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The World Magic Award Soap Interviews – St. John, Goddard, Case, Hennesey & Frantz

Daniel Goddard and St. John Magic AwardsCirque du Soaps!

Where else could I find magicians and soap stars gathered in one place? I mean, the drama, the cliffhangers, sawing a woman in half! Saturday night at the Barkar Hanger in Santa Monica, ATI (the producers who brought you this year’s Daytime Emmys) brought in some of the best known from daytime drama to act as presenters to some of the best known magic acts in the world, who were recipients on prestidigitation’s biggest night.

I had the opportunity to chat with The Young and the Restless Kristoff St John (Neil) and Daniel Goddard (Cane) on the red carpet, and then sat down with Y&R’s Sharon Case and GH and Cougar Town’s, Carolyn Hennesy for a joint interview. Later, I met up at the after party dinner with Adrienne Frantz (Amber) and her boyfriend Scott Bailey (Ex-GL), who were sitting with the wonderful Shanelle Workman-Gray (Ex-Flash, OLTL and Gaby, B&B) and her husband, actor, David Barry Gray.

Y&R’s Eric Braeden (Victor), who presented the final award of the evening to the top magician of the year, Greg Frewin, was a no-show on the red carpet, snuck in during the taping of the show for his part in the show, and was in and out of the proceedings. He did not speak to press, hence his absence from this feature. Matt Borlenghi, who was reportedly on, then off, then expected back on General Hospital as a reported “Cassadine”, in late December, and his very pregnant and beautiful wife, Heather, also attended the event.

The World Magic Awards are set to air in November on MyNetworkTV affiliates around the country. Be on the lookout. And now, with the wave of my magic wand…here are the World Magic Award Interviews! Poof!

KRISTOFF ST. JOHN

MICHAEL:

So you are here presenting which Magic Award?

KRISTOFF:

Best Comedy Illusion Award with Goddard.

MICHAEL:

Are you going to ignite the Buzzworthy Radio drama again?

KRISTOFF:

Yes, that is correct. Laugh like me. (Laughs) I am a fan of this show and I have come back as a repeat presenter.

MICHAEL:

So Eric Braeden (Victor) who is a presenter here tonight is in a much publicized contract dispute with your show Y&R. What are your feelings on the situation that have Eric written off the show so far? His spokesperson has informed the media, “He may or he may not be back.”

KRISTOFF:

I think that no comment is the best policy to take when other actors are going through contract talks. I don’t believe Eric Braeden will leave the canvas as the character of Victor Newman, but if he does, it would be sad to see him go at such a critical time in the show’s history. We have a guaranteed two years left on network television. I think in order to survive and to get another contract and licensing agreement out of CBS, the wise decision would be to get him back. Is it the wisest decision for Eric to accept the terms of the contract? I don’t know, and I cannot comment on that. It would be a huge loss to the show and the audience worldwide.

MICHAEL:

Were you at the set a few weeks back, when Eric said his “goodbyes” to the cast and crew?

KRISTOFF:

I was not there, but I heard about it. You know my gut tells me that he will come back, but it is a standoff right now. I have been there in the same situation only it wasn’t much of a stand off. (Laughs) I came to the gunfight without a gun.

MICHAEL:

Now, what about the ongoing situation with a return to “Y&R” by Victoria Rowell (Drucilla)? Recently, comments were made that alluded to some people in the cast who were impeding her return, and seemed like it was aimed at Christel Khalil (Lily)?

KRISTOFF:

I don’t think Christel said anything bad about Victoria. There is this assumption that certain people don’t want to work with Victoria based on past history. I believe those were Victoria Rowell’s comments; that there were individuals in the cast that may not be pleased if she were to return, Christel being one of them. And that is why I believe Christel answered back, “Hey, look, I have not said anything.” So, it’s stirring the pot. And it would be wise to bring her back, too. And, if the powers-that-be could somehow figure things out, it would be great!

DANIEL GODDARD

Daniel GoddardMICHAEL:

Cane and Lily have been battling Lily’s cancer together. Coming up, are we going to see a change in Cane since he has been duplicitous in the past? Perhaps… something shifty?

DANIEL:

I have a scene with Billy Miller (Billy) that we shot yesterday that was a good scene and it puts the dynamic of Billy and Cane back in a point where it does well. People like the push and pull of these two, and Maria Bell (Head writer, and co-executive producer, Y&R) is doing a good job at that.

MICHAEL:

What are your feelings on the Eric Braeden situation? Things are in such a state of upheaval in the industry; with the way contract talks and the state that the industry is in regards to actors and their agreements with the series and networks.

DANIEL:

I don’t have an opinion on what is going on with it, but I am certain whoever is reading the contracts knows what they are doing, and so I don’t think they would do something that would be morally or ethically wrong.

MICHAEL:

How do you feel Lily’s cancer storyline is playing out? Do you feel the show is missing some beats or do you like the approach?

DANIEL:

I think it has played out well, and I like the fact that Lily will turn to Cane and be all ‘angst-y’ and Cane lets it roll off of him, because I think there is humanity in the way she does it. They have pulled us off being on everyday just sitting around the house going, “Oh, we are sick. We’re sick. We’re sick.” That can get a little boring.

MICHAEL:

As the person going through the cancer as the caretaker, do you think it’s being told well from the husband’s perspective?

DANIEL:

That is the thing that makes the most sense. It’s not about what Cane is going through, it’s about what Lily is going through. Then you see his perspective as well and you think, “How could he not be tolerant of what she is going through?” She lost her uterus, her chance at having a child, is faced with death, and her best friend, Colleen just died. I mean, most people in that situation in real life would be “kooky” about now…..

MICHAEL:

Unless, they had Cane with them…..

DANIEL:

….Something like that. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Now Cane’s Australia connection got dropped after Phillip III returned. Are we finally going to delve into this mystery man’s true past and what he is hiding? What’s up with that?

DANIEL:

I would say it was placed in a warm environment waiting to blossom. The soil was warm and moist but the seed needed time to nurture and when it comes, it will be worth it.

MICHAEL:

How is your new little one, Sebastian?

DANIEL:

Sebastian is 10 months old and is a pistol and an animal. He is so physically strong at 10 months old. He’ll drag the chair and he will throw a ball, and he will go down the stairs with my guidance on his hands first. He is so strong; he can take the weight on his upper body. He is just an amazing little guy.

SHARON CASE AND CAROLYN HENNESY

Carolyn Hennesy Magic AwardsMICHAEL:

I am sitting with Sharon Case and Carolyn Hennesy, and the two of you are presenting together tonight!

CAROLYN:

A magical pair at the Magic Awards!

SHARON:

We are not presenting the award to The Twins, we are introducing their act. They are these young European boys and they do this amazing magic act.

CAROLYN:

Young European boys? (She laughs)

MICHAEL:

From the Czech Republic?

CAROLYN:

Who Cares? I am going to try and stay on the stage so I can disappear with one of them as part of the act. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Sharon, its very upsetting and a bit twisted watching yet another soap baby switch whose next victim is poor Sharon. What did you think when you read or heard you were going to be the next actress in soap opera’s notorious baby-switch plot device?

Sharon Case Magic AwardsSHARON:

I have never had a baby switch story. I thought, “Wow, I have never had to play a baby switch story,” and if you are on the show long enough, everything happens to you. That is what I thought. I like that there is always a twist so things keep going. There is always some reason Nick and Sharon can’t be together, and yet they yearn for each other, and I like that we keep that going.

MICHAEL:

Is Sharon going to be crying many more tears before this one is over? One can only expect.

SHARON:

She is trying to come out of this strong and move on with her life, and take this as a sign. Sharon did spend a month in the psychiatric institution so she feels stronger now. She still has sad moments for sure.

MICHAEL:

Is Adam going to go after Sharon to make this really twisted?

SHARON:

I can’t say, because you are going to have to watch. You know Adam, he is trouble!

MICHAEL:

Are you familiar with Cougar Town? Would you like to play a cougar a la Ms. Hennesy?

SHARON:

I love Cougar Town and I would love to play a cougar!

CAROLYN:

Carolyn HennesyThere is nothing more liberating than playing a cougar, especially the kind of Cougar I play on Cougar Town. My cougar had no filter and no morals. Nothing!

MICHAEL:

Good news… the series got picked up by ABC!

CAROLYN:

It got picked up for the entire season.

MICHAEL:

And Sharon, you just wrapped a feature film.

SHARON:

Yes. I just wrapped it a few days ago. It’s a film whose working title was, Love Will Keep Us Together, but for some reason that did not work out, so they are now calling it Man of the House but now there is a conflict with that title. I don’t think it comes out till June 2010, so they have some time to figure that part out. It’s a romantic comedy and I play the lead with David James Elliot. It was fun, and working with David was great.

MICHAEL:

Sharon, Eric Braeden has left the building, so to speak, and for the moment is off Y&R due to contract negotiations. What are your thoughts on the Braeden situation and soap contracts for actors, as we move in 2010 in a tight economic climate and as the genre fights for survival?

SHARON:

It is tough for the actors and the shows, too. Because of the economy and how all the shows are doing on television, the shows are having to make a lot of budgets cuts, and they need to figure out where to make those cuts, and where not to. That is what is important. I think cuts need to be made, but I think where and how the cuts should be made is important to the show, but also keeps the people on the show that the fans want to see.

MICHAEL:

Carolyn, James Franco is coming to GH!

CAROLYN:

Who? Who? Who’s James Franco? Oh, my God! I am so excited! And you know, Max and Diane have broken up for now…

MICHAEL:

…Do I smell a cougar move?

CAROLYN:

So, one can only hope James Franco will find Ms. Miller in his path. I don’t know who he is going to be. I heard he is coming to Port Charles as a mystery person, and I am so excited. I mean, how yummy is James Franco?

MICHAEL:

Pretty yummy! Another yummy favorite for soap fans is Joshua Morrow (Nick), who you have worked with for so many years, Sharon. How do the two of you feel at this point in the story juncture? Do you two still go over material together and discuss what the writers are asking you to play?

Sharon CaseSHARON:

We have worked together a long time, so we know what we want to do in our scenes together and what each of us wants for our characters relationship, so we get it. Every once in awhile we will tell each other, “I want to go in this direction with it and I am just letting you know.” The writing is great and it plays out so naturally. We have done it so long. It used to be our characters were together so long. I mean, there was drama and things would happen, but we were always together. Then when things started to happen: Cassie’s death, Phyllis’s affair, and all these changes that were happening, such as I was working with Peter Bergman (Jack) and Don Diamont (Brad). And Josh and I would talk about it back then and say, “Oh, my God. How do you feel about all this?” Now we are used to it. Storylines change. We are used to working with other people, before we were not, because we would only work with each other.

MICHAEL:

Carolyn, perhaps Diane could have a baby-switch in her future on GH. Every good actress needs one!

CAROLYN:

As long as that baby is Spinelli, I am just fine

MICHAEL:

Sharon, any tips you can give Carolyn on baby swaps on soaps?

SHARON:

Oh, don’t give up, and you will recognize your baby when you see it and probably, the neighbor had it! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

And of course you will be drugged! Wasn’t Sharon?

CAROLYN:

First of all, Diane is not going to have a baby, because it would have to be by Immaculate Conception. However, I think this is one of the reason’s Spinelli drives her up a tree. I think, we as the cast are all trying to play it and focus the writers in on it; that if Spinelli were Diane’s son, it would explain so much.

ADRIENNE FRANTZ (After show interview)

Adrienne FrantzMICHAEL:

Adrienne, what did you think of all the magic acts?

ADRIENNE:

Some of them were really good. I liked the tiger act at the end, and I like the guy and the woman who kept changing her dresses, and the funny guys from Ireland. I felt they were good and fun, though. If you are going to see magic acts, you might as well go to the World Magic Awards.

MICHAEL:

Let’s talk about Y&R. It has been great watching you with Sean Kanan again and seeing Deacon and Amber fighting their attraction and Deacon’s skullduggery. The way your performance is coming across to the viewers is, you don’t know if she likes the guy or hates his guts. Was that intentional?

ADRIENNE:
Of course! It’s a fine line I am playing. We do have history and Deacon does know what Amber likes, and she does like sparkly diamonds. The other day she was wearing a diamond necklace. Amber does want to get money out of Deacon because he has put her though all this stuff. That is part of who she is, though.

MICHAEL:

Did you find those despicable hotel sex scenes that were degrading to Amber and to women, tough to play? It was tough for viewers to watch and quite sad.

ADRIENNE:

It was hard to play because you know she is doing it to save someone she loves, and at the same time it’s a horrible thing. That was the question going around the set. Would you do that? Would you sleep with someone just to save someone you love? That was the million-dollar question that was going around the set and most people said, “Yes, they would.”

MICHAEL:

Did you see those scenes back?

ADRIENNE:

We shot it twice and the first one was worse. We had to go back and reshoot it, and the second one was the one that aired.  The first one was way more degrading.

MICHAEL:

Michael Graziadei (Daniel) and you are good buddies, plus play love interests on the show. But it looks like…things might change between Daniel and Amber. Do you know where their the story is heading? I know you are not at liberty to divulge much.

ADRIENNE:

Yes, I do know where it’s heading.

Adrienne FrantzMICHAEL:

And when you found out where it was heading, how did it sit with you?

ADRIENNE:

Well, I do know one way it’s heading. I know super surprise twists that are going to happen. I am really excited to start playing this.

MICHAEL:

Will the audience still care for Amber when all is said and done?

ADRIENNE:

You will still feel for her, but you will also see why she struggles with the way she feels and understand what she is going through.

MICHAEL:

What did you think of the Terroni painting being part of the plot device to bring Deacon and Amber, Daniel, Kevin, Jana and Gloria into the fold?

ADRIENNE:

I think it’s interesting and creates an interesting arc. Deacon started making forgeries and so it all started from that. I think it’s an interesting loop that its taken and it’s not over yet.

MICHAEL:

Sean had nothing but complimentary things to say about you, when I interviewed him awhile back. Did you know before, that Sean was headed to Genoa City?

ADRIENNE:

I knew he was going to get it way before, and I was not allowed to say anything.

MICHAEL:

Did you put in a good word?

ADRIENNE:

Yeah, I talked to people. (Laughs) I did put the bug in some ears. When I found out it was for sure, I called him up. It’s cool and we have been friends for years and he is a great actor!

MICHAEL:

Eric Braeden has, for the moment, left Y&R during a contract dispute with SONY and the show. What are your thoughts on the hold-out and the stalemate between actor and the powers-that-be?

ADRIENNE:

They are cutting contracts all around. I mean everybody has to bite the bullet. It’s not like anyone gets special treatment. If you don’t want to play fair with everyone, then don’t play. If you want to step out…. everybody is dealing with the same stuff. So if anybody thinks they are better than anyone else, then they should leave if they want to. It’s a cast. We are all working together. We are all working our hardest to make it go, and if you don’t want to work with everyone than you are not helping.

Adrienne Frantz and Scott BailyMICHAEL:

Your former soap B&B won Best Drama Series at the Emmys!

ADRIENNE:

I was so thrilled for them! I went to their after-party and I said, “I should have gotten on stage with you,” to Brad Bell. And Brad said, “I know you should have!” I was there for so many years. They deserve it. I was thrilled for them!

MICHAEL:

In closing, give me a good teaser for Amber fans?

ADRIENNE:

I think you should watch. She is about to have a conflict that would break anybody’s heart in a billion pieces!

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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