One Night Only
Soapdom Exclusive Photo Gallery
by Sue Coflin
It was one of those perfect New York nights. The kind people write songs about, the kind singers sing about. And, the cast of All My Children had plenty to sing about on Monday, February 7th. In front of a sold out audience they sang and danced their hearts out, celebrating 35 years of television history. But it wasn’t all about Pine Valley. Everyone from Susan Lucci (Erica) to Leven Rambin (Lily) got up on stage just to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. And raise they did, a whopping $250,000.00! Not bad for a night’s work.
Soapdom caught up with many of the cast members just before a very late dinner and dancing, 65 stories high at the Big Apple’s famed, Rainbow Room. It all began with a man in a tux, a dashing, elegant fellow with an English accent that could melt a glacier. “I had a really, really wonderful time tonight. I am talking to you, but I am also a little bit struck by this view,” James Scott (Ethan) told us. The city lights twinkled in the distance, but the star power at the Rainbow Room almost eclipsed the brightness below. It almost looked like a movie set. Scott had the time of his life on stage, “I went ba, ba, ba da boom and that was it. He didn’t have a solo, but everyone in the cast performed in the open and close. Soapdom asked Scott if he’s a singer? “When I was studying in London, I was studying voice coaching and singing. When I moved to Los Angeles, it kind of all went out the window. Now, I’m back in New York, if we were to do this again, I would sing. It’s something I’m getting back into.” We wanted to know about Broadway? “I would love to do Broadway, and I’m quite sure that I will be soon. It’s something that I’ve really, really always wanted to do. A dream of mine. I’m very committed to working in that direction.” And with a kind of James Bond twinkle in his eye, “I like to get what I want, so it should work out for me! “
Suddenly the room was filling up with all sorts of familiar faces, giddy with excitement over the great night on Broadway. Tonya Pinkins (Olivia) looked daring and sexy in a sort of leopard print dress that showed plenty of cleavage and lots of let. Fresh off the plane from San Francisco, where she’s wowing audiences with her performance in Caroline or Change, she didn’t want to miss the opportunity to perform on stage with all the other Pine Valley residents. “The evening was fantastic,” she gushed. “I sang Addicted to Love, Tina Turner’s version. The audience was a like rock band audience. They were hyped and they were screaming. Everyone is so talented. They should televise it.”
The evening’s co-Master of Ceremonies, Cameron Mathison (Ryan), gave Soapdom his opnion of the night, “The best thing that happened tonight were the fans,” he said. “Easily. All the fans and all the enthusiasm from the fans! I gotta say, honestly, I was most surprised by Aiden Turner (Aidan). He’s not really a singer. And -- I ‘m going to say Aiden Turner.” But he couldn’t remember what his friend sang, laughed, then went on to talk other members of the press. It took us awhile to find out what Turner sang. So many other stars were coming through the red carpet.
Like Georgia’s favorite daughter, Bobbie Eakes (Krystal). She was giddy. “I sang Georgia on My Mind, and since I’m from Georgia, (it was) a little bit of a tribute to Ray Charles.” Eakes was a high school senior when it became the state song and the late great Ray sang it before the state legislature. Best of all, Eakes knew all about Soapdom. Completely familiar with the website. Gotta love that! Her performance followed Christian Campbell (Bobby), who wowed the audience with a song from Reefer Madness, and she thought, “Great, I have to follow him.” Hands down, Christian Campbell won kudos from his cast members as the best of the night with his politically incorrect song, Sensitive Song. Soapdom wanted to know how she felt about her family at ABC, “I love working on All My Children. It’s been a big change from The Bold and the Beautiful, but I love it.”
One of Pine Valley’s youngest residents, Leven Rambin (Lily), looked gorgeous in a short sparkly chiffon dress. When she spotted Soapdom, she ran up to us, “I went to your website. It’s great!” We met up with her several weeks ago when AMC received its own street name. It’s nice to know we made an impression. But she did have a confession, “I am not musically talented, so I was in the opening and the closing numbers, just like James Scott (Ethan) and Jeff Branson (Jonathan). Everyone else was on stage, we were backstage, just hanging together. We don’t like to sing and everyone else was doing their solo thing. We were like the rejects” Based on what Scott told Soapdom, however, he may have other plans. Rambin let us in on another tidbit, she helped her good friend, Aiden Turner (Aidan) practice his song. But what was it?
Michael B. Jordan (Reggie) looked very handsome in a classy tux. Like so many of his cast mates, this was first time on a Broadway stage. “I was a prop tonight for Tanisha (Lynn, Danielle). I was her singing partner, when she sang, Where the Boys Are. It was cool. It was a new experience. I’ll try anything once.” And now he has the bug. Watch out Broadway!
Jacob Young seemed almost shy, not at all like his menacing alter ego JR. A musician himself, he was pleased to be a part of an evening that raised so much money, but it all happened so fast and he wished that there had been more time for rehearsal.
What a coup for Soapdom! We next got to chat with the woman who made television history when she created All My Children, Agnes Nixon. “I just thought tonight was superb. It was such a great show. It was such fun.” AMC’s creator, looked beautiful, elegant, and classy in a lovely black dress and a single strand of pearls. Just what you’d expect from the woman who gave the world Pine Valley and Landview! She gushed about her good friend, Susan Lucci. “She sang three different songs in three costumes.” Agnes met up with fans...
....from as far away as California and Texas. She couldn’t believe some of them have been watching the show since day one!
If anyone was ever the opposite of her character, it’s the wonderful Jill Larson (Opal). Her champagne colored slip dress dazzled the press and she found herself posing for everyone over and over. But she had a lot to say as well, “It was so, so thrilling. I grew up in the theatre, so to be on stage sort of feels like home to me. To be on the stage with probably 2000 people who already have their own personal relationship with you and are so ready to love and receive you, there’s just nothing better.” She sang, I’m Gorgeous, from The Apple Tree, a Broadway musical that’s near and dear to her heart. It was the first show she saw on her first trip to New York as a teen-ager. So, it really meant something to her. “To be able to have such a fun experience and raise that much money, nothing better!”
Opal’s, best gal pal, Erica Kane, walked in with the rest of the cast. No muss. No fuss. That’s what makes Susan Lucci so great. She’s part of the ensemble and her graciousness was in high gear, “First of all we were all thrilled to be on Broadway. And, there is so much musical talent in our cast. I mean, really musical talent. People were saying they had no idea there was this talent at AMC. So polished. It was really spectacular! I did the opening with everybody, and then I sang, Winning Isn’t Everything, which was written for me as a signature song by Marvin Hamlisch. I pinch myself, that, that’s happened.” Then she did the Cole Porter song, It’s Alright With Me, surrounded by four of Broadway’s top male dancers, and she followed that with a Quincy Jones/Peggy Lee standard, New York City Blues. “Most people are not aware of it, and it’s a great song.” Soapdom wanted to know about future Broadway plans, “How nice of you to ask. I love Broadway, and there’s nothing like live performance.” She continues to work with her voice teacher and she keeps on singing and looks forward to the next time she hits the boards. La Luuch was not that familiar with Soapdom, but when we introduced ourselves, we said, “Think kingdom, but it’s Soapdom. Lucci flashed that fabulous Erica Kane smile and said, “ Very clever!”
If one Kane woman wasn’t enough, we got to talk to another, Alicia Minshew (Kendall). “Tonight was amazing. I was very nervous because I’m one of the people on the show who don’t really sing. But I had a really fun time and it really was the best audience I could have ever performed in front of. Because these fans were just giving us all the love and all the energy we could have ever asked for. As soon as I got on stage my nervousness went away and I just had fun. It’s a big deal, the show’s 35th Anniversary. So it’s really cool to be a part of this and my first time on a Broadway stage with my family from All My Children.” Like her TV mom, she sang a Cole Porter song only she lounged on a sofa and belted out, The Laziest Gal In Town, a number she knows well. Minshew first sang it on her Florida high school stage. It was easy and lots of fun to do.
Soapdom also wanted to know how Minshew felt the first time she appeared on AMC, “Oh my God, I was so nervous! I’m taking Sarah Michelle Gellar’s place. I’m playing Susan Lucci’s daughter. Oh my God! Very nervous. As soon as I stepped out there, Susan couldn’t have been sweeter. She put me right at ease and my nervousness turned into excitement, and it’s been that way ever since.” The first time she looked at herself in the mirror, as Kendall, was less than a few seconds. The crew was rushing her onstage and she didn’t have much time to think, “Do I look okay, is kind of how I felt.” And, then here goes!” In a flash she was off to talk to more of the press.
Elizabeth Hendrickson (Maggie) was laughing and talking with Jeff Branson just before she came over to talk to Soapdom. They looked much happier than they do on the show. Like everyone else she was overwhelmed by the fans and the night, “My first song was I’m Shy from Once Upon A Mattress. “It was such a wonderful evening, and our cast is so talented and everyone who got up there gave it a 110%” Since there wasn’t a long time to prepare for the concert, Elizabeth chose I’m Shy from Once Upon A Mattress, a song she’s used in dozens of auditions. “I wanted to do something fun and uplifting, and use more of my personality. I knew a lot of my friends were doing ballads. Then she sang for For Good with Eden Riegel (Bianca) from the smash Broadway hit, Wicked. “It was so near to our hearts and it completely parallels our characters. So, it’s perfect.” On leaving All My Children, “It’s bittersweet. It’s time to go, but I’m going to miss everyone so much. They’ve become such a large part of my life. Like family. I know that they’ll always be a part of my life and I’ll always have a home there, which is very special.” Even though she’s sad about leaving Pine Valley, Hendrickson confided to Soapdom, “My dream has always been to be on Broadway. My goal when I started was, if I could establish myself, have some sort of name, than I could star in a show, like Susan Lucci did. So, hopefully one day I’ll have a big enough name. Right now I don’t think I have a big enough voice to get on stage.” We think she’s shy!
Finally. At last. The moment arrived. That handsome heartthrob from Hertfordshire, in south-east England, Aiden Turner (Aidan) showed up. He ambled over to our little corner of the press line and gave us the scoop, “I sang a piece from Chicago, All I Care About Is Love, then he serenaded me with a few bars. Even though he denied he’s a singer, the guy can carry a tune and has lots of personality. And, who wouldn’t want to be serenaded by an adorable guy in a tux with sexy English accent. He’s been studying with a voice coach, intensely. “Getting out there is an experience I’ve never had before. I’ve never done it. I never ever, EVER, thought I would ever do it, have the guts to go out there. And that’s one of the reasons why I did do it. When I was scared of the dark as a kid, and I was scared of the dark, I always wanted the door open. You know the only way to get over things is to face your fear, right? But after a while it’s not scary anymore.” Turner has always wanted to be in films. He never thought about the stage, but performing with his AMC family gave him a whole new perspective. Is he ready to conquer the Great White Way, “If I’m scared, which I am, I would do it again. I’d do it tomorrow. Tuesday night, Wednesday night, Thursday night, Friday night, twice on Saturday, twice on Sunday, bring it on! I’d love to, if someone would invite me to do it, or would even consider me, give me shot.”
The evening began and ended with two of Pine Valley’s handsomest men in tuxes. They each looked so good, either one of them could be the next James Bond. Hollywood, are you listening? But for the moment, like everyone else on All My Children they were basking in the glory of singing and dancing for One Night Only!
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