  Then when I thought about it, when I started on this show, my daughter was four weeks old.  My daughter is now a sophmore in college.  So, I guess 20 years is a long time.

MICHAEL:

Peter-and-Mary-Ellen

© JPI Studios

What did your wife, Mariellen, have to say about this accomplishment?  We all have watched Mariellen’s reactions on-camera during your Emmy wins, which have been so touching.

PETER:

It kind of went unnoticed in our home, and what I think is interesting again is; Mariellen and I were only married five years when I started on Y&R.  We had new kids. We were just starting our lives together and it will be 25 years together this coming March.  So, I have been here along time.

MICHAEL:

When you took over the role from the former Jack Abbott, actor Terry Lester, were you familiar with his work?

PETER:

No.  I had seen so little of Terry Lester’s performances.  The Young and the Restless was opposite All My Children in New York.  So, I never really got to see what he did.  He certainly was a prominent member of the daytime community.  We knew who he was, but I did not know his work that well, and that probably was to my benefit.

MICHAEL:

Right. So you could make this your own.   Do you remember the events that got you to this coveted role in Genoa City?

PETER:

Melody--Thomas-Scott

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My job at All My Children came to a sudden end.  I think everyone was as surprised as I was.  The best monitor of that is the fact that every soap magazine had me on the cover that week saying, “OMG! OMG! All My Children let Peter Bergman go!”   Now, Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki, Y&R) was traveling with her husband Ed Scott, who was our executive producer at the time, in Canada.  She pulled out an issue of Soap Opera Digest with me on the cover of it saying, “We let Peter Bergman go,” and she thought, “We have been looking for a Jack Abbott. This is Jack Abbott,” she said to Ed.  So Ed came back home and the first I heard of it was through my agent.  He said, “We just heard from Y&R and they wanted to know how tall you are.”  And I said, “That is insane!  Don’t even return that call. What do you mean how tall I am?  They can figure that out.”  It really bothered me.  Then they called another time and asked if I would be OK replacing someone.  I was on All My Children and replacing someone was shear death, and it never worked on All My Children. We have never had a recast that really sustained and frankly, I was just finishing a soap and my wife was eight months pregnant.  I thought, “No, I do not want to do this!”  Y&R called a third time and it kind of coincided with some bad financial news I got.  I thought I should at least go out to LA and audition for this thing.  So, leaving my wife behind, her due date was a week away, I thought, it would be just my luck.  I will be in Los Angeles where I don’t want to live, and replacing somebody which I don’t want to do, and it’s on a soap, and I don’t know if I want to do another one.  So, I audition on a Friday, and they said they were going to get back to me within the next two weeks. On Monday, Ed Scott called to say I got the job.  Then Maryellen and I sat there and literally wept.  We loved New York!  We just bought the apartment next door. We were going to adjoin the two as we were expecting a baby any minute and this was going to be cataclysmic in our lives.  It was all the wrong things.  So the answer to your question is; I was dragged out kicking and screaming to the best thing that ever happened to me.

MICHAEL:

Once you finally got here to Y&R, and you were figuring your way through the character of Jack Abbott, was there a point where you knew, “This is such an amazing role”?

PETER:

Everyone told me, but the person who told me the most was Debbi Morgan, who plays Angie on All My Children.  Debbi caught wind that I was auditioning for the role on my last day at AMC, and the following morning I was heading to Los Angeles.  I told her, and only her and I did not know she was a mad Y&R fan.   She said, “OMG!  Peter this is one of those roles.  This is Erica on AMC.  This is Viki on OLTL, and this is a giant role, Peter.”  So she convinced me that, “Well, maybe this will be a good thing.”   I got the job and I was grateful for it, but once I got here, every prop guy, every camera man knew more about Jack Abbott than I did.  It was a lonely first few weeks.  I knew I’ve got to make it my own.  The assumption was we bring all those Cliff Warner fans with us to Y&R, and all the people who were used to Terry Lester would eventually be OK with me in the role. Well, oddly enough the people who were used to Terry Lester got used to me pretty quickly.  It took about six months and they forgot what he looked like. But the people from All My Children, OMG, it was two to three years later!  They were saying, “He used to be so nice….”   It took a long time to bring them around.

MICHAEL:

So, was there any trepidation for you with the success of playing Dr. Cliff Warner, who was the leading man and a goody-goody, with now coming over to Y&R and playing a rather bad and caddish character?  Was there any thought of, “I don’t know if I should play this,” or did you look at it as an actor’s dream to play Jack?

PETER:

Frankly, I have been doing daytime television for 30 years and it has never crossed my mind what the audience likes or what the audience wants of me.  I just want to tell the story like it’s written.  I come to this dressing room as these scripts are sitting here now, and I cannot open them fast enough.  I don’t want to write it.  I want to play what they wrote and it’s worked for thirty years.

MICHAEL:

Eric-and-Peter

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Ok! So of all the storylines and plot points of Jack, which stick in your mind as some of your most memorable?

PETER:

The ones that really move me….the ones I have trouble watching without getting emotionally upset….Nikki spirals into this alcoholic mess and in his effort to help her Jack cannot do it, and in his frustration he comes that close to punching her.  It was a giant moment and I went to tell my father, John, “Dad, I almost hit her in the face!” Giant moment!   Jack is in Victor’s office and Victor has what appears to be a coronary episode. Victor is left on the floor and Jack has two choices…. call for help or walk out of the room. On his way out of the room, I decided Jack would kick Victor’s hand out of the way. To Eric Braeden’ credit, his body was limp. I kicked his hand and I thought, “The cameras are probably not going to catch this.”  Boy, did they catch this!

MICHAEL:

He did not move his hand…..his hand…..

PETER:

…..his hand flopped.  He looked like a dead guy.  Giant moment!  Nikki and Jack lose a baby and a woman comes to my office one day.  We had donated the baby’s’ organ’s and she wants to introduce me to her son, who would not be alive without my child’s heart. Giant scene to play!  Finding out about Nicholas and Phyllis!  It went on forever and finally Jack finds out.   Frankly, my latest favorite is the day that Sharon finally tells Jack everything that is going on with her and Nicholas, and Jack knew every single thing she is telling him, but she is telling him.  It was a giant moment to play.  I had no words and you could just watch Jack’s face and know what he was thinking.  This is what he has been waiting for: Sharon to tell him and to be this honest with him.

MICHAEL:

In all the interviews I do with the soap actors, everyone tells me the same thing: “Peter Bergman is so professional!”  How does it feel to be so well regarded by your peers?

PETER:

The-Abbotts

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It does feel really good.  I would love to be able to tell you I am the consummate professional because I know things and it firms up my powerbase.  But frankly, I have nightmares about coming to work and being unprepared.  I have nightmares that our cameramen get frustrated and are taking their headsets off because Bergman does not know his lines.  I also lost my job and did not expect it to happen and no one expected it to happen.  And, when it came to an end I promised myself, if ever I lost this job at Y&R or any other job, I would never look back and wonder what more I could have done.  So frankly a lot of it is paranoia and it’s not being a bold egalitarian.

MICHAEL:

I think it’s very human and honest of you to say that, because who wouldn’t feel that way given those circumstances.

PETER:

I am amazed that people will come to work and not know their lines for the day and be able to come out on set.  I would be a nervous wreck!  So it’s probably by needs that I have to be really, really professional.

MICHAEL:

Eric Braeden and you had a much-publicized fight many years ago and a stormy relationship.  I was reading recent articles and interviews and people still bring it up.  What do you think about the situation now?  It’s part of the history of your time on Y&R that people tend to focus on.

PETER:

It is part of our history here. Eric and I had a number of problems when I first came here and they climaxed in an ugly situation that Eric wished would never had happened and I certainly could have done without it in my life.  But Eric and I worked together for 20 years, and we have this enmity that the audience clearly loves.  It’s a crazy rivalry and it still has legs, and I am very grateful for It.!  We work together just fine.

MICHAEL:

I loved, True Soap Stories of Mr. Kitty… the cleverest and original video of the year, bar none!   You were the on-camera host of the video parody.  How did that come about where you ended up in that position?

PETER:

Greg Edwards, (content manager, Y&R website) who put the whole thing together, came up to me and said, “Hey, Peter, would you be the anchor on this thing?”  I said, “Sure!”  Anyway, it was an improv thing.  We did it really serious and it was really funny. Everyone in the cast was so great in it. And if people have not seen it on the CBS website, it’s quite, quite funny.

MICHAEL:

Haiduk--Mr,-Kitty

© JPI Studios

How has it been working with Stacy Haiduk, who now plays dual roles as Patty Williams and Emily Peterson?

PETER:

Stacy Haiduk (Patty/Emily) has been one of those wonderful stories, where she is a generally trusting actress.  I have talked to her a lot in all of this. When she got here I said to her, “If you are willing to go there and I know it seems like the audience is not going to like you or deems your character unlikable….”  I said, “Stacy run with it. We can redeem you in two episodes.  I don’t care!  Just don’t kill anybody and we can redeem you.”  Anyway, this actress came in and gave everything and just threw herself at the madness of Patty Williams, and now she is playing Emily, the psychiatrist who has to be very different than Patty Williams.  Stacy brought a whole new bag of tricks and she is terrific.

MICHAEL:

Is Jack truly falling for Emily or using her?

PETER:

Oh no!  Jack is falling for this psychiatrist.  Jack is at a funny place in his life where he is coming to the realization that he is the head of the Abbott family now.  John is gone and he is not coming back.  Somebody has got to anchor this family.  Jack has long aspired to be like his father, and it’s kind of hard to do that without a woman of the house and someone in his life.  Colleen’s death reminded him to do what you want to be doing; be with somebody and share a life.  So Jack is going through a whole new phase, and the moment he is in this searching mode in walks Emily Peterson, this gorgeous woman who he is really quite taken with!

MICHAEL:

I am sure though, there is a twist… on a twist…. on a twist coming!

PETER:

Michelle-and-Peter

© JPI Studios

Well again, sitting in an actress’s dressing room and saying, “If you play this other character really different from Patty, then down the road imagine how fun it would be to play Patty Williams playing who she thinks Emily is.”   It’s a treat most actors would kill to do.  I have never done it and those actors who have done well are legends in daytime television.

MICHAEL:

Let’s talk about a few other former leading ladies… Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) and you!

PETER:

Michelle Stafford…. when they first told me I was going to be working with her she was coming back to the show, and all we had seen of her was crazy Phyllis.  She was Danny Romalatti’s crazy woman with the lying about the birth certificate and all the crazy shenanigans she had done.  So they told me, “We are going to put her with Jack.”   I thought, “Well, this is crazy!”  Well, it was just crazy enough.  These two were perfectly wrong for each other.  These two people cared about each other and wanted this to work in the worst possible way, but just couldn’t make it work. That is not normal for soaps. It was fun to play and for the audience to watch, because these two people were desperately loving each other and they are destructive of each other, and someone is going to hurt someone here. These are two type “A” personalities!

MICHAEL:

How about Sharon Case (Sharon) and you?

PETER:

Bergman-fan-event

© JPI Studios

Sharon Case is my new favorite thing to talk about, because when they put Nick and Phyllis together, I thought it was clever as can be, and hotter than could be.  It was a great hot secret that they had.  I played the cuckold and Sharon played the cuckold fool, and I think the writers perhaps did not have a plan.  So I guess they thought, “Let’s throw Sharon and Jack together.”   Sharon Case and I knew this. So we sat in this dressing room and said, “How about we make it work for them?”  So every opportunity we had to make it as real as possible, we jumped all over it.  We sat in this room and ran lines like crazy.  We tweaked scenes and fixed scenes and changed the pace of scenes; until suddenly it turned into a three-year storyline and was one of the most realistic couples on the show.  I think Sharon changed Jack in a major way.  There was goodness and honesty about Sharon in her general approach to life.  She was not a manipulator.  She challenged Jack to be an honest person, and he wasn’t up for the task.  He has never forgiven himself for that. So honesty now becomes a very important part of Jack Abbott’s life?  It is now, thanks to Sharon!

MICHAEL:

In closing Peter, after 20 years, what do you want people to remember most about your portrayal of Jack Abbott?

PETER:

I would love for people to say, “He was fun to watch and he did not hold back. When a scene called for something, he never phoned it in or dialed it in.  He always was there and always found as much emotional weight as he could find.”

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LuChera HuntleyOlive OlsoncabcFannieDoe Recent comment authors
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Mandel
Guest
Mandel

Good interview. Really good actor

Doe
Guest
Doe

What a great interview, Michael. Peter was so honest, and you can’t help but like and respect him. He has kept those of us watching his prowess as an actor constantly delivering his character, and we wait for the shoe to drop as to what he will do that is nasty. We wait in anticipation…..

Fannie
Guest
Fannie

Peter Bergman is right, it did not take long for us to forget Terry Lester whom I loved very much as Jack Abbott. It’s true that those 20 years went by so fast and thank you Peter Bergman and all the other wonderful characters to have helped me and I guess so many others, to have helped us go through the ups and downs of this wonderful life by being part of our life for those 20 wonderful years. Long live the Y&R and Peter Bergman.

cabc
Guest
cabc

I am so glad to know that Peter loves his character Jack, cause I’ve been a faithful viewer for over 20 years, and I just love, and I mean love me some Jack. He’s sophisticated, and a bad boy, and I love bad boys. Thanks for the wonderful interview it makes me love him more knowing that he has a beautiful wife of 25 years, and has been able to be a loving husband and father in real life while being the bad boy of Y&R for over 20 years. We love you Jack! I love to hate Victor, but… Read more »

Olive Olson
Guest
Olive Olson

I like Jack. I would have to say that he’s undoubtedly my fav. male actor. He reminds me of someone I dated a long time ago and I think he’s one handsome dude !! : ) It would be fun to meet him for real. I guess I can only hope about that one.

LuChera Huntley
Guest
LuChera Huntley

Hey Peter Bergman!!
Good Job!!!

Interviews

B&B’s Matthew Atkinson Weighs-In On Daytime’s Wildest Storyline, The Hope Mannequin & What’s Really Going On With Thomas

If you think you’ve seen it all on daytime soap operas, think again! Over the past several weeks viewers of CBS Daytime’s The Bold and the Beautiful have been witness to fashion designer Thomas Forrester’s (Matthew Atkinson) descent into madness, or is it?

In B&B’s thriller-esque storyline, complete with tight close-ups and tilted angles of Thomas and his co-star, the Hope Mannequin – yup, you read that right, the series is taking the audience on one wild ride, something we have not seen the likes of since back in the hey day of the late head writer, James Reilly, during his tenure on Days of our Lives or Passions.

Photo: JPI

Inspired by, believe it or not, true life events, B&B’s head writer and executive producer, Brad Bell and his creative team have served up a story generated off all of the buzz the show was receiving for using mannequins as scene partners for the actors in intimate moments to adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols.  B&B was the first American show back in production amid the pandemic.

 

Within this twisted tale, Thomas has the life-like version of Hope Logan Spencer (Annika Noelle) at home with him.  Those who have stumbled upon him with the mannequin, well, he has been able to explain that away by saying that having the doll with him is helping him create some of the best designs of his career.

The problem is the mannequin is talking to Thomas, it’s eyes have often turned devil-red, and on Friday’s episode it walked!  It’s objective is to get Thomas to kill Liam (Scott Clifton) and to get Hope back to be his one and only. Throughout many of the scenes in the storyline, Thomas suffers from what appears to be severe headaches.  All of this leading the audience to believe either … he has a brain tumor … he is being drugged … he is suffering from a severe mental break and disorder, or something else.

Photo: JPI

In a very candid and often humorous conversation with Michael Fairman for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Thomas’ portrayer, Matthew Atkinson, discusses some of the craziest scenes to shoot thus far including Thomas having dinner with the mannequin!  In addition, Atkinson reveals how he and Annika Noelle tape the scenes where she is the voice of the Hope mannequin while adhering to safety protocols,  and how Liam is the only one, apparently, thinking something is off with Thomas, and so much more.

Photo: Gilles Toucas

One thing is for certain, Matthew Atkinson is sinking his teeth into the material and making it must-see daytime drama through his performances while we all wait to see what the possessed mannequin does next.

Check out the full interview with Matthew below. 

Then let us know, what do you think is happening or wrong with Thomas? Are you getting a kick out of the Hope Mannequin storyline? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

 

 

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Interviews

Eric Nelsen Talks Latest Film, Becoming a Tony-Nominated Producer, ‘The Bay’, and His Elizabeth Gillies & Ariana Grande Connection

You can catch All My Children reboot alum, Eric Nelsen (Ex-AJ Chandler), just about everywhere this month, and that’s hard to do given that we are all living in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, this Daytime Emmy-winning actor has his hands in a myriad of projects of late including: appearing on season six of The Bay (new episodes every Tuesday on Popstar! TV) where he continues to play Daniel’s journey after the character has come to terms with his sexuality and finds love, plus his comedic turn in the film, 1 Night in San Diego, and recently becoming a Tony-nominated producer along with his wife Sainty for the critically-acclaimed, and now 11 times nominated Broadway play, The Inheritance.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Eric to get the lowdown on his busy professional life, and we were in for some surprises along the way including: what the producers of AMC had in mind for the character of AJ that ultimately did not happen, and that Eric starred on Broadway with Elizabeth Gillies (Fallon, Dynasty) and Pop superstar, Ariana Grande – and there’s more to that story below.

 

What makes Nelsen so good at what he does on-screen is that he is a like a chameleon; adept at playing the quirky, to the troubled bad boys, to the emotional heart-tugging anti-hero. So here’s what Eric had to say in this fascinating conversation.

Photo: : Metropolitan Entertainment,

Your latest film appearance in 1 Night in San Diego is out this week on multiple streaming on-demand platforms from: Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and more. Tell me about the movie and when did you film this?

ERIC:  We filmed it near San Diego, not this past February, but last February, and it’s hilarious.  It’s a female-driven comedy.  The cast is incredible.  Alexandra Daddario, who is just epic, and Jenna Ushkowitz, and Laura Ashley Samuels, they truly bring it in this powerhouse comedy, and it’s just one of those make-you -laugh movies from beginning to end, just silly, stupid stuff happening the whole time.  General Hospital’s Mark Lawson (Dustin) is also in the film.  While we don’t work in scenes together, I did get a chance to meet him and he’s a really great guy.  I play this off-the-wall character, named Gordo, who is a real burn-out, think Matthew McConaughey meets space cadet, which was a lot of fun to play.  Gordo is a great role.  I had more fun with this part than I’ve had in a long time.  So, it was cool to throw a comedy into all of the drama I have been playing in my other projects.

How does Gordo know the girls in the film?

ERIC:  One of the girls knew him back in the day, so they were in town looking to reconnect, and she’s like, “Oh, we want to party and let’s hit up Gordo,” and they do.  He has just gone completely off the rails, off the deep end with spirituality and kind of in his own world. They find themselves in quite a predicament when they come visit what they didn’t know was a commune, basically.  Gordo creates this hippie commune for a bunch of outcast musicians, (laughs) and I don’t want to give too much away, but a lot of interesting stuff happens there.

Photo: InheritancePlay

 

In addition, you are now a Tony-nominated producer for the play The Inheritance!

ERIC: That was crazy, because it’s always been a dream of mine to produce for Broadway.  That was how I got into the world of film and TV acting, which was through the theatre.  That’s where I started.  I was lucky enough to star on Broadway when I was 16 and 17, in a musical called, 13.  I started with Ariana Grande! It was so fun.

Wait, what?

ERIC:  Yeah, that was her first big show, and Elizabeth Gillies’.

Photo: AP

I think Elizabeth Gillies is terrific in Dynasty.

ERIC:  Oh yeah, and you know she and I dated for two and a half years during the whole run of the show 13.  Elizabeth is very talented.   She is amazing.  The funny part of it is, we were dating forever, and kind of had a bad breakup, and then Sainty, my wife, gets cast in her show Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, in the pilot to play Liz’s best friend on the series.  So, all of the sudden, I’m like, “Wait, wait, wait, out of all the shows, all of the things, this is who you have to get cast as best friends with?” and so they actually became really, really, close friends.  So, I’d actually come home from work or filming, and Liz would be on my couch sitting there giggling with Sainty.  I’m like, “This is just becoming too much.  This is a full-circle moment here.  I can’t deal.” (Laughs)

Now, you and Elizabeth are broken up at this point?

ERIC:  Yes.  We had been broken up at this point.  Sainty and I were actually together.  I started dating Sainty in New York and the pilot she was shooting was in New York, and she gets cast as Liz’s best friend, and I was like, “Oh, of course.”

Photo JPI

But Sainty knew you’d dated Elizabeth?

ERIC:  Yes, she did.

You must have been dying.

ERIC:  Yes, so dying.  Dying.   You know, it’s just one of those things that in a million years, you would never expect this to happen, and of course, Sainty and her had to become best friends in real life because they’re both great girls, and naturally, they would be friends, but now, I’m like this guy stuck in the middle who can’t believe what’s happening, and thought that was one chapter, and this is a different chapter, and now the chapters are combining.  It’s kind of a comedy act.

Photo: JPI

Since Ariana Grande was on Broadway with you and Liz, what was she like back then before her meteoric rise to fame?

ERIC:  Ariana was literally the sweetest, most innocent, and cutest – like my little sister.   To me, it was like, Liz and I were dating, and Ari was kind of like the little sister.  All of a sudden the show ended. Ariana got a Nickelodeon show, and after that, she became the most famous person in the world and was like this sex icon, and I couldn’t get over it.   She’s always had that talent with her voice and in 13 she was an ensemble member.  She wasn’t even one of the leads, but her voice was so incredible, even then as a young teenager.  I thought she was going to go on to have this great Broadway career as an actress and do musicals her whole life just because of her voice.  Then, all of the sudden, right after the musical, we all auditioned for the same Nickelodeon show.  I ended up going to the finals for the boyfriend role, Liz got the girlfriend role, and Ari got the funny friend on the show role.  That kind of catapulted them into the TV world, and Ari got a spinoff because of her character on that show for another Nickelodeon show, called Sam and Cat, and then after Sam and Cat, she went from this innocent, sweet, little Nickelodeon girl that I knew to being the biggest star.  It was unbelievable to me.

Photo: Broadway World

So, you started on Broadway as a teenager, and you found you always wanted to produce for the Great White Way? 

ERIC:  Yes, I did the Broadway thing, and then I got into film and TV, and then I got into film and TV producing.  As an actor, there are a lot of ups, a lot of downs.  So, in between the ups, I wanted to fill my time, so I got into producing, and I loved it.  I loved creating.  As an actor, we just show up, and everything is already done.  All we have to do is say our lines.  We get pampered, and we go home, but I wanted to know how it got to that point, like what happens before that.  So, I started producing film and found some success doing that, and it was so much fun for me.  Sainty’s and my first love, and what feels like home, is theatre.  So, I wanted to take it full circle and produce a Broadway show.  I just thought that would be such an incredible moment, and so that’s what I did.  I started emailing all of the Broadway producers who I had worked with as an actor, letting them know what I had been doing, kind of the success I had gotten from producing The Bay and some of these other things. Different shows came across my desk that I didn’t quite bite the bullet on, a couple of which I wish I would have, Dear Evan Hansen being one of them.  I would have been so rich by now!  (Laughs)

I just want to clarify for people who might not know, the word “producer” can mean different things.  There are “producers” who are putting money in … they’re backing projects or shows.  There are other people who are “producers” on the creative side of projects.  So, when you’re talking about producing a Broadway show, it is as an investor?

ERIC:  So for theatre, unless you’re the head producer who kind of gets creative control, every other producer listed in the credits is basically helping raise finances and is also very heavily involved in the process of everything else along the way, which is also what makes it special.  So finally, The Inheritance came across our desk, and it checked every single box.  It was just an epic play.  It’s a two-part play, and it’s just hours and hours and hours long.  You see it in multiple days or in multiple shows.  I remember reading the script and not stopping until I finished.  I was like, “This is amazing,” and it had just come off of a huge commercial successful run in London.  It won the Olivier Award for “Best New Play” and just about every other award you could win, and so I was like, “This is the one.  This is incredible.  I love the piece, love the message, and pulled the trigger,” and I would have done it all over again if we could.

Photo: Broadway World

The Inheritance is a generational piece centering on gay men during the AIDS crisis.  What can you say about it to those who don’t know about it, or have not seen it yet?

ERIC:  It takes place in the past, and then it fasts forward to the future.  You see two generations of gay men in New York City, and it’s all about the AIDS crisis, and so you’re bawling crying, and then you’re laughing throughout it.  It’s just one of those epic plays that pulls at every single emotion and you feel like you’re watching a movie.

It seems reminiscent of Angels In America, but different.   

ERIC:  Yes.  It’s definitely its own thing.  It’s actually an adaptation of Howard’s End, the novel by Forster, definitely different from Angels in America, but the two-part show is kind of what I was meaning by that.  People have said it is kind of our generation’s Angel’s in America in tone and subject matter.  It was just a dream come true, and like all other theatre that was open during our season, it had to close because of the pandemic, and it will have life after Broadway.  We are already slated for the Geffen Playhouse in LA, so I’m very excited for all of my LA friends and the public to get to see it.

Courtesy/ENelsen

And you get nominated in the year that the coronavirus pandemic shut down live theatre! But it is my understanding we still do not have a date for handing out this year’s Tony Awards.

ERIC:  No, we do not.  They finally announced that they were going to announce nominations, and for a while we didn’t even know that they were going to do that.  We received 11 nominations, which is incredible.  We were so excited.  I truly thought the American Theatre Wing and the Tony committee were not going to do the Tonys at all, and so we were just like, “I can’t believe the one year we pull the trigger on the show, this isn’t going to happen for us,” but then thank God, they came to their senses.  There were plenty of shows that opened and needed to be recognized.

How long was it open on Broadway?

ERIC:  We were open from September 2019 through February or March.  So, as long as your submission was open on Broadway before Covid-19 and had at least all of its previews and an opening night before Covid-19 hit, then you could qualify, and then in the play category, there were like 10 plays that had opened last year that were contenders.  So, that was definitely the hardest category.   It will be interesting to see what happens after all of this.  The only good thing I know that is going to come from this is the amount of creatives who have had so much time sitting at home to create and write, that there will be so many new scripts and plays and musicals that are going to come from this.  I think it’s’ going to be the biggest boom that we’ve probably ever seen in theatre, just because there’s been so much time to develop stuff.  At the same time, it’s piggybacking on the darkest time that theatre has ever seen.

Throughout the pandemic, I always stream all of the Broadway Actor’s Fund events.  It’s really sad.  It’s just a difficult time, those in the arts are struggling and especially in the live theatre and also musicians who can’t tour or play gigs in front of an audience. I know they said Broadway is closed through May 31, 2021.

ERIC:  It is really hard.  I’m happy that we are able to find other ways like streaming shows.  I’m actually producing a big benefit for Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS that will be airing on World AIDS Day, December 1st.  It’s a show called Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens.  The cast we have is everybody from Nathan Lane, to Academy Award winner J. K. Simmons.  It’s insane.  It will be streaming online on the Broadway HD network.  It is a huge list of Broadway stars and a lot of movie and TV stars as well that are participating.  We’ve got people from all over the map.

And … Ariana Grande? (Laughs)

ERIC:  (Laughs)  Ari is not in it, actually!

Photo: Prospect Park

So, in this week’s latest episode of The Bay, your character of Daniel Garrett makes his final choice for love between Caleb (Mike Manning) and Matthew (Randy Wayne).  When you came to the show, did you know that this part was going to wind-up being a gay character?

ERIC:  No, I did not.  I think I dropped a bird in Gregori Martin’s (creator, The Bay) ear by telling him that before All My Children ended, they were going to have my character of AJ Chandler have a storyline where he is gay.  The producers sat me down and talked through an entire storyline arc with me.  Basically, Ginger Smith (ex-executive producer, All My Children) and Alison, our casting director, and one other person from the show, took me to lunch in New York. They pitched me what they wanted to do for my character, and asked me if I would be comfortable with it, and they wanted my opinion, everything.  It was really cool how they approached it, and I was like, “100% completely.”  I look at what Chandler Massey (Ex-Will Horton) did on Days and where that brought him and his storyline, and I thought, “Yes, there’s going to be so much more depth and stuff to play than just being this fun little rich kid.”  At the time, there really wasn’t much depth to AJ.  So, I was like, “Yes.  I will be all over it.  Absolutely.”  So, I told Gregori that, and I don’t know if he already had something in his mind or not, or if that influenced it at all, but maybe he just figured that was something that would work well, and up till that point, I guess they didn’t really have that on the show.  Regardless, no, I wasn’t aware that that was the direction it was going in, but I was really happy with my storyline and it’s grown a lot since then, and in this current season especially.  It’s really given me an arc to play, which I’ve enjoyed.

Photo: LANYEntertainment

So for those who may not know let’s do a re-set.  Where is the character of Daniel at? It seems like he is at crossroads, and is making some important decisions, or trying to.

ERIC:  So Daniel was a wild party boy in the beginning, just head in the clouds, lives life with thinking there’s no repercussions and just doing what you want to do all of the time, and that got him into a lot of trouble with drugs and alcohol. Then, we realize why Daniel has been the way he is, and why he acts out, and why he has been so all over the place, and it’s because he hasn’t been able to come to terms with who he is.  Then, he admits it to himself and for the first time to somebody else – who happens to be his priest in a catholic church, ironically –  that he is gay and this is what he has been battling with.  For the first time (and I don’t know where on television it has depicted it this way), but the catholic priest looks at Daniel, and he’s like, “What’s your sin?  You haven’t sinned.  This is perfectly fine.”  So, I love that Gregori made that the outlet for which Daniel was able to basically come to terms with who he was, because he grew up in the church, and so he was always told that it was wrong.  Obviously, it’s not wrong, or obviously the church needs to change their mindset, but on The Bay, he chose that to be the outlet through which he came out, which I thought was really powerful.  Through that, Daniel experimented with other boys and such to figure out where he wanted to land, and then in this newest season, I can’t say much that gives anything away, but for the first time, we really see Daniel’s growth, and he’s making decisions, and the most mature we’ve ever seen him, and it’s been really cool to see that come full circle.  He’s making commitments to himself.

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

In story, Daniel chooses Caleb.  Why so?

ERIC:  Obviously, that’s who it works with,  Caleb is a teacher and a great guy.

… And Matthew is not a great guy?

ERIC:  He is… he’s just not the great guy for him.

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

This season of The Bay is heavily steeped with social issues of our time.  Covid-19 has come to Bay City and the Black Lives Matter movement also plays prominently.

ERIC:  Yes.  It’s kind of the beginning of the pandemic in The Bay and within all of the intense drama that Daniel has been having, he is still, for all intent and purposes the comedic relief of the show, and so there is a funny scene where I’m carrying like 28,000 rolls of toilet paper like, “Come on, guys.  We’ve got to stock up!”  We all remember those days, don’t we?

Photo: JPI

How do you feel about this season of the show and your work in it? You’ve previously won a Daytime Emmy for your performances on The Bay.

ERIC:  This season is more cemented in a character that has truly grounded himself.  So, the first Emmy I won was for a storyline of coming out and uncertainty and struggle and pain, whereas this season Daniel knows what he wants and is going for it.  There is much more passion and love in this season for Daniel, as opposed to struggle and heartache.

The cast and crew of The Bay all went away and quarantined at this ranch this past summer to get the new season completed.  What was that like?

ERIC:  We were actually in Santa Barbara, and filmed on this epic ranch up there.  It’s like this 500-acre ranch that we all quarantined on.  We had to do the testing, and temperatures three times a day, and the whole thing.  So, it was really structured, tough to pull off, but we were all so grateful that we were able to do this.  Luckily, we had this incredible kind of bubble of a ranch to live and work on while we were shooting.  They were really good about block shooting it all, so we’d kind of shoot one person’s character, then the next, so we wouldn’t have to ever be leaving the ranch before we were done.

Courtesy/ENelsen

Finally, how is being a dad?

ERIC:  Oh, it’s amazing.  I just can’t believe how fast the time is flying by because of it.  We just had Molly’s first birthday on October 1st, and I feel like yesterday she was born.  I sound like my parents when I say this, but it’s like the time keeps getting faster, but it’s so true.  She’s awesome.  We play Broadway musical soundtracks to her all day, and she sings.  She sits at the piano with me when I play, and she kind of plunks notes out next to me.  She loves music, and we’ve introduced it to her from day one.  We always joke that she won’t be able to watch any of daddy’s stuff until she’s 18 probably, but Sainty is a voice-over actress.  She has done parts for animated films and TV shows such as Trolls, and Barbie, and Boss Baby, so everything from the first part of my daughter’s life is all going to be Mommy’s stuff, and then, in the later part of life she can start watching Daddy’s stuff.

Right, she can’t watch anything that you do!  (Laughs) So, basically forget that!

ERIC:  (Laughs) Yep!

Check out the trailer for 1 Night in San Diego below.  Then share your thoughts on Eric’s current role on The Bay, if you hope he wins a Tony to go with his Daytime Emmy, the six degrees of separation between him, Elizabeth Gillies and his wife, and that the All My Children reboot considered making the character of AJ Chandler gay via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Peter Reckell Reflects On His Time As DAYS Iconic Bo Brady, Life In New Zealand & Christmas Music Project

Last week, Days of our Lives  turned 55-years young, and the historic long-running NBC daytime drama series has been home to some of the most memorable stars and characters of the soap opera genre, perhaps none more so than anti-hero Bo Brady played by Peter Reckell.

Reckell who appeared on the show for several runs that lasted over four decades, premiered as Bo back in 1983.  He then stayed through 1987, came back from 1990 to 1992, again from 1995 to 2012, and back again in 2015 during DAYS 50th anniversary and to wrap his run as Bo, when the character was killed-off, after Reckell made it clear that he wanted to give the audience closure for the character.  He later made another return in 2016 to help the character of Hope (Kristian Alfonso) move on with her life.  Hard to believe for all of those heart-tugging performances, Peter was nominated only once for a Daytime Emmy.

Photo: JPI

In this candid, deeply personal and enlightening new interview for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Reckell opens up as to: what led to many of the decisions he made throughout his time as Bo, how he helped craft the role from the start, the accident that almost took his life, how he handled all the fame that came his way as part of the Bo and Hope supercouple pairing, and how two women in the cast; the late Frances Reid (Alice) and Peggy McCay (Caroline) made lasting impressions on him that he will carrying with him for the rest of his life.

Photo: JPI

What would Peter say if somehow DAYS wanted him back and Bo was actually alive and well?  Find out as Peter weighs-in and wishes his former show a happy anniversary  In addition, he even shares how he felt when Robert Kelker-Kelly took over the role of Bo when he decided to leave the show at one point, and his time playing Johnny on primetime’s Knots Landing.

Photo: JPI

Reckell has moved his family to New Zealand, and this conversation was conducted from his home.  Peter is married to singer/songwriter/producer Kelly Moneymaker and the couple have a daughter, Loden.   It was not wanting to miss the moments of his daughter’s life growing up that has been much of the impetus for some of Peter’s career choices.

Photo: BlueAeris

With Christmastime approaching, Kelly and Peter are part of a brand new Christmas LP entitled Joy.  The album is now available for download on Spotify, Apple Music and major music streaming platforms.

In an exclusive during the interview, we give fans a sneak peek of Peter’s new music video for “Under the Mistletoe”, the song he sings that appears on Joy, which was written by his wife.  For more on the album project visit BlueAegis.com

Photo: BlueAegis

Now, check out the interview with Peter direct from New Zealand below! Then share your thoughts on Peter, Bo, and more via the comment section.

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B&B’s Matthew Atkinson chats with Michael Fairman about the wild ride of the Thomas/Hope Mamnequin storyline currently on The Bold and the Beautiful.Leave A Comment

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