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Tracey E. Bregman Dishes & Looks Back On 35 Years As Y&R’s Lauren: The Hair, The Catfights, The Leading Men!

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Photo Credit: CBS Monty Brinton

Last week, Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren Fenmore Baldwin) celebrated her 35-year milestone with The Young and the Restless, with an on set celebration in her honor.  Bregman, who has taken Lauren from bitchy bad girl, to wife and mother, to shrewd business women, and everything in between over three decades, is a beloved staple of the CBS Daytime drama series, and with her cast.

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with the Tracey to have her reflect back on those years featuring: big hairdos, catfights (yup, those Sheila Carter furniture slingers, hair-pullers, and steak knife accessory ones!), love stories, corporate backstabbing, and her on-screen love stories, especially the one that has stood the test of time between Michael (Christian LeBlanc) and Lauren.  One of the sexiest, effervescent, fun, and entertaining gals we know; what fun it was to take a quick trip down memory lane, and to gain some insight from Bregman herself on 35 years of life in Genoa City. 

Let’s talk historical Lauren! Starting with your big hair in that 35th anniversary clip package that went viral and was posted all over social media!  What are your thoughts when you see your vintage Lauren “dos”?

Courtesy/CBS

TRACEY:  I think it’s hilarious!  I always go, “How did I look in the mirror and think that looked good?” (Laughs)  But, you look at it back at that time.  Lisa Hartman (Ciji, Knots Landing) was wearing her hair the same way.  We all had this big hair! Quite frankly, I went to a dance class yesterday and my hair dried naturally and all curly, and I have this big hair today.  So, I am rivaling my 80’s hair!  I am like, “Oh, my God!  What happened?   I look like I stuck my finger in a light socket and it went poof! “(Laughs)

Lauren was such a vixen and troublemaker back in the day!  What do you think of those years now as you reflect back on them in 2018?

TRACEY:  Those were the years of being the femme fatale and the storylines were outrageous.  Somebody sent me the interviews the cast did for the 40th anniversary of Y&R, and I guess I was talking about Mary Williams and Paul’s centerfold! (Laughs) It was all so much fun.

Courtesy/CBS

Is there any character on daytime that has had more catfights than Lauren? 

TRACEY:  No, I don’t think so.  I said in my speech that I think I rival all the guys in the amount of fight scenes.

Lauren’s endless catfights with Sheila should be a compilation reel in any television academy hall of fame or archive!  Do you have one that stands out to you among the rest?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios/Courtesy Y&R

TRACEY:  I think it’s ironic, because it’s so crazy, but I would say the chemistry lab fight scene with Kimberlin Brow was right at the top of my list.  I was in bugle beads and heels and just slid across every table top!  And to think, I am the least physical person.  I remember, I had to slap Michael Damian and ten takes later I couldn’t do it.  My kids will tell you … all I would ever to do them is pinch their arm (laughs) that is like the worst thing I could do to anybody.  So for me, to then have to do all these fight scenes just goes against my grain.

So, what did you do when you read in the script, or you were told, “OK Tracey … here comes another catfight?” (Laughs)

TRACEY:  I was like “Oh, God.  It’s just not my favorite thing to do it all!”  However, Kimberlin and I had a trust between us when we had to get physical.  We were able to go farther and farther the more times we did catfights together.

Photo Credit: CBSCourtesy/CBS

And back in the day, Lauren got away with fat-shaming Traci Abbott (Beth Maitland).  I don’t think that would fly in the world today, and there would be immense blowback on social media for that!

TRACEY:  Oh, my God!   I was almost tarred and feathered back then.  Now, I would be toast.  I was toast for Lauren’s one kiss in the park with Cane (Daniel Goddard) … can you imagine?

With the cast, crew, and members of you family all in attendance at the celebration in honor of your 35th anniversary with Y&R, what were you most touched by during the festivities?

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

TRACEY:   I was so touched by everything – the people that were there, the people that spoke, the people that posted things across social media and what they said to me.   It was one of those extraordinary things where you kind of get a glimpse as to what people really think and you don’t always get to hear that, or know it.  I got the opportunity to have a whole day of it.  It was just so moving to me, and yes, it was celebrating 35 years on Y&R, and in fact, I opened my speech by saying, “I can’t believe I have been anywhere for 35 years!” It was hard for me to believe, but to hear people’s thoughts about me was such a gift.   It was such an extraordinary day filled with it, and that was really nice.

Did you ever think from your soap beginning as Donna Craig on DAYS that you would end up in a role for 35 years on another daytime drama? 

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

TRACEY:  I was hired in January 35 years ago on Y&R, and I thought this will be a great January to summer gig, period.  Never thought anything more, ever!

Let’s talk about your Y&R leading men!  You and Christian LeBlanc have created this enduring couple as Lauren and Michael.  Would you say, through your experiences working with Christian, that you have grown as an actor?

TRACEY:  Oh, how can you not grow working with someone like Christian?  The thing that I appreciate so much in our working relationship – and we talk about it a lot is – as actors you are at home and you do your homework. Then, when you come to the set you come to the table with what you have done at home.  What I love about how Christian and I work together is that we take all of that, and we throw it all out on the table and then we put the puzzle together.  It’s this collaboration.  It literally is us throwing up all the puzzles pieces and then putting together the puzzle.  There are times it’s almost impossible to try and act opposite Christian, because he is so good that I just want to watch him.  I want to be like a viewer!  Christian is so giving as a person and as an actor, and so funny.  The thing that he and I both spoke about in our speeches is how we love to dance together, and that we are true partners.  I said that, “He makes Lauren fall in love with Michael Baldwin on every single episode.”

Photo Credit: CBS

Then of course, there was Danny Romalotti and Lauren!  What was it like working with Michael Damian?

TRACEY:  Michael was so adorable, and we each tried to make our hair bigger than the others! (Laughs)  He was so much fun, great, and really amazing to me during the whole singing storyline, which was different for me.  Michael was always so helpful, and fun, and yet, we were learning 30 pages of dialog a night, and on top of that then he and I were at Capitol Records recording till all hours of the night.  It was a lot of work, and we had so much fun doing it together, which made is so special.

And of course, Lauren and Paul!  Tell me about working with the one and only. Doug Davidson.

Photo: CBS

TRACEY:  They used to call Doug and me, “The Instigators”. (Laughs)  He was the fair-haired boy who would make me laugh, and then everybody would be screaming at me, because I was laughing at him.  As you know, Doug is hilarious, and absolutely no one would be upset with him, and everybody would be yelling at me! (Laughs) “You need to concentrate” they would yell on set.  I go, “Oh, my God.  I was just standing here minding my business, and he just said the funniest thing I ever heard in my entire life!” (Laughs)  Doug was an extraordinary partner, and such a good actor.  I got really lucky, and as I said in my speech, “I won the co-star lottery!”

Everybody always tells me when working on Y&R that all roads to what is going on at the show lead to Tracey Bregman,  and that you the “411” on everything happening on set and behind the scene.  Is that true? (Laughs)

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

TRACEY:  It’s true!  (Laughs)  They call me “411”.  This happened because I listen, and I take notes.  I am interested in things my cast members may want to know.   I also keep things to myself until somebody asks, but I will get a phone call from a cast member and I always answer the phone by saying, “What do you need?” (Laughs)

Currently on the air shows, there are problems going on with Lauren’s company where Chelsea (Melissa Claire Egan) is seemingly embezzling from right from under her. What do you think of that storyline which seems “au currant”?

TRACEY:  I will tell you what I love about what Mal Young (EP and head writer, Y&R) has been writing.  He is writing about very current topics.  I love the partnership with the character of Phyllis; played by the adorable Gina Tognoni.  I love that we are these powerful business women that don’t resort to being bitchy, or underhanded.  We do things in an up-and-up way, but no one is going to get anything over us.  I love that he is writing us that strong, and that smart.

Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS

I even liked when Tracey brought former flame Eric Forrester (John McCook) to Genoa City to help her business dealings with Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) and Jabot.  She was showing that she was no dummy in the world of corporate takeovers.

TRACEY:  They make Lauren laser sharp.  Christian and I sort of early on had this thing with our characters that some men might be intimated by a powerful woman, but when he sees her taking over and being this powerhouse, it is like a turn-on for him. The same goes for Lauren when she sees Michael in court being this strong powerhouse attorney.  It’s a turn-on for her.  You have these two powerful entities, who are together as a couple, which could cause some friction, but it is what ignites us.  It makes us even prouder and hotter for each other.

Daniel Hall has been written out as of now, as your grown up on-screen son, Scott Grainger.  How do you feel that storyline played out? 

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

TRACEY:   I wish they had written more of the family dynamic.  It’s a very interesting relationship between Lauren and Scott.  She had wanted to spend her whole life with him, but she hid him away to protect him for his whole life. There has to be repercussions from that, and I don’t think we ever saw that. So, I wish there would have been a deeper storyline.  And yes, of course, Scott would need to have a love story, but a lot of us are the way we are because we have a lot of pain, and we have a lot of blocks in our own life, because of our childhood, parenting, etc.  I would love to have seen that explored more.

Would you like to have Kimberlin Brown come over to Y&R, or you go back to B&B for a visit, since Sheila returned last year to the canvas causing trouble for the Forresters?  Everyone wanted to see her mix it up with Lauren and Scott given the history.  Aren’t you also the record-holder for the amount of crossovers to another show on the soaps, and on TV, period?

Courtesy/CBS

TRACEY:  Right!  Exactly!  It would be amazing as long as I don’t get duct taped to something. (Laughs)  That was my only beef with the Sheila story.  Lauren went from this ultra strong character that when they brought on this other strong character it was sort of  “Victimize Lauren” time, and I always had a problem with it.  So, if they were to do it I would hope, and I would be open to doing it, but doing it by showing that two strong women could go at it.  I loved the story we did a few years back with Christian and Marco Dapper as Carmine, which was ultimately about; how far would you go protect your family?  I think you have seen Lauren in protection mode; where she was protecting her family. She killed Sarah Smythe, and she killed what she thought was Phyllis, but it was Sheila pretending to be Phyllis. In that story, Lauren was torn between her best friend Phyllis, and the fake Phyllis. She has to make a split second decision to kill the right one.  These moments and stories illustrated that Lauren is a very strong woman.

Courtesy/CBS

Was the Carmine affair with Marco Dapper, one of Lauren’s top Y&R trysts of all-time?

TRACEY:  The other affairs she was having were when she was married to Scott Grainger, and she was having affairs with Paul, and she almost did not marry Scott.

Maybe you should also consider being the continuity director at Y&R in addition to acting on the show! (Laughs)

TRACEY:   I am not sure I would remember everything to be honest! (Laughs) People tell me stories from the past on Y&R, and I am like “Oh, right!” Sometimes I am sent old scenes, and I am watching them, and I am going, “I wonder what I do next?” (Laughs)

Photo Credit HutchinsPhoto.com

What would you like to say to your fans, who have supported you through the years, and who have continually invested in Lauren? They always want the best for her, and they love her when she is a little naughty, they love her when she is flirtatious, and they love her when she is a goof wife. 

TRACEY:  I would say to the audience how much I have appreciated them – that they have watched all of these years and made Y&R number one for 29 years in a row – and that they are the reason we are number one.  In addition, how much I appreciate all the support for all these years, and that how amazing that we have all grown up together!

So, what has been your favorite Lauren Fenmore Baldwin moment in Tracey E. Bregman’s 35 years on Y&R? Who has been your favorite all-tine leading man for Lauren? Would you like to see Kimberlin Brown’s Sheila Carter terrorize Lauren one more time? Send your congrats to Tracey on her Y&R milestone below, and more via the comment section below!

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Jimh
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Jimh

She looks like a young Nikki Newman in that picture with Danny…liked her on Days as Donna Temple Craig!!!!!!!

Satan
Guest
Satan

She’s been on Y&R for 35 years??

Don’t even watch that show, but I still remember when she was Donna Craig on Days of Our Lives. She disappeared from Salem shortly before her dad went out to get the mail and was never heard from again.

Jimh
Guest
Jimh

She left town to live with Don’s mom-Grandma Craig…that was when Days started their mass firings and some actors quit!!!

ADAM
Guest
ADAM

Congrats on 35 years that is awesome! I love Lauren, but more love to Tracey E. Bregman, she is just awesome all the way. I wished they give her a storyline soon, she deserves it. I know her turn is coming soon. Right now it’s about the Ashley/Jack and the mystery with Chelsea Lawson. Bottom line SHE ROCKS! and she is one of my favorites on the show!

Jamesj75
Guest
Jamesj75

Mr. Fairman thanks so much for including the picture featuring Marco Dapper! And, oh yeah, thanks for the interview of Tracey E. Bregman. 🙂

Soaphound
Guest
Soaphound

Hello, James. I wish they hadn’t trashed the Carmine character; Marco had gotten really good by the time of the affair and I had great fun imagining being Lauren (well, an unmarried Lauren maybe) in those boudoir scenes. And I’ve always loved Tracey; I get the same silly look of glee when Lauren is on that I get when Traci is.

Jamesj75
Guest
Jamesj75

I’m with you 100%, Soaphound! Take care, Friend.

Vasilis
Guest
Vasilis

Love Lauren! Brad Bell bring her back for a visit to Sheila!

Maca
Guest
Maca

I used to love when Lauren sang she was so good with Danny !

James R. Poissant
Guest
James R. Poissant

I have said quite a few times in this forum that Tracey is the most beautiful lady in all of television along with Kimberlin. This interview was so good and it was very nice to read about her feelings on the old storylines she had along with what she’s doing now. Lauren has always been an exciting character to me and I’m so glad Tracey chose to play her for all these years. TRACEY FOREVER!!!

Carol
Guest
Carol

I fondly remember all of these periods……but, the Danny Romalotti years will always be my favorite. I would love to see him return.

soapqueenforever
Guest
soapqueenforever

I agree with you Carol. The Traci, Danny, Lauren storyline is what got me hooked on Y&R to begin with. Not to mention the wonderful cat fight the two of them had over Brad while he was in the hospital. I believe the fight took place in the hospital and two nurses had to break it up. Ah, the good old days!!! Now if we could only see more of the love story of Michael and Lauren, I would be extremely happy. The chemistry between Ms. Bregman and Mr. Leblanc, to md is one of the best in daytime. The… Read more »

Soaphound
Guest
Soaphound

Oh, soapqueenforever, can you imagine the memories Tracey and others of many years on the show must have? The halcyon days of soaps, the great sets and costumes, working with Jeanne Cooper and other greats. What an amazing legacy Tracey is part of and I, for my part, am very grateful to these talented, dedicated artists.

Michael
Guest
Michael

What a great article! Congrats Tracey on 35 wonderful and fun filled years on Y&R!

Celia
Guest
Celia

Lauren Fenmore has not changed in 35 years…..amazing!!
I am so envious. LOL.

damien
Guest
damien

love lauren!
she is y n r royalty!
i think they have a tour bus with her picture on it in nyc if im not mistaken!
top 3 wishes for lauren on her 35th anniversary:
1. with all the Fenmore business affairs taking place , time to bring back an updated Fenmores store set on the ground floor of Jabot like the good ol days
2. Her and Paul need scenes together, maybe even all together with their loves Michael and Christine
3. BRING BACK Carmine and Sheila!… with no Graham, genoa city really needs a villian.

Celia
Guest
Celia

Carmine…oh, WOW, damien…..he and Lauren sizzled!!!!!

Ron
Guest
Ron

Great ideas here. And I’d like to add one more: bring back Danny Romalotti (and Gina!) and see how it all goes between Lauren and best buddy, Phyllis.

Celia
Guest
Celia

HaHa, Ron….good one. ….neither Lauren nor Phyllis has a pristine past. Bad girls, both of them. Most of Lauren’s shenanigans are before my time….but, my Gran gave me Y&R classes , LOL, on all characters and storylines….she’s been watching since its inception. Lauren was a meanie….especially to Tracy, always ‘picking’ on her about her weight. Suddenly, they have become the symbols of virtue and all that is righteous in the world. And, Phyllis? What she did to Danny was dedpicable. I wish Patty Weaver would return….she had the most melodic, beautifully warm, silver-toned voice….loved her singing. This feels like deja-vu…..did… Read more »

Marie-Claire
Guest
Marie-Claire

Thanks to Michael and Tracey for this great interview. I love Tracey Bregman and am a huge Lauren fan. She is the one who got me addicted to YR. I loved a lot of the Lauren stories, Lauren & Paul were my first favorite couple but I’m a huge Likey fan right now. They have great chemistry and I don’t understand they never are on and MY doesn’t take advantage of their great chemistry. And Lauren is underused, she rarely is on. I love Phyllis and I love her friendship with Lauren and she works for Lauren. But in the… Read more »

Ron
Guest
Ron

Lauren should be on full contract. Beef up her storyline with Michael; they’ve been reduced to part-time-part-time players! I too miss Lauren’s mom– it would be a pleasant treat for the loyal fans.

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

EVERY woman out there can only hope and pray, what a beautiful mature women! I used go between her and Michelle Stafford but the gold medal has to go to Tracey!

Celia
Guest
Celia

LOL, Timmmy….I was being facetious….not envious, not one bit. Tracey is a beautiful woman…..but no woman is immune to aging. LOL.
Michelle Stafford is natural….she looks beautiful, naturally. I hope to keep my face and body as natural as she in twenty years or so…..
I am not averse to plastic surgery….I may change my mind when I start seeing a few wrinkles?
Never say never.

Mo
Guest
Mo

Congratulations Tracey!!! I’ve enjoyed watching you on Y&R. Just wish Lauren were on more!!!!

Dee
Guest
Dee

Michael and Lauren I have loved them since 2004. So many great stories and memories of this couple! Excellent actors and this is the perfect match! To bad mal Young is not using them to their potential. Nope he has to give us a double dose of Victoria constantly but My Likey I never see..always working those two. Guess they dont have sex or a life outside of work with Mal writing..I constantly ask the soap Gods to give us a writer is fair and balanced and not just for their favs..oh Well i dont miss YR but I sure… Read more »

k/kay
Guest
k/kay

Every ep has their favorites they don’t happen to be in his radar and a certain vet has less air time since MY took over but yet he was all over Twitter bitching about Sally . It took ten years of destruction and the idiots could not give Kay and Sally ten moths to try o put it back together. It takes times to rebuild

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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