ATWT’s Star Shines Off Broadway
With summer drawing to a close and the weight of August’s humidity on the horizon, now is the time when we begin to reflect on those past lazy days. That is, of course, unless you are As The World Turns’ Jennifer Ferrin (Jennifer). At the center of one of the serial’s most debated storylines – Craig’s (Hunt Block) infamous baby switcheroo where Jennifer’s healthy infant had been swapped for Gwen’s (Jennifer Landon) deceased one – the twenty something actress managed to hardly skip a beat as she jumped from mourning mother on ATWT to soprano delight in the Sonnet Repertory Theatre’s annual Bard’s Backyard, where the musical The Times had been featured.
The in-progress work, written by Frasier’s Emmy-winning writer Joe Keenan, ran from July 13 thru the 17th at the Blue Heron Arts Center in New York City to sold-out audiences. In the two-hour songfest, the audience observes the ups and downs of a couple trying to make it big in Manhattan and what happens when one half of that artistic couple forfeits his/her inner muse to find success in the “real professional” world. This is Ferrin’s second experience with the repertory group; it was founded by some alumni from Ferrin’s alma mater, North Carolina School of the Arts, but unlike last year, this time Ferrin landed a part in the production as part of the ensemble. And the Emmy-nominee couldn’t have been happier, albeit a little sleep-deprived.
“I’m usually hyped after a show,” she told Soapdom following a performance of The Times, “so I get done (here) around 11 p.m. or so and I can’t go to sleep because the music just runs in my head forever.”
After two weeks of rehearsals, four hours a day, Ferrin, shown here as a character in The Times, came down with not one sniffle or temperature. She credits having had her “priorities” in order to explain how she avoided contracting any kind of rundown syndrome. “You have to take good care of yourself,” she noted. “You just have to be conscious of it and I supplement with vitamins. I cut everything else (activity-wise) out of my life. And I tried to get as much rest as I could. Not that there weren’t three or four days in a row where I only had four hours sleep, but …”
It is a sacrifice the strawberry blonde star was willing to make then and later on, she said, because “(theater) is the backbone of an actor. It keeps you fresh. It keeps your muscles strengthened because there are muscles that you don’t use in a small medium like television.”
“Live theater is live; it’s interaction,” she continued. “It is whatever happens. That’s what’s exciting about it. And when you mess up, what’s great is that you don’t go back and think about it, you keep going.”
The Times proved to be the perfect vehicle for Ferrin on many levels; not only did it give her the opportunity to work with old school buddies, it also, through one song, “New Faces,” paralleled her own seismic bolt at stardom.
So how does she deal with those peers who may not be in the position Ferrin is in at the moment and turn to her to vent?
“It’s easy to take for grant what you have. And I, at times, might be complaining about something that’s going on … or I’m not happy with something … I have to sit back,” mused the ingenue, who, as of yet, has never had to wait tables to make ends meet, before she added to her thought: “Especially if I’m saying it to one of my actor friends who is looking for work. I’m pretty damn lucky.”
Throughout the witty show, Ferrin basked in some fine moments, none more so than when she took on the persona of an unabashed fashion model whose perfection made the ad’s advertisers own looks appear insufficient. The audience sat in hysterics after each line delivered by the “model,” which is ironic considering that Ferrin was once quoted as saying that “emotional stuff seems to be my strong suit.”
“I was always pinned in dramatic roles as opposed to comedic, so I never used to think of myself as having any comedic skills,” she explained to this reporter after receiving the compliment. “I’ve learned through watching other people and being given that kind of material to find that (skill) in myself.”
Although there is little for her ATWT character to laugh about these days, Ferrin is pleased that the show has not jumped over Jennifer’s trauma.
“The loss of the baby will continue to be dealt with,” she confirmed. “Like everything else, you’re going to see it flip her whole world upside down.”
So what would she like to see Jennifer do during this pivotal time in her life?
“I’m kind of a fan of alone … for a little while. Yes, life is about relationships, but it’s also about finding yourself,” Ferrin said. “I think it’s good for people to see when you’re not in a relationship and how you can build your life.”
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