The Buzz, The Scoops, The Dish from the Stars!
Who’d have thunk it? Late May in the Big Apple and it felt more like early November. But that didn’t stop Daytime’s best and brightest from showing up and getting down. It’s a very long walk from the Sheraton Hotel and Towers where all the guests wined and dined at the Pre-Emmy dinner to Radio City Music Hall. But every one of them braved the early evening chill and walked the gauntlet. They came in waves, at first one or two, then more and more trying to satisfy the adoring fans, the demanding paparazzi, and the publicists pulling them from one microphone to another. Should it be SOAPNET or CBS RADIO or EXTRA or SOAP OPERA DIGEST? The red carpet was just beginning to rock.
When Michelle Stafford (Phyllis Summers, B&B), heard it was SOAPDOM holding the microphone her only response, “Oh, right on! I’m celebrating the Emmy’s and its fun.” She was the picture of class and elegance in a long straight red dress with tufted folds designed by Richard Tyler. She gushed about the Lead Actress nominee lunch at the very posh Water Club, “We’re all broads. We’ve been around for God’s sake. We were there for hours. It was very cool.” Stafford knew everyone but Erika Slezak (Vicki, OLTL) and came away really pumped. A two-time winner, she felt that if she were to win a third trophy it would be the cherry! Like Martha Byrne at Gracie Mansion there was a real sense of peace about the award. For the first time I was really seeing people who meant it when they said they were thrilled to be nominated.
“All My Children did some rockin’ work this year and apparently it paid off,” Jacob Young (JR Chandler, AMC) crowed. Here is is pictured with AMC newcomer, Chrishell Stause (Amanda). “We lead the nominations this year, so it’s good!” He had Friday off so he went to Y&R’s late-night party on Thursday and blew off some much needed steam. He was also very clear about JR and how he found the heart of the character. “It’s one of those roles that’s been really challenging. It took a while to warm up to, but once I found the niche, I figured out who JR really was, the sarcasm started coming out and the writers ran away with it after I started doing it. It’s the most fun character I’ve ever played.” With a very wry smile, he conceded, “It’s not such a stretch for me.” He did slip a bit of news our way, “Look for a surprise new visitor to come back to Pine Valley.” But, that’s all he would share.
Talk about making an entrance! Shanelle Workman (Gabriela, B&B) had men jumping out of their skin. The dress, what there was of it, was a mustard-colored cutout and most of her midriff was bare. Floor length in the back and knee length in the front, it looked as though she was poured into this impossible-to-miss Roberto Cavalli gown. At the B&B press junket, Workman remarked that it would be impossible for her to eat anything until the Emmy’s were over. Now, I understood why.
Workman’s B&B cast mate, Kayla Ewell (Caitlin), shown at left with Drew Tyler Bell (Thomas, B&B) was also wearing a Cavalli gown. A real knock out in a red sequenced dress with a plunging neckline that went down to her navel, Ewell showed her stuff. The floor length skirt was covered in feathers. She chose the dress less than 24 hours before the big night. Red is her favorite color. Somehow, Drew Tyler Bell, (Thomas Forrester, B&B) managed to get some camera time, even though he was hot on the stiletto heels of Ewell and Workman. Since he wasn’t worried about his weight, he chowed down on the pre-Emmy dinner. “It was good. Steak, salad. All the healthy stuff.”
Crystal Chappell (Olivia, GL) barely made it to the show. Shown here with castmate, Beth Ehlers (Harley) Chappell filled Soapdom in on why she almost missed the festivities. Her children needed her all week, “I had a mommy week. I didn’t do anything.” But she managed to pull herself together and drag her husband, Michael Sabatino to the festivities. Her dream for the evening, “When this is all over, I’m looking forward to sitting down in a quiet corner and having a drink. Maybe taking off my shoes, because I’m sure they’re going to be killing me, just having a little adult time.”
A trio of young All My Children stars led by Leven Rambin (Lily) stopped by for a quick hello. As young as Rambin is, she’s the old pro leading Bobby Steggert (Sam) and Aryana Rodriguez (Maddie) down the red carpet. “It’s awesome!” Rodriguez told us. “I’m so excited about doing this and being stopped by so many people. At first it seems a little awkward, then you start to get used to it.” The general consensus about the dinner, “Not very good food,” Rambin grinned, “Everybody was anticipating the night to come.” Each of the young actors brought an escort, Rambin her mom, Rodriguez her aunt, and Steggert brought a friend. But their guests were walking just on the other side of the red carpet. They weren’t interested in walking the gauntlet.
At the Mayor’s soiree the night before Kristen Alderson (Starr Manning, OLTL) told us her little brother, Eddie, (Matthew Rappaport, OLTL) was eternally shy. Not true! He bravely gave us a few words while his mother and sister were busy with SOAPNET, “Actually, I’ve been here four times and I’m having a good time.”
Adrienne Frantz (Amber, B&B) shwon at left with cast mate, Shanelle Workman (Gaby), always enjoys herself, but she had a real purpose in coming to this particular Emmy broadcast, “The tribute to Bill Bell, that’s my main reason for being here,” she revealed to Soapdom. Franz’s long sleek green gown didn’t seem as important as showing off her vintage ‘60’s silver bag. Her grandmother gave it to her.
Lead Actress Emmy nominee Kassie DePaiva (Blair Cramer Manning, OLTL) and her debonair husband, James DePaiva (ex-Max, OLTL) were more than happy to stop for SOAPDOM. Kassie was all over the map, “It’s really exciting, but high anxiety! It can be a torturous event. Jimmie is forced to come.” Kassie gave us a little more gossip about the Lead Actress luncheon. They talked about their shows a little bit, but just funny things, and their lives, and their families, and their husbands, and they just laughed! Hosted by co-nominee, Susan Flannery (Stephanie Forrester, B&B), dePaiva had never met Juliet Mills or Flannery, “I got to chat with them and it was just very special.”
Her exquisite soft pink dress was designed by C.D. Greene, “I love it, it’s beautiful, and hopefully it won’t make the worst dress list in People Magazine.” Before she could say another word Jimmie chimed in, “That’s all she cares about. I don’t think she’s going to get on the worst dressed list. She looks pretty hot!”
Tanisha Lynn (Danielle Frye, AMC) and Michael B. Jordan (Reggie Porter Montgomery, AMC) came together for the second year in a row. Her dress, Cynthie Steffe, his tux is custom by David Dash, but the coolest thing was his diamond studded watch. Lynn, “I’m very excited for all of my cast mates.” If Jordan were a betting man, who would he pick? “Of course, I’m going to pick everybody from All My Children.” Lynn, “They’re definitely worthy. As far as Jordan was concerned, the dinner was organized chaos. Lynn had a different take, “Chaos!”
Perhaps, the wisest and warmest woman on red carpet, Tonya Lee Williams (Dr. Olivia Hastings, Y&R) strolled in wearing a little black coatdress. She tends to buy from new designers, but had no idea who created her dress. She asked me to check the label so she would be prepared for the onslaught of questions. As she leaned over and I pulled back the collar there was no name, just a logo. As to the meaning of the little logo, it remains a mystery. Williams wasn’t even aware that eight women were in the best actress race, but as we went over the names, her response was quick, “Michelle Stafford, hands down,” she replied with a deep belly laugh, “She’s phenomenal.” Since Williams rarely gets to the Big Apple, she decided to make her only day off into a tourist event – a visit to the UN, all because she had seen THE INTERPRETER. Her advice, everyone should make a point to visit The United Nations.
Sharon Case (Sharon Collins Newman, Y&R) had on the most spectacular dress of the evening and there were lots of spectacular dresses. Designed by Hugo Boss, it looked quite simply like a ball gown for Cinderella. It was shimmering ivory. A girl couldn’t do much better. Many of the dresses had that dreamy fairy-tale quality, but Case’s just floated.
Dressed in red and swallowed up by her husband and friends, Susan Lucci gave all of her attention to the fans. She whisked by and if you’d blinked you would have missed her.
Bree Williamson (Jessica Buchanan, OLTL), shown at right with flanked by her mom and sister, must have been channeling the spirits as she walked down the red carpet, “I’m so excited about the women on my show. One of them is going to win.” Very excited to be a part of the evening, Williamson looked stunning in a wonderful hot print designed by David Quinn. It appeared to have some animal faces that might have been the head of a lion on the front.
In a sea of pandemonium, Tonya Pinkins (Livia Frye Cudahy, AMC) floated down the red carpet in a real jewel of a dress. She just looked so happy to be part of the night.
All roads lead to All My Children, especially for memorable characters. This one was totally blinged out and loving all the attention on the Red Carpet. That, she, is a very excited Shari Headley (Mimi Frye) and she’s taking the fast track back to Pine Valley, “Mimi’s back after 11 years. You’ll see me pop up. You know we can never talk about story. It’ll be in a couple of weeks.” Stay tuned!
“Isn’t this awesome?” Gina Tognoni (Dinah, GL) yelled over the fans and the paparazzi. Shown here with co-star Tom Pelphrey (Jonathan), her dress looked like something out of Scheherazade tale in the desert. Another, by Cavalli, “Very comfy, bohemian, I love it.” And she was off to chat with CBS Radio.
Unlike most of the stars walking the red carpet, Eden Riegel (Bianca, AMC), as she has in years past, tried to slip by unnoticed. But SOAPDOM spotted her and got her to make a pit stop. “I’m very excited.” This is her fourth nomination and she didn’t seem all that confident, “They said that the third was the charm. So, I learned not to trust those little sayings.”
Melissa Archer (Natalie Vega, OLTL), pictured here with co-star Renee Goldsberry (Evangeline), strolled by in a gorgeous fairy princess dress designed by Jessica McClintock. As for the four nominees from her show, “I couldn’t have picked better myself. They totally deserve it. I’m so excited.” Of the four nominees from One Life, Archer gets the chance to up her acting chops almost daily with TV mom, Erika Slezak. “She’s welcoming, she’s encouraging, and she’s great! Always professional.” Suddenly Archer was being pushed forward along with every one else. It was very close to show time.
At Gracie Mansion, Jeff Branson (Jonathan Lavery, AMC) promised to stop by for quick hello. His word is good. “I got two seconds. I feel loose. I feel great. I’m really honored by being here. I already won.” The line was traveling fast and if I wanted to talk to anyone I felt as though I had to jump on board a moving train.
Melissa Gallo (Adrianna, OLTL) and Kathy Brier (Marcie, OLTL) were two of the last stragglers, but found a few seconds for SOAPDOM. Since they were working late and share a dressing room, they thought it would be easier to be each other’s dates. That made them laugh!
The production team was pushing the stars forward, but Heather Tom (Kelly Cramer, OLTL) wearing a very colorful Missoni gown, tight at the waist, gave us a nano-second “It’s first my nomination for One Life and I’m very excited.”
In the midst of the madness, a very relaxed Mark Dobies (Daniel Colson, OLTL) gave SOAPDOM the 411 on the twisted life of his alter, “He goes off into the sunset. They don’t have anything on him. I really don’t know. But he’s out of it.”
Catherine Hickland (Lindsay Rappaport, OLTL), pictured here with Thorsten Kaye (Zach, AMC), and Michael E. Knight (Tad Martin, AMC) were there in the last minute crush. As for being a nominee, Knight told us, “I’m more nervous than excited.” Looking over at his wife, “She’s excited and she’ll tell me about it later on. I’m a little bit nervous.” Hickland was dressed to splendid perfection by Roberto Cavalli, that guy has the daytime market cornered, in a brown gown that can be best described as seductive! A bare midriff, like several others of the more lovely dresses worn on the red carpet, it certainly has a Middle East influence, like something you’d find in a harem. All eyes were on her and her Jimmy Choo Shoes.
One Life’s resident loony, Roxy, played by Emmy nominee, Ilene Kristen was hustling to make it to the show, along with her adorable boyfriend, Brian. Originally, Kristen had planned to wear black. Miraculously that changed just two short hours before she made it to the pre-Emmy dinner. Late on Thursday night she met an incredible stylist, Steve Dann, who took one look at her closet and was very non-plussed by her choice of dress. He could get her something better. Boy, did he succeed. A diaphanous pink gown that was sweet, youthful and princess-like. “I love it. I feel very lucky. He was like a little angel. I said to him, ‘Where did you come from?’ He dressed me. He came over. He said, ‘Put that on, you’re wearing it.” She couldn’t have looked more perfect.
Jill Larson (Opal, AMC) is a true fashion diva. Every event she’s decked out in a killer dress. She didn’t disappoint in a royal blue form-fitting gown that had a flared crinoline bottom, from the calf down. And, the finishing touch was a royal blue shawl to match. By the time Larson made it to the red carpet it was pitch black out and the temperature must have fallen to 45 degrees. But she swept in like a glamour queen out of an old Hollywood newsreel.
People were racing down the red carpet just to get inside before the doors closed and the show started. Bob Woods, (Bo Buchanan, OLTL) and Kimberlin Brown (Paige, OLTL) were among the sprinters. No time to talk. Just like Victoria Rowell (Drucilla Winters, Y&R), but not Mr. Shemar Moore (ex Malcolm Winters, Y&R). In that hot red suit, he was working the fans and taking his sweet old time. He may be leaving daytime, but not his fans!
As we all headed toward Radio City Music Hall, who should be crossing the street, but the one and only Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin. It was truly the best moment of the night, Y&R’s biggest fan just like the rest of us walking into the theatre. Only she had an entourage and a fur coat!
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