At right: Susan Lucci Accepts AMC Way Street Sign from Commissioner Katherine Oliver.
The next time you visit New York, take a stroll on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and you’ll find yourself walking in the footsteps of Erica, Adam, Bianca, Ryan, and all the other wonderful folks who populate the mythic town of Pine Valley. And now, you’ll do it on All My Children’s very own NYC street.
On Wednesday January 5, 2005, Katherine Oliver, Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, honored All My Children’s 35th Anniversary with its own street sign – All My Children Way.
“It’s just such a delight to be here today. We’re so thrilled that we’re celebrating the 35th Anniversary of All My Children and also the 35th Anniversary of Susan Lucci. What a fantastic record!” Commissioner Oliver proudly announced as she and television’s most famous vixen unveiled the sign to cast and crew. A native of the Empire State, La Luuch’s million-dollar smile had enough wattage to light up not only Broadway, but, all of The Big Apple.
“Since I came to New York I’ve driven around and seen passages, Bobby Short Street, and so on, and have been so in awe of these, and it’s such a privilege to have this street outside of our studio to be named for All My Children,” said Lucci.
The ceremony took place at lunch on the set during All My Kids actual 35th Birthday, which fell on Wednesday, January 5, 2005. Cast members Eden Reigel (Bianca), Alicia Minshew (Kendall), James Scott (Ethan), Thorsten Kaye (Zach), and Leven Ramgin (Lily), some in costume, others in jeans and t-shirts, proudly watched as Commissioner Oliver made one more announcement.
“It’s going to be a year-long celebration, a historical milestone for this wonderful show that is made in New York. We’ve recently launched our Made In New York marketing campaign. We have the logo. We give this to all shows that qualify and certainly All My Children is a production 100% made in New York. The Made In New York is a mark of distinction. And the logo will be used in the closing credits.” Of the four soaps shot in the Big Apple, All My Children is the very first to broadcast, Made in New York. Look for it at the end of the show.
There’s another first coming your way. On February 7th at New York City’s Town Hall, the cast will be performing, for one-night only, All My Children’s Evening on Broadway, a benefit for Broadway Cares, Equity Fights AIDS. Headlining along with Susan Luuci will be Emmy-Winner and devoted All My Children fan, Rosie O’Donnell, Tony Winner, All My Children’s own Olivia, Tonya Pinkins, One Life to Live’s wonderful Marcie, Kathy Brier who stole the show in Hairspray, and everyone’s favorite daytime gabber, Kelly Ripa (ex Hayley, AMC).
One of the show’s newest members, Lily, played by Leven Rambin, is thrilled to be part of television history and talked about how she first approached the difficulties of playing someone with autism.
“I went to a day camp for my charity and we worked with autistic children and children with disabilities and I knew a few children from my neighborhood that had autism…along the spectrum. I thought when I got here that they would tell me what to do, how to say it, what to do with my hands, but when I got here I was on my own. Like no one, nobody, nothing! Me, my own. I promise you. I was freaked out. Is somebody going to tell me what to do? I’m not sure what to do, I mean, I had been on three auditions, but I never really had any training in it. They were like, we like what you do, just don’t change it.”
Very tall and very handsome, James Scott left Ethan Ramsey in his dressing room and talked about his first experience with the show, “I remember very clearly, standing in somebody else’s dressing room -- because I didn’t have one at that point -- and putting on the clothes and looking in the mirror. It was a really wonderful moment I had with myself, just seeing back in that mirror this character who I’d been working on and developing and it represented so much about where I was and what I was doing.”
A native Brit, Scott shared a little secret, “I didn’t know a massive amount of All My Children coming from England. And actually, when I was cast on the show, Julie Carruthers, the Executive Producer, instructed me not to watch the show because I was coming in as a new character who didn’t know anything and she really wanted me to be a new character who didn’t know anything. So, I wasn’t going to watch, do any homework, which meant, really, I on my first day here, I didn’t know anything!”
And, what does he know now? “Now I know all the gossip and secrets,” he said with a smile. None of which he was ready to divulge. But Soapdom wanted to know about his New York Yankees baseball cap? “I have to admit I’m just a fashion whore. I wouldn’t say I wasn’t a Yankees fan, but I just bought the cap because it looked…”, then he just trailed off into some very funny unintelligible garble and came up with this final definitive statement and a twinkle in his eye, “I don’t want to offend anybody in New York. I like every single baseball team there’s ever been. Passionately!” Then, as he walked away, Scott admitted his real passion is football, but he didn’t mention any teams.
As Alicia Minshew and Eden Riegel posed with their on-screen Mom, Susan Lucci, the photographers were yelling and screaming for them to look every which way. But the three of them were beaming as they stood under their new street sign.
Soapdom caught up with Eden Riegel (Bianca) as at the dessert table. She, too, reminisced about her first day on the show,
“I absolutely remember that day. I was completely terrified. My friends teased me later because in the first episode that I was in I walked in and didn’t move my arms because I was that nervous. I was just really overwhelmed. I was working with Susan. I was in this new place with all these lights and cameras, and I hadn’t done a lot of television. The first time I slipped on my costume, it helped me get in touch with who the character was because she was not yet out as a lesbian. So she was really hiding and the clothes sort of projected that, that she was sort of covering herself and trying to hide who she was from the rest of the world. You know the clothing really helped, but just being here that first day was completely overwhelming. I never imagined that this place would become the home that it is to me now and that these people would become my family. I was overwhelmed.”
Like her cast mate, Reigel never watched All My Children, but she was very familiar with the show, “A lot of my good friends were on this soap, and, in fact, my best friend, Lacy Chabert, played my part so I was familiar with it.”
Happy Anniversary All My Children. AMC may be about the fictitious town of Pine Valley, but the show is very proud to be produced in New York. To find All My Children Way, take the 1 or 9 subway to West 66th Street and Lincoln Center. Head west and you won’t miss it!
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