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The Sarah Brown Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

Sarah Brown

© JPI Studios

In another great casting coup for the Daytime Emmy Award winning drama, The Bold and the Beautiful, last month Sarah Brown joined the cast as the mysterious Sandy Sommers, who is the surrogate to Nick and Bridget’s baby.  Sarah, no stranger to winning awards, (she has won three Emmys herself for her role as Carly on General Hospital) is firmly planted in a top secret storyline that insiders say is beyond spectacular.  As more time plays out viewers will learn what is really going on with Sandy and her connection to others on the B&B canvas.  In this revealing TV SOAP Australia interview, the actress talks about landing the new role, the beginning of Sandy’s unraveling, and gives a glimpse to how she is crafting the physical and emotional life of her new character.

A true acting chameleon, Sarah had just finished up her second time in her soap career on General Hospital as the psychotic Claudia Zacchara.  During November on US television, one day Sarah got clubbed to death as a mafia princess, and the next day she was in a trailer park playing a seemingly down-trodden young woman on B&B.  It’s all in a day’s work for this dynamic and fearless talent.

This TV SOAP Australia feature will appear an upcoming issue of the publication.  If you want to see more TV SOAP Australia interviews click here!

MICHAEL:

How did this come to pass that you ended up on B&B?

SARAH:

My contract with General Hospital was going to be up in January 2010 but they had written my character of Claudia out.   When they told me that the character was going to be exiting, someone heard that Brad Bell was interested in contacting me!  It was literally 48 hours at the most.  I was honored and flattered.  I was like, “Yeah, I want to talk to Brad Bell!”  I think there was an initial thought, “Will she talk or think about doing another soap?” and they said, “Brad Bell wants to talk to you.”  My mom had been a Y&R fan growing up.  So I saw the show and am familiar with the Bell legacy and the family’s work and thought, “This is really cool!”  I think I was watching Y&R one day when I went, “I want to do that,” and I remember watching Heather Tom when I was very young playing Victoria Newman.   I remember thinking, “I can do what she does.  I want to do that.”

MICHAEL:

So then did you always know you wanted to become an actress?

Sandy and Whip

© JPI Studios

SARAH:

I really didn’t, but a lot of my friends in the 7th grade were getting into it, and it was until the 9th grade where I could take an elective and I thought, “Well, a lot of my other friends are taking drama,” and thought that was cool.  I was a gymnast and very sports oriented and doing that after school.  So, I thought I would give it a try.  I gravitated to it, and my teacher said, “I should look into it, and you are really good at it.”  She told me of The High School of Performing Arts. People were responding to me in that way and I could make them laugh.  I liked experiencing that, and I could remember all the lines of everyone in the cast!  This is something I did not know I could do.  It was easy for me to improv, too, and I went home to my Mom and said, “This is really cool.”

MICHAEL:

“Sandy Sommers” was an interesting choice of name for your character, but then we learn her real name is “Agnes Jones”.  What did you think of these first names for your new character?

SARAH:

It was in Brad Bell’s head that I was going to be called Sandy Sommers and he was gracious and wonderful about it and brought me into the process.  That name was not as locked down as the ideas for the character were.  He was offering me different names, “Agnes” as well.  But I really like the name Agnes.  I remember Bob Guza (head writer, GH) saying to me, “What did you think of the name Claudia?” and I said, “I love it.   It’s sexy!”  So names are important to a character.

MICHAEL:

On GH you played both Carly and Claudia… a tough as nails woman.

SARAH:

She is a broad, not a woman.  I am a broad. There is something in me that people pick up on and put me in those roles, and I am happy in those roles. Whenever I am given the opportunity to play the girl next door they don’t come to me for that.  They come to me for, “Yes, I have a problem when I come to the door, and even if I look like the girl next door there is something else going on.”  I don’t know what this is about. Maybe it’s because I was a gymnast and played football when I was a kid, and there was fighting spirit that comes through in me. Sandy is not a fighter.

MICHAEL:

Sandy seems, at this point, almost afraid of her own shadow.

SARAH:

She is very timid to me, and even has food delivered to her trailer where the grass does not grow.  She is not trying to get anywhere with her life and that is what is really sad.

Sandy with stuffed animals

© JPI Studios

MICHAEL:

You went from mafia princess to a trailer park?

SARAH:

Hey, I am an actress, I live for this.  I like to change.  I cannot be the mafia princess for many, many years.  I know that. I know the fans of mine know me better than to think I would do something beyond the point where I got stale.

MICHAEL:

Sandy
had this array of stuffed animals all over her trailer when you first started on the show.  What was that about?

SARAH:

I don’t know why there were so many stuffed animals in the trailer.  I remember on my first day that the character has to evolve, and so if you don’t have the luxury of rehearsal time to go over things with your director or your producers it’s all by the seat of your pants.  So, it’s not something that was not addressed, but by the time we arrived on set there was a lot to do. I felt that it wasn’t something that I had any information about so I let it be.  For all I knew it’s going to come up in further stories.   Brad wrote it and planned it.  I stepped in and was the actor with the words, and so I did not see the need for that many stuffed animals, I will be honest.  I think it was overlooked, to be honest.  (She laughs)   I would say, “Can we remove this? This is destroying my mojo!”  I mean there were canned foods placed in certain areas of the trailer that just did not seem realistic to me. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Agnes/Sandy’s story involves being the surrogate for Nick and Bridget’s baby.  Did you do research for the role surrounding surrogacy?

SARAH:

I always do research, and there is a good book on the subject.  I have met people who have gone through this and Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, “Y&R”) is expecting a baby via surrogacy this month.

Christmas group

© JPI Studios

MICHAEL:

How is working with Nick and Bridget, Jack Wagner and Ashley Jones?

SARAH:

These two are great!  I have got to say, it’s a wonderful group of actors to work with, and it’s different.  It’s not a mafia or Sopranos-type of show, and it’s not a crime show.  There is not a lot of crime, but there is a lot of heartbreak and dealing with families who have very complicated relationships with each other. That is fascinating and interesting. I know that Bridget and Nick have been together on again and off again a really long time, and I have a great time with them.  I feel that the plot thickens and I think we make a good group, the four of us, which includes Rick Hearst (Whip) too.  I think the current story is fun for me, and when I watch actors who are challenged and pulled in different directions, the audience likes that.  They think, “My actor is being challenged. Let’s see if they can do it.  Can they pull it off?  “

MICHAEL:

So much was made of two daytime dynamos, Susan Flannery (Stephanie) and Sarah Brown on the same show.  Will there be a Stephanie/Sandy smackdown anytime soon?

SARAH:

There will be no smackdown in the immediate future, but they definitely put us in proximity, and you will see that. You will be so excited and happy.  I work with her and I see her daily.  Susan is the Queen Bee and I am floored by her.  My first day of working with her was awesome!  She is revered and a wonderful actress.  I love Alley Mills (Pam) too.  I have been a fan of hers since “Wonder Years”.  It did not dawn on me till I had the best night with Alley.  I was hanging out with her at the International Women’s Courage and Journalism Awards, and we yapped and I loved her.  I come to work the next day, and I say, “Alley, why do I feel like you are my mom?  I feel like I know you forever!” Then it occurred to me, “Were you the mom on Wonder Years?  OMG!”

MICHAEL:

So will the audience want to root for Sandy?

SARAH:

She is an enigma.  I totally think people are going to root for her. And, it’s not like root for her like she is this victim.  She is definitely coming forward with some things in short order that are potentially very jarring for all parties involved.  It’s been a great month playing that material.

Nick and Bridget and Sandy

© JPI Studios

MICHAEL:

Sandy is at a photo shoot of Owen and Jackie’s and when flashbulbs go off and just by being there, something happens to her….

SARAH:

She has a panic attack and storms out of the room, and potentially losing Nick and Bridget’s confidence because it’s such a shocker, because she is pregnant with their child. They rush out of the shoot wanting to talk about maternity wear, and lets hangout, and have lunch, and Bridget wants to get to know her, the way that a woman would want to know somebody that is carrying their child.  It’s got to be so nerve-wracking!  In this situation you are carrying someone else’s child and the other woman has complete lack of control.

MICHAEL:

I see a triangle coming between Nick, Bridget and Sandy.

SARAH:

With a pregnant woman?  Let’s see…. maybe.

MICHAEL:

You won three Daytime Emmys as Carly Corinthos on General Hospital.  Where do you keep those?

Sarah and Jordan

© JPI Studios

SARAH:

My Emmys – I have a grand piano in the middle of my living room and there is a big book shelf there, and funny enough it’s the same book shelf that is in Susan Flannery’s office.  I have them where I can see them from the piano.  I like to look at them, but at the same time, you know I won these for Carly and that was such a long time ago that it might be good for my own psyche just to put them in my own bookcase.  Keep them out but out of the way, so I can aspire to new heights all the time.

MICHAEL:

Of all your victory nights, was there one that was most memorable?

SARAH:

Yes.  I thought I was going to deliver my daughter right on stage.  I thought my water broke right on stage.  I was 8 months pregnant so flying from LA to NY was a big deal and I walked the red carpet, and it was extensively long and it was hot and humid.  I remember thinking, “Oh my God. I am going to pass out right here on stage.”

MICHAEL:

On GH, when you came back as Claudia and worked opposite of Laura Wright, the new Carly was that strange?

SARAH:

Yes for sure. There were funny moments when I first met Carly on camera and I go, “You look really familiar?” (Laughs)  I have to say when I came in Laura Wright had already been there for four years and she knows her Carly.  And I am so far away from Carly now.  People say, “I would love to see Sarah Brown come back to play Carly,” but they wouldn’t see the same Carly.  I am a completing different woman now than Carly. I have no regrets giving up the role.

MICHAEL:

You went from dark hair when you started on B&B, then went to your blonde hair again. What is the story behind the color change?

Sarah Brown

© JPI Studios

SARAH:

I came to B&B with dark hair because I was shooting both shows at the same time.  So there was an overlap, and so Brad figured out a tricky way to do this.  So I changed my hair color after I was done with GH.  Brad wanted her to have this Sandy blonde color.   I went to my hair stylist/artist and he did it up for me.  I love the color now.

MICHAEL:

Have you ever ventured to Australia?

SARAH:

Yes.  I have been to Sydney for two weeks, when I was pregnant with my daughter Jordan.  I went on a month vacation from GH and I went there in 1997 and stayed at a beautiful hotel right on the Sydney Harbor directly across from the Opera House.  I went to the zoo in Sydney, and I went to the Blue Mountains.  I took a helicopter ride where you touch down in the mountains.  You see all in these woods and this gorgeous territory and land everywhere.  I saw different animals and wild life. There was a moment when I was sure we were going down because helicopters and heights are not my favorite thing.  It was an incredible trip to Australia.  It’s so much like LA but backwards on the time. When you first arrive you are knocked out from the long travel distance.  I saw Kool and the Gang in Australia. They were playing in the hotel, and it was awesome.  Coolest thing ever!  I would go back.  It’s fabulous and a great place to visit.

MICHAEL:

You are huge on Twitter!  Are you addicted to tweeting? (Laughs)

Sarah and Maurice

Courtesy/ABC

SARAH:

Yes, I love Twitter.  I think it’s really fun.  I see the benefits in Twitter and I like the idea of everyone being connected. Twitter is like the matrix and the fact that you can reach out with a typed sentence. You can reach out to people all over the world and they get back to you. It’s information traveling that freely and quickly.  I went one by one to my cast members at GH and said, “People like this. They want to hear from you.   They want to be in touch with you.”  In a way, it’s funny how the paparazzi have harassed the celebrities and this is a way that celebrities take the fun out of that, because they are the ones dropping their own gossip about their own lives instead of letting someone take them away from their private moments. They can put their private moments out there, and create their own image, which is with personal and private moments with the fans.  You can share bits and pieces with them and share your own pictures.  So maybe now they won’t be stalked by their “Stalkerazzi’s.”  It would not be such an issue in the future.     It desensitizes celebrity life a bit.   I am a really digital person and have been working in digital editing for 9 or 10 years.  I like being able to snap my finger and have an immediate connection.

MICHAEL:

When you were leaving GH to come to B&B, what did your cast mates say?

SARAH:

Everybody was wonderful and gracious going, “You are going over to a rival show! What are you doing?” (Laughs) No, everyone was congratulating me and happy I had a place to go.

MICHAEL:

Will you miss working with former GH leading man, Maurice Benard (Sonny)?

Sarah Brown

© JPI Studios

SARAH:

I will miss Maurice, but I have other projects and endeavors that I look forward to bringing him into in the future that I have talked to him about, outside of GH and into eternity.

MICHAEL:

In closing, if we could tease the viewers what can we say? Sandy is going to be….

SARAH:

She is going to be up a creek very soon.  She is going to have her back-up against the wall in a scene that comes up really quickly here.  She already does with Whip, and she is going through a lot chaos and the audience is going to get a very quick Agnes/Sandy 101 in the coming weeks!

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DmitriemmikianaKarenSarahIsNumber1 Recent comment authors
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toptim
Guest
toptim

I just love her I think she is so great at everything she does
Great interveiw I still love her best as Carly

fawnrescue
Guest
fawnrescue

love her I still think shes the best Carly too!!! Love the interveiw wonder what project shes talking to Maurice about??

toptim
Guest
toptim

love her/ will miss her but she will be great at anything she does
love the interveiw

Doe
Guest
Doe

Sarah Brown really gave a great interview. Michael, you always have such great rapport with your actors. She alwys gives and gives in her performances. That’s why she is always in demand. I believe she should be on a night time series. I have seen her guest starring a couple of times. Michael, your new site is exciting and very attractive. Carry on…..

waldo doe
Guest
waldo doe

I’m excited about Sarah’s new character and love seeing her do something different.

Anne
Guest
Anne

Loved Sarah as Claudia she really did one awesome job with such a complicated character. Sandy looks like she could be just as complicated… Sweet.. Sandy just needs more airtime.

zena
Guest
zena

I don’t understand for the life of me why interviewers have such difficulty remembering to ask Sarah about RICK HEARST! I mean COME ON! That to me was the greatest link/surprise for me when I found out that she was coming to B&B, the chance to get back into that fantastic working relationship she has with Rick. I’m glad that she so graciously remembered to add his name in herself. Too bad that Sarah/Rick are portraying cousins, because I would have loved to see that relationship explored. Ah well, the rest of the interview was good, and I’m really loving… Read more »

Sarahjbrown1fan
Guest
Sarahjbrown1fan

I love Sarah Joy Brown she is an awesome actress and she really inspires me to do better in my life. I pray that I get the chance to meet her someday! I miss my girl Claudia but I will be her #1 fan rooting her on at all she does. Love ya SJB!!! 🙂

maria
Guest
maria

I would have really liked to see Rick Heart and Sarah Joy Brown’s charcters on B&B be love interest. I think that GH missed the boat big time when they decided not to make their characters really love interests. Iam however excited to see these two back onscreen together. I think they have such great chemistry together as actors. Iam looking forward to watching Whip and Agnes relationship devolope even if its not a romantic one.

SarahIsNumber1
Guest
SarahIsNumber1

Sarah is amazing!!! Enjoying her s/l better on B&B!!! I think it’s a much more enjoyable show in general.

Karen
Guest
Karen

Good interview Michael 🙂 She’s doing great on B&B, her and Rick have a great dynamic.

kiana
Guest
kiana

Sarah is so awesome! She seems soo nice and she can take on any challenge anyone give her! love her! Miss Claudia always will haha

emmi
Guest
emmi

I adore sarah but her character on the show is lack luster 🙁

Dmitri
Guest
Dmitri

I will miss DOOL’s Madison, played by her, when the character leaves the show. Brady is her soulmate!

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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