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The Stacy Haiduk Interview – The Young and the Restless

© JPI Studios

© JPI Studios

Who has been consistently captivating soap opera audiences with her mesmerizing performances of Patty Williams and Emily Peterson, and let’s not forget, when Patty was pretending to be a woman named Mary Jane Benson?  Who kept us on the edge of our seats through most of 2009, and into 2010, not knowing whether we were going to scream in horror, or cry for her sad existence?   Who got snubbed for an Outstanding Supporting Actress nomination for the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards?  And finally, who is really the cat’s meow?  Well, the answer is quite simply, actress Stacy Haiduk from The Young and the Restless.

Now, with Patty locked up and regressed to a little girl, and Emily falling apart at the seams trying to get her own life back, and Adam’s “murder” still not close to being solved, Stacy Haiduk is still turning out riveting performances.  On-Air On-Soaps caught up with Stacy to talk about: Kitties, Emmy reels, competition, the heartbreak of playing Patty, working with her co-stars, Doug Davidson (Paul) and Peter Bergman (Jack), and how her actor husband, Bradford Tatum, was a calming and steady force during some of Stacy’s most traumatic on-set days.

And in the end, find out who does Stacy think is truly the better psychologist, Emily or the deranged Patty?  Her answer may surprise you.  It’s always great to speak with the emotionally raw and edgy Ms. Haiduk, and I hope you will enjoy her even more after reading her revealing comments below.

MICHAEL:

Ok, Stacy let’s get right to this.  Your Emmy snub is probably one of the most talked about in the history of the Daytime Emmy nominations.  Everyone was certain that you were a lock for your performance as Emily/Patty/Mary Jane this past year, and unfortunately it did not happen.  How are you feeling at this moment?  It has to be extremely, extremely disappointing for you.

STACY:

© JPI Studios

It was shocking, and I was really disappointed.  I was excited about it because I really wanted to be a part of this group this year.  And you have to also know it is what it is.  I always have to say that I still won in my own mind because of the people I got to work with, and it’s continuing, and that is a success right now.  I know that is not the disappointing part of how I am feeling, but I try not to go into that part of it.  It’s hard.  You sit there and go, “Was my tape not good enough?  Or, what happened?”

MICHAEL:

What reel did you decide to submit for Emmy contention?

STACY:

I submitted the remote with Eric Braeden as Victor, and Peter Bergman as Jack, and I had the gun   Patty was getting upset with Jack for not seeing her as his wife and loving her, and feeling how could he do that?  I thought it had enough emotional levels to show where I could go as an actress.  It sucks that you can’t have two shows to show your work.  One show is not easy to do to choose from.  You have the build up in one, and the finale in the other, which is why I like the idea of two tapes.  However, I thought this is enough to get me in.  I am working with two leading actors, and I thought it would be a good enough tape to show people.  You just kind of go, “OK.  Or, maybe the wig scared them!”  You know, the blonde wig! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

This whole Emmy judging process is as much of a game as about the performance itself.  Do you think it hurt you that perhaps the blue ribbon panel could not follow the story, as it is taken out of context?  They do not know what happened before or after those scenes.

STACY:

© JPI Studios

Right.  No, they don’t see the arc, and don’t see what is going on.  A lot of times you have your friends who have been working to be nominees for so long, and they finally get in, and it’s like, you know what?  They deserve it.  Maybe next year, it will work for me.

MICHAEL:

I think you have received more emails, letters, and have certainly become talked about more than anyone ever online, about someone not getting a nod.  Somehow, the Emmy snub got you more publicity than someone who was nominated for Lead Actress!

STACY:

The publicity has been more than if I got a nomination.  It’s crazy, isn’t it?  You know what I love?  It’s when I went on facebook and just read so many people’s thoughts, and how they love the character, and you can’t beat that.  I have to go back to why I do this and the process of it all.  Yes, it would have been fun to get all dressed up, and hope you can win one of the most beautiful awards.  It’s one of my favorites, actually.  But, I have had a really good time and it continues again.  The fans see that, and that is really what this is about.

MICHAEL:

If you were to have been nominated, would Mr. Kitty have accompanied you to Vegas?  Last year, you wore him as a shoulder bag to the red carpet.

STACY:

Yes.  I would have come with Mr. Kitty, and we could put him on wheels.  It would have been awesome.

MICHAEL:

© JPI Studios

But, let’s talk about these recent amazing scenes that aired.  Did you like how they resolved the end of the Patty/Emily final switcheroo?

STACY:

I finally ended up watching it.  Usually, I don’t because I am very critical of myself.  I finally watched it because somebody said to me, “Have you seen your scenes?”  And I said, “No, I haven’t,” and so I did.  And I was sad!  I was sad the last time Patty went to an insane asylum. I like Patty, even though she is crazy and whacked-out. The wig was scary. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Patty regressed back into her little childhood self.

STACY:

Didn’t it just break your heart?  Me, too.  It did also when Mr. Kitty died.  You have to understand, when they told me Mr. Kitty, in my script, gets chewed up by Zapato, I went like, “You’ve got to be joking with me?”  I mean, I literally went through withdrawals because I had been working with that cat for so long.  I know that sounds silly.  But, I get heart to heart with my co-stars, and here it was again.  I love working with Doug Davidson. He is such a joy, and Peter, also.  And, when I got to look at him in the end, my hair looked like crap, and it was all going to one side, but there was this look.  When you are in it, you don’t see what other people are seeing.  So, when I was able to see it from the audience’s perspective, I went “Oh, my God!  That poor thing, and what she went through.”  All she wanted was that man to love her, and how desperate and sad she is at the same time.  I got weepy.

MICHAEL:

© JPI Studios

I said to Doug Davidson recently, that if you were to take your story with him, as a brother and sister, as an isolated story, you could see that as a motion picture.  It is such a beautiful story.

STACY:

I think that is why they continued it.  It taps into so many people’s relationships with family.  I look at his eyes when we work, and there is that love… that brotherly and sisterly love…and we root for each other.  So if one makes a mistake in the line, the other one of us tries to figure out what the person is going to say.  It’s wonderful!

MICHAEL:

And now on-air, Emily is having all sorts of psychological problems!  Is this now just an adjustment issue for her?  I mean, she is so pissed off that Jack can’t tell the difference between her and Patty in bed, which I think is great!

STACY:

I know, it’s so crazy.  Thank God.  I am so glad they brought that up.  I mean, how can you not?   Even Patty says it in my Emmy tape; she says to Jack, “How could you not know I was your ex-wife?  Are you that blind?” And then here, Emily says pretty much the same thing to him, “How could you not know that was not me?   How could you do that?”  Emily now has to take some time and figure this out.  She gets screwed from every which way, from all the stuff that Patty did.  She is trying to hold it together, and she is not one to just emote, while Patty is the most emotional and runs with it.  Emily is stoic and trying to hold it together.

MICHAEL:

Do you think Emily is even a good psychiatrist?  Or, is Patty a better one? (Laughs)

STACY:

I think Patty was. “Go to your Happy Place!” (Laughs)  The woman playing opposite me, who was one of Emily’s patients says to Patty, “What do you mean? Go to my Happy Place?  As Stacy, “I went, yeah; go to your Happy Place. What else do you want to do?”  That is what a therapist would say, except, maybe, “I understand.”  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

© JPI Studios

Will we see Patty again, perhaps more and more?  Is the doppelganger story really over?

STACY:

Maybe.  All I can say is that I love Patty, and doppelganger may not be over. We shall see.

MICHAEL:

You must have gone home to your family completely exhausted some days, after the emotional toll it takes on an actress to play very complex dual roles that border on insanity or the edge of insanity.

STACY:

When I was going through all the stuff with Patty and Emily at the end, and the whole knife thing, that was the first time Peter and I were going to get off work early.  I am referring to the scene where Patty stabs the portrait of Emily.  She goes to town. We were jamming through the scenes, and the last part where I open the dang cutter I cut my hand!  So, I had to go get stitches.  So, Peter and I are at the doctor’s office.  Even the stage manager said, “And, you didn’t stop the scene?  You kept going with it?”  And I go, “I can’t stop.”   But now the stitches are out and healing and I am fine.  But, that was the first time I had to call my husband and say, “I just want you to know, I won’t be home by ten today.  I am going to the hospital to get stitches.”  And, he is like, “What?”  I said, “Well, they had this box cutter, and you know me with props.”  I have this thing where I go with it.  And even before they gave me the prop on set, they said to me, “Are you going to be OK with this?”  You see, I have a tendency to go overboard, like when I was stabbing the little picture with the baby scissors in the hospital scene.  That time, I ended up stabbing the baby scissors into my hands.  The prop guys were like, “Um, Stace. You’ve got to know…”   I am going to be so conscious of it, but it’s hard when your adrenaline is going.  I get done with the scenes, and then I go, “Oh, God.”

MICHAEL:

© JPI Studios

What did your husband, actor Bradford Tatum, think of all this?  Was he a big support to you during the emotionally draining material?

STACY:

He has been a big support.  I come home, and yeah, we don’t have long, long evenings because of the emotional dynamics of these two characters, Emily and Patty, and because when I come home I have to work on my script for the next day.  I mean, I would literally call home and say, “Honey, I need cuddly.  I need you to be tender with me because I am so fragile.”  But I love going to these places, and sometimes it’s really difficult, but it’s a good challenge, and I am sure you do this, too, Michael.  You like to see how far you can push yourself.

MICHAEL:

Yes, I do push myself.  But you are super competitive, right?

STACY:

Your body and your mind want to work well, and so yeah, I am competitive.  And my husband laughs at me about it.  But, I think that’s what keeps me going, and doing what I do.

MICHAEL:

Will you be on-air as Emily for a while?   Many fans are concerned of where the Y&R writing team will go next with all of this.  Could that spell the end for Stacy Haiduk on Y&R?

STACY:

Courtesy/Luis Martinez

No, you are not losing me as Emily.  I think it touches people.  It’s this beautiful balance of creating something from the writer’s point of view, the actor’s point of view, and it’s all-creative, and that is what is so amazing.  I think people feel that from the outside, too.  It’s not just watching something and going, “Yeah, that was a great performance”.  These are daily performances and I think people love to watch Emily or Patty and what she will do next.  It’s very complex.

MICHAEL:

OK, so if I was producing a Stacy Haiduk tribute reel of the best moments of your performance last year on Y&R, and I had three and half minutes to feature you, tell me what would be on that?  What would you choose?

STACY:

You have to start out with Mr. Kitty, and having that performance with a dead stuffed cat was pretty fabulous.  I really like that kind of material.  I would go in to this January with shows where Patty goes back to the switcheroo, when she puts Emily into the nut house and then looks in the mirror and dyes her hair. And still one of my other favorite scenes is the remote with Kitty Kitty.  It was with Paul and Patty.  She is turning herself in and she has to give up Kitty Kitty.  I know they are silly scenes, but they get to me sometimes.

MICHAEL:

What about the great Patty and Adam scenes?  There were so many great ones towards the end before his “murder”.  And, we still never know if Patty has something more to reveal about what went on the night Adam was “killed”.

STACY:

© JPI Studios

Everything’s a possibility, and you just never know.  I like working with Michael Muhney (Adam).  We have a good time. Michael and I click with each other, because we were both new to the show.  I was thrilled to have scenes with him in the potting shed, and those were fun.  I even liked when I go to Adam in the hospital and Patty is pretending to be Emily and she pinches him in the hospital and says, “You know, I just want to see if you are faking it or not.” I love those scenes. I love the way Michael plays right off of me. I have a soft spot for Michael because of that.

MICHAEL:

As we end this little chat, tell me what can I relate back to the many, many fans and admirers of your work, day in and day out.  Are you really doing OK?  We all want to give you a giant hug!  So, since I am here with you now, here is a hug representing everyone’s embrace of your outstanding performance this past year.

STACY:

I am doing great.  I got through my disappointment.  I am here to support The Young and the Restless. I am thrilled that the actors I work with on a daily basis both got nominated. (Laughs).  No, really I am.  So, maybe we will see what happens next year with that, but right now when I work, I am happy.

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waldo doe
Guest
waldo doe

Thanks for another great interview MF! I got to see a side of SH that we never get a glimpse of. She really seems like a nice, down to earth, funny and all around cool person. I’m STEAMING about her Emmy snub too! Ridiculous!.

Kalamaty
Guest
Kalamaty

Brava for so, so many brilliant performances this past year, Stacy. You have become the one to watch on The Young and the Restless and I’m horrified that you didn’t get the Emmy nom. Shame to the academy for this outrageous snub!!!! You are a brilliant, beautiful actress!

Doe
Guest
Doe

Well, the Emmy pople blew it again. Stacy has been mesmerizing. To pull of dual roles is so demanding and exhausting, it’s a wonder the actress doesn’t go bonkers. I hope she gets the satisfaction next year at least. I don’t know how she can even top this role. An actor dies for such a role! Kudos to Stacy for convincing us she was mentally ill and then believing she was this pschiatrist who treated ill patients. I have been enthralled when she is on the screen and couldn’t take my eyes off her. So, congratulations, Stacy, for your great… Read more »

Darogr
Guest
Darogr

Love, LOVE, LOVE her.
She certainly did deserve the Emmy nomination and the Emmy. Patty/Emily/Mary Jo has been one of the few reasons to stick with Y&R with all the silliness going on there.
I hope Emily and Patty are around for a while and we get to see more from Stacy.
Thanks for the great interview! It’s really interesting to hear the actor’s thoughts on the characters and the scenes and some of the behind the scenes chemistry.

Heather
Guest
Heather

Love her! Glad to hear she will be sticking around Y&R. She definitely should have been nominated. I think a lot of these award shows are more about politics than who actually deserves the award.

shelia
Guest
shelia

love her !!!!!!!!!!!!!! glad she coming back

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Cady McClain & Rob Scott Wilson Talk Being Recasts, All My Children Reboot, Future of Cin & Jennifer’s Bitch-Slap

Current Days of our Lives and former All My Children reboot stars, Cady McClain (Jennifer, Days, Ex-Dixie, AMC) and Rob Scott Wilson (Ben, Days, Ex-Pete AMC) chat with Michael Fairman in an enlightening and exclusive conversation for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.

McClain, who recently took over the role of Days of our Lives beloved heroine Jennifer Horton from mainstay Melissa Reeves (who chose to stay with her family in Nashville during Covid-19 thus forcing the series to recast the role for now) talks about stepping into the key part of the Salem canvas, plus the recent Jennifer/Kate fight over Jack (Matthew Ashford), and how the legacy series is coping with production during Covid-19.

Cady is no stranger to be a recast.  She was the second actress to play Dixie on ABC’s All My Children, as well as the second actress to play Rosanna on As the World Turns, and she had previously taken over the role of Kelly Andrews on The Young and the Restless.

Photo: JPI

Rob, talks about landing the role of Ben and being a recast, and in an emotional moment, reveals how he credits the opportunity to the late producer, Lisa de Cazotte. Wilson also shares his hopes for his Salem alter-ego who is struggling to move on with his life after the supposed death of his wife, Ciara.

The actor also opens up on if DAYS decided to recast the role of Ciara, since Victoria Konefal is not presently with the NBC soap full-time, how he would feel about it and thus the future of Cin.

Photo: JPI

Both Cady and Rob first appeared together in Prospect Park’s online revival of All My Children. In this interview, they discuss how they had high hopes for the continuation of the series, how it ultimately fizzled, and what it was like to be a part of the then, groundbreaking first, for a daytime drama series along with One Life to Live.

Photo: TOLN

In addition, Cady gives the viewer insight on how she runs lines for both DAYS and GH at home with her real-life husband, Jon Lindstrom (Kevin and Ryan, GH), while Rob talks about his recent storyline where Ben was kidnapped and tortured by a vengeful Eve (Kassie DePavia) and much more.

Check out the full chat with Cady and Rob below. Then weigh-in: How would you feel if there was a Ciara recast? What are your hopes for the holidays for Jennifer? What did you think of the stories shared by Cady and Rob in the interview? Comment below, and if you have not done so already make sure to “subscribe” to the Michael Fairman Channel for more celebrity interviews.

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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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