Dear Suds Buds:
Just a few overall impressions of the first Westcoast version of ABC's Super Soap weekend. First off, Disney California Adventure is a fun place to see soap stars! (I gotta admit, riding the California Screamin Roller Coaster was almost as much fun! LOL) Next, as DCA and ABC have split the shows into three weekends, the crowds were more than manageable at this first weekend dedicated only to All My Children. One SSW Orlando veteran was quite pleased at this new way of doing it. Only a fan of AMC, she didn't have to be overcrowded by fans of the other three shows! She was able to see all the offerings each day, and didn't feel pressed for time.
Some behind the scenes items of interest. At the press conference, Vincent Irizarry (David) got off on a wrong foot when the DCA communications executive introduced him as Vincent Irizarial. He kept repeating the mispronunciation in disbelief, clearly taking umbrage at the mistake. It was obvious that this was not the first time something like this has happened. He's probably lived with mispronunciation all his life! One thing's for sure. He was less than happy about it.
Michael E. Knight (Tad) appeared to have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. He was low key, and even his usual jokes came off rather lame. He came to life a bit when asked if he intended to ever perform in a musical play with wife Catherine Hickland (Lindsay, OLTL; Fantine, Les Miserables). He responded that Catherine was about to star in Love Letters with Campbell Scott, a play Knight had passed on doing. As far as his singing is concerned, Catherine is the singer in the family, which is a good thing for as soon as he opens his mouth, the cats leave the room! It did appear that if he could have been anywhere else, however, that's where he wanted to be. Perhaps out mingling with the fans? Maybe he was simply suffering jet lag.
Marj Dussay (Vanessa) laughs a lot! That same, over-the-top, jovial blustering bellow she is known for as Vanessa. Susan Lucci, forever the beautiful and gracious person, was the only AMC star to be given the honor of having the press all to herself. The other actors were interviewed in groups. The print and online press were allowed about 4 questions total. Once the actors got into the park, it was church and state. Disney and ABC made sure that the actors catered to the fans, as this was a fan event. The press was not permitted to interview the actors in the trenches!
Surprisingly missing from the pressroom were such publications as Soap Opera Digest and Soap Opera Weekly. From a very reliable source Turtle-Run learned that SOD and SPW are banned from covering ABC events for the near term as they revealed too much about the Fifth Chair on Port Charles, i.e., that Eve was the one to bite the bullet. Turtle-Run did have the pleasure of finally meeting Northwest Afternoon's Cindi Rinehart, who was there with her camera crew to snag a few interviews for her show.
As each actor had a designated park employee as a wrangler, so too did each member of the press. Our escort on Saturday was a sweet woman named Rita, who worked in the legal department at Disneyland. On Sunday, our escort was a Disneyland travel department employee named Jim.
Most of the actresses are wispy thin. Way wispy thin. Rebecca Budig (Greenlee) is very petite, as is Elizabeth Hendrickson (Maggie), who as Marcy Walker (Liza) commented, is the only person she knew who could fit curled up in one airplane seat. On the flight out to LA, Hendrickson had a bad bout of food poisoning. "I ate some bad chicken in New York," she said. Marcy Walker is the only AMC actress who is of normal size.
Of all the events, I have to say that the Q&A sessions hosted by Linda Dano were the most informative, and the Casting Session was the most fun. Walt Willey is a master at being a Master of Ceremonies. For those of you who are planning on attending a SuperSoap Weekend, whether in Florida or in LA, be sure to pencil both of these events in on your itinerary.
While standing in the line for California Screamin, the loop-de-loop roller coaster that goes upside down, we met two men who were at DCA with their wives and families. This family outing at Disney California Adventure had been planned for weeks. When they arrived, however, their wives were beyond excited, as low and behold -- the soap stars were appearing! Whodda thunk? What luck! Being fans of AMC, this was just a dream come true. They left their kids with their husbands, and took off in search of their favorite stars.
Yeah right. Are these guys the biggest dunces ever? Like their wives didn't know about SSW. Like their wives didn't plan the whole thing. Like their wives got to DCA under the guise of a family outing, when all they really wanted was some alone time with their favorite AMC star. Our theory was proved when one man said how his wife loves AMC so much she even purchased earrings from the ABC Daytime website. Hailing from San Diego, how could she have not known about SSW West, after all the local promotion, and being a frequent visitor to ABC.com? We didn't buy the "coincidence" one bit! Would you? LOL All going to prove that a die-hard soap fan is a die-hard soap fan and we say, go for it! ;o)
Before Turtle-Run's Jessica Radloff tells you more about the weekend, I'd like to share Jessica's own bout with fame last Sunday. Along with being Turtle-Run's assistant editor, Jessica is an actor. Some of her credits include Passions, Young and the Restless, and Felicity. While interviewing one of the fans in line for Cameron Mathison's (Ryan) Casting Session, the fan recognized her from an appearance on Y&R. Jess was quite surprised, but the fan had pegged Jess correctly! Jess was asked to pose with fans for photos, and several wanted to know all about her experience working on Y&R! Guess it wasn't a total AMC weekend afterall!
ABC SuperSoap West -- All My Children Weekend
By Jessica Radloff
Ever feel like no matter how prepared or organized you are, sometimes there's just no way to prepare for the real thing until you actually experience it? Well, soap fans, that's exactly how I felt as I geared myself up for the very first All My Children Super Soap Weekend at Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim. Never have I been so overwhelmed by so many activities all going on at once. At one end of the park was David Canary (Adam) and Marcy Walker (Liza). At the other end was John Callahan (Edmund) and Susan Lucci (Erica). And being whisked right in front of me was Julia Barr (Brooke) and Eden Riegel (Bianca). Talk about the perfect combination: a plethora of talented actors and daytime's most devoted fans. From Pine Valley Live's! Q&A sessions to several Casting Calls to round the clock Autograph sessions, I wasn't sure where to start first. Thank goodness for the exclusive press interviews where your favorite All My Children stars were brought to Turtle-Run so we could get a taste of this overwhelming, yet exhilarating and fun-filled weekend!
Rebecca Budig (Greenlee) kicked off the first press conference amidst a roaring roller coaster in the background. She alluded to the likely possibility that her fling with Jake is over, but added, "I say that and then tomorrow they'll be back together. It's a soap opera, so we'll see." As for her character, Rebecca commented that Greens has gotten a little more mature. However, "I saw her getting a little soft and I think they're trying to get her to be a little more of the old Greenlee."
Experiencing her very first SSW was Amelia Heinle (Mia). "I'm having fun. I'm a little overwhelmed right now, but so far, so good." But hey, what we really want to know is what's up with all the changing hair colors? "It's a mixture and soon it will probably be blonde again. It's a mix of the show's preference and my own." Julia Barr (Brooke) quipped, "(Her hair's) in therapy!"
Speaking of Julia, she spoke about Jamie's upcoming struggles and how it will impact Brooke's relationship with Edmund. "It's definitely going to put a strain on the relationship. It's going to provide an interesting dynamic with the three of them (Tad, Brooke and Edmund) because the two parents want to do what's best for their son, but Edmund is now part of the extended family. I've seen some writing that's coming up and it looks very good. . .a lot of emotionally vested stuff and history."
Rounding out the group was J. Eddie Peck (Jake), clad in a long black coat to keep him warm from the unseasonably cool temperatures. When asked about his character's new job title, J. Eddie (as he prefers to be called) responded, "I hope Jake doesn't change being Chief of Staff. I thought that maybe his behavior should be a little more professional on the hospital floor, but they're (the show) like 'no, no, no. . .you can lose it!' But I'm like, 'I'm Chief of Staff now!'"
Although Jake is moving up in the professional world, his personal life still garners a lot of attention in Pine Valley. Speaking of which, how does J. Eddie's wife respond to his love scenes? "When I was on the Young and the Restless sometime back, my wife was watching one of my very first hot love scenes with me late on tape one night and she looked at me and said, 'do you like your job?' I said 'yeah.' She then added, 'are you enjoying it?' I said, 'I'm having a great time.' Then she said that if 'you want to keep that job, you better get it on better than you're (doing on the TV) right now!' So I have a very mature wife who is very secure. She gave me the go-ahead to play my character as real as I possibly could and that's a real blessing." What a lucky guy!
Shortly after Julia, Amelia, Rebecca and J. Eddie were whisked back to the fans, John Callahan (Edmund), Jill Larson (Opal), Michael Knight (Tad), Alicia Minshew (Kendall), David Canary (Adam), Marcy Walker (Liza) and Elizabeth Hendrickson (Maggie) made their way to meet the press. While taking their seats, Alicia mentioned to Elizabeth that she couldn't believe how chilly it was. For a group of actors making their way from New York City to Los Angeles, it was obvious they were all hoping for warmer weather!
It came as no surprise when the first question presented to John Callahan referred to his lovely wife, Eva LaRue (ex-Maria). For the first time since her departure in 1997, the latest update from John seemed encouraging. "There's always a possibility (regarding a return). She's enjoying motherhood right now and I'm enjoying fatherhood immensely. She's always in our hearts and always in my mind. You never know, this year there may be a chance, that's all I can say." If our wildest dream comes true and Maria returns, it'll be one heck of a triangle for Brooke and Edmund!
David Canary (Adam/Stuart) admitted that regardless of how often he attends fan events, he's always amazed that fans still want to hug him every once and a while. "Their enthusiasm is always refreshing and surprising," he added.
Elizabeth Hendrickson (Maggie) was lucky that she made it to this year's Super Soap. While on the plane from New York, she came down with a bad case of food poisoning. Marcy Walker (Liza) commented that at 5'1, Elizabeth is so tiny that she can actually curl up in a ball on the airplane seat and not even have her feat hanging off the chair! Of course, considering her illness that night, it's a good bet that Elizabeth wished she didn't have to curl up in a ball for Marcy to notice such a thing!
As Michael Knight (Tad) squinted his eyes from the sun, Jill Larson (Opal) spoke about motherhood, and Alicia Minshew (Kendall) talked about trying to make the role of Kendall her own. Unfortunately, with such a large quantity of actors in the room together, it was near impossible to get into much detail with them. Before long, they were escorted back to the autograph tables, and preparations for Susan Lucci's press conference got underway.
Seated next to a teal colored tablecloth with a beautiful arrangement of flowers, Susan confidently entered the room eager to speak with the media. Looking very toned in a fitted orange sundress, Susan was absolutely stunning as she greeted the audience. She is extremely bright and makes sure to acknowledge you by name and get your input on the same questions posed to her.
Turtle-Run was the very first media outlet to speak with Susan and we asked about Erica's greatest love and whether or not she thinks Erica will find everlasting happiness. "Oh, I hope she does, and she wants to. I have to really give her credit because she really doesn't get cynical and she's still hopeful. I really think that she's found someone special in Chris Stamp. I think that's a pretty hot combination. He seems really strong and really capable of being with her. She's looking for that."
As for SSW, La Lucci was quick to point out that the best part is the fans. "There is so much warmth and enthusiasm and knowledge from these fans. They know these storylines inside out and it's a pleasure to be in their company. It also puts a face on our audience. We work in a closed set, so this is a real good opportunity to see our audience."
In the last press conference of the day, Eden Riegel (Bianca), Vincent Irizarry (David), Finola Hughes (Anna), Terri Ivens (Simone), Marj Dusay (Vanessa) and Jack Scalia (Chris) were the lucky ones as the temps. finally seemed to be warming up. Finola was looking stylish as always in an outfit that encompassed all the latest trends, and Vincent poked fun at himself when the announcer had trouble pronouncing his last name.
From the minute Turtle-Run asked Eden Riegel (Bianca) a question, it was obvious that Eden is a very poised and bright young actress. An extremely eloquent speaker, Eden admitted that although Bianca is referred to as "courageous" in ABC's ad campaign, in real-life she is anything but! "I'm a little bit shy actually, but I love my little slogan. I think Bianca is very courageous and I think the show is very courageous for having the storyline." As for what lies ahead for Bianca, Eden replied, "I certainly do hope that a (kiss) will happen. It's a groundbreaking storyline. The show has handled (it) with such integrity and respect. I would be willing to and if it happens in primetime, why shouldn't it happen in daytime?"
In regards to Vanessa's future, Marj Dusay explained that if Vanessa were defeated, she'd never admit it! Following her theory, Marj let out a laugh similar to Vanessa's "I'm the boss in power" laugh. That woman definitely knows how to bring a character to life!
Finally, when asked to comment on what she has in common with Simone, Terri Ivens replied, "nothing!" before somewhat taking back her answer. She said that although Simone has made some bad choices, she's a good girl for the most part. Referencing her own life, Terri said that she's pretty much the same way in that she's made some decisions that aren't great, but she always means well.
Whew! With that, All My Children's Super Soap Weekend of Press Conferences was in the bag! The actors offered some great insight and information, and it was a pleasure to be in their company. Although much tinier in person, they are absolutely gorgeous people with tons of energy and engaging personalities. You get the feeling that Pine Valley is a great place to live!
Pine Valley Live Q&A with Linda Dano
By Jessica Radloff
Featuring Susan Lucci, Jack Scalia, Elizabeth Hendrickson, Eden Riegel, and Alicia Minshew
All My Children's SSW West offered a number of Question & Answer sessions with the stars. Called "Pine Valley Live Q&A" and hosted by Linda Dano, they were casual, fun and informative. Disney California Adventure employees stood in the audience and assisted with selecting a fan with a question to ask.
Here's a sample of one such Pine Valley Live. This one featured All My Children stars Susan Lucci (Erica), Jack Scalia (Chris), Elizabeth Hendrickson (Maggie), Eden Riegel (Bianca), and Alicia Minshew (Kendall). It was just too interesting to narrow down to a few quotes here and there. Therefore, here's the transcript from the entire 45-minute question and answer session!
Most embarrassing moment:
"I flub my lines all the time, but it's always a lot of fun!" said Riegel. Hendricksen replied: "Last week, I fell. I was wearing heels and Frankie used to always wear sneakers, so I wasn't used to them!" Minshew quipped: "On my second day, I was smoking that cigarette and got lightheaded and forgot my lines and said some obscenities. I was highly embarrassed, but I got over it." Scalia chimmed in: "First of all, it's an honor to be working with these lovely ladies, especially Susan." Lucci said, "There are quite a few (embarrassing moments). A few years ago, I was having a love scene, and I had a very slippery nightgown on, and it only had one strap on the shoulder and I was in bed with this one man..." "You don't remember this man's name, do you?" Scalia chided. Lucci laughed (as did everyone) and continued her tale: "I turned around to hug him and the string broke and I made the cameraman swear that it wouldn't turn up in the Christmas reel."
Lucci on how many times Erica has been married:
"Actually, I've had nine marriages, but not nine men. I think six men. A number of them were repeats."
Scalia on whether or not Chris and Erica will tie the knot:
"I really don't know if (Erica and Chris) are going to get married. I am being honest about it. I wish I could tell you. As much as we have the desire and electricity between us . . . (I don't know).
If you could play another character on the show, who would it be?
Minshew: "Greenlee's pretty fun."
Riegel: "I would love to play Opal. She gets to wear the craziest stuff. I can't wait to see her everyday at work, because she always tops the last outfit. The expressions that they come up with for her are priceless."
Scalia: "These women!"
Lucci: "The truth is, I'm so lucky to play Erica Kane."
Lucci on juggling motherhood and a career:
"For me, my children were always first. I made sure to always be there for them. It takes a lot of commitment and I think support of everyone in your family to help you out."
The actors' personal lives:
Riegel and Hendrickson declared: "I'm single." Minshew said: "I have a really cool guy and he's here too! But I'm not going to point to him because I don't want to embarrass him. He's very supportive and now he's like a huge fan of All My Children, but he's not an actor."
"I have two daughters," said proud dad, Scalia. "A 14-year-old, Olivia and a 12-year-old, Jacqueline. Like Susan, my commitment is to my family, my children. I always tell them every morning, clap your hands and say that 'today is going to be a great day!' Now they say to me, 'you know Dad, that thing works!'" Scalia also let on that he too was single!
"First of all, Jack, with that delightful attitude is so wonderful to work with and from what I observe, a spectacular father, and that makes me like him even more," said Lucci. "I guess you do know, (that) I'm married with two children. A daughter, Liza, who was an actress, appearing on Passions for a while, and then decided she wanted to go to her childhood dream which was to ride horses. She was riding competitively for a year, then realized it was acting after all, so she's gone back to acting classes. She recently signed a contract with Ford Modeling in New York and she's well on her way back to pursuing what turns out to be her passion in her life, which is acting. I have a son, Andreas, who is a senior in college and he's 6'3 and picks me up with one hand. They are the most wonderful children in the world. He's an international business major, and he's going to be working in New York in the financial world starting next September. He's a wonderful amateur golfer. I'm very blessed.
Fans then wanted to know about Dano's personal life, to which she replied: "Frank and I have been married over 20 years. I have no children of my own, however I have two stepchildren who are now married. And (I have) three magnificent granddaughters!"
Can viewers look forward to more scenes with Leo and Bianca?
"I believe there will be more interacting with Leo for Bianca in the future," said Riegel. "Leo has always been like a sister to Bianca!" Say what? Everyone laughed as Riegel corrected the faux pas and continued, "Bianca has been like a sister to Leo and now as it turns out Maggie is Leo's cousin so it's kind of like we're one big dysfunctional family. But there will be more action between the three of us."
How does it feels to play Erica Kane's daughters:
"I've been playing Erica's daughter for almost two years now and I love every minute of it," said Riegel. "Working with this wonderful lady (referring to Susan Lucci) is such a joy and I feel so lucky. She's been so kind and warm and generous to me. I think she shares Mr. Scalia's attitude about life because each day she comes in and is like a breath of sunshine. It's been so wonderful and then Bianca is such a great character. I get to yell at her (Erica) and no one else does!"
"Except for me!" called out Minshew. "I have to say, I second that. I've only been on the show for a few months and have only been her daughter for a few months. When I found out that on my first day I was going to get slapped by Erica, I was scared out of my mind. But Susan made it the most memorable and wonderful first day and I mean that in a good way. She's loving and wonderful and talented and she's such a pro. I've learned so much. . I'm gonna cry. . I've learned so much from her."
"Thank you so much to the both of you for the things you say," said Lucci. "I was sitting here waiting for an appropriate moment to be able to say how wonderful it is as an actress to have two such lovely and talented, obviously beautiful, young actresses as my daughters."
Then there was a group hug! Not to be left out, Scaila quipped to the audience, "Cherish this moment because you'll never see the three of them act like this again!" Many laughs around!
What is it that draws the stars on AMC to stay for so long?
"I simply love what I do," replied Lucci. "I feel like such a lucky actress and I feel so fortunate to be able to play Erica. It's a true ensemble and it's a pleasure to come to work. We have such a deep and rich cast of talent and we laugh a lot. We eat a lot and we laugh a lot!"
"I don't believe that!" said Dano with a laugh. "I hate that!"
Each actor talks about how they were discovered:
"I graduated from college with a degree in drama," said Lucci. "I wanted to go to New York very badly. That's where I wanted to go. (All My Children) was a routine audition, actually what they call a ghost scene. All My Children wasn't even really conceived yet. they just had an idea that they might do a show down the road, and 'would I go meet the casting director for ABC?' It was a really hot, humid day in July in New York City. I have naturally curly hair, which you can't tell now, but it was very curly that day and I didn't want anybody to see me, let alone go on an audition, but I went. They said they didn't have the show in place, but they did. They just weren't telling us. And they had something very specific in mind, which at the time, and this is going to sound so strange to you, there were no dark-eyed brunettes with olive complexions on television. At that time, they really had that in mind. Agnes Nixon, who created the show, did. So when we met, she said to me later that I put a face on the character. (But) it was just a routine audition."
"From the beginning? My mother saw my father...." quipped Scalia and then he got serious. "At the time I was with Ford Models (aka the Jordache Jeans guy) and had been modeling for a while. And then on September 27, 1979, I started a new life. I got clean and sober. (It's been) about 22 years now. And at that point, somewhere around the end of '79, as I started to become more focused on things I wanted to do with my life, I know that on December 29th, I said I wanted to start acting. On January 3rd, 1980 I went to a class at Carnegie Hall, room 809 and I started studying with (a coach) and at that moment, I started to become aware of what happened to my life." And then, he had some sage words of advice for us all: "Trust your instinct, believe your dreams, create your destiny. That's it."
When I lived down in Florida," said Minshew, "I was doing some modeling and dancing and doing theater and I met a NY agent down there who said, 'you gotta go to New York. If you're serious about acting, you gotta go to NY.' I said ok, packed my bags, went to NY, got some agents, continued doing some dancing and modeling and theater and auditioning and learning and taking classes like Jack did. And one thing led to the other. And then boom, now I'm on All My Children!"
"I wanted to do ballet at first, and then when I hit about 10, I wanted to be an actress," shared Hendrickson. "I wanted to be on Broadway. That was my dream. My mother really wanted me to stay in school, but in 8th grade, I found an audition for the Mickey Mouse Club and so we went to the city and it was my first professional audition. There were about a thousand of us. I was one of the eight finalists. I got to screen test, but I didn't do too well. But from it I got my agent and..." "It's been uphill ever since!" chimmed in Dano. "Yeah!" said Hendrickson!
"I was very young," recalls Riegel. "I auditioned for Les Miserables. I had done some local dinner theatre. For my first local dinner theatre, they paid me $10 a week and I was so excited. Then out of the blue, my mom read a little blurb in the paper that they were auditioning kids for the touring company of Les Miserables at the Kennedy Center in D.C. So my brother and I got all dressed up and went down there and waited all day, like 10 hours, while they saw hundreds and hundreds of kids. It was a really long shot, but for some reason, they liked the two of us and they cast my brother and me in the touring production. From there I went to Broadway and I've been in New York working ever since."
Of all of Erica's love interests, Chris Stamp not withstanding, who was Erica's favorite and who was Lucci's favorite?
"I said earlier, I'm a very lucky actress and that also means (because of) the people I've worked with," responded Lucci. "They are incredible. I don't play scenes by myself in a closet. I play the scenes and spend my time working with wonderful people. (Answering the question) would be almost impossible and I don't mean to be diplomatic or hedging your question at all, but it would be almost impossible for me to answer. However, truthfully, and this is not exactly the way you put your question, I'd have to say this man. . . (pointing to Jack Scalia)."
For more on SuperSoap West's AMC weekend, check in with the Fabulous Disney Babe at http://www.laughingplace.com/News-ID112340.asp Stay tuned to Top of the Week next week for our One Life to Live SSW West coverage.
Submit Your Nominations for the 4th Annual TRO Cybby Awards
Here are the Fun Categories:
*Most Elitist Snob
*Most Endearing Imp
*Most Devious Doctor
*Best Performance While Hiding A Pregnancy
*Best Performance Playing Pregnant When You're Not
*Tears For Careers: It's My Party And I'll Cry If I Get Paid To
*Oh Brother: Best Sibling Rivalry
*Most Missed Missing Veteran
*Old Dog, New Tricks: Best Veteran On A New Show
*Best Return Of A Character
*Best Performance From A Hospital Bed
*Grandest Grande Dame
*Best Bad Guy
*Maid With The Mostest
*Sense Of Humor
*Character You'd Most Want To Bring Home To Meet The Parents (Male)
*Character You'd Most Want To Bring Home To Meet The Parents (Female)
*Wooden Spoon Award: Character You'd Like To Bop Upside The Head
*Whinning Dinning: Characters who complain more than they eat!
*SuperHero/Heroine: Character you'd most want to rescue you.
*Bronze BedPan: Character who spent the most time in a hospital bed.
*Best Couple that Isn't -- Yet: Characters who should be couples.
*Cast Me: If you got a to play any character, who would you want to be?
*SuperCouple Of All Time
*Best Soap of All Time
DOOL Ultimate Fan Experience
"Days of our Lives" is hosting "The Ultimate Fan Experience" on Saturday, June 1, 2002, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City, California. Fans will meet their favorite cast members, take photos, get autographs, enjoy a buffet breakfast, and win fabulous prizes. A portion of the proceeds raised from the event will benefit the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
"The fans are the driving force behind the success of 'Days of our Lives' and this star-studded event is just one of the many ways we like to show our appreciation," said Greg Meng, senior vice president of Corday Productions. "We recently developed a year-long relationship with T
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