Most recently known to soap fans as Dr. Cameron Lewis on General Hospital (2002-2004), actor Lane Davies has agreed to play the role of Frederick Charleston in the pilot of "Dixie Melodie." Produced by Sheer Audacity production company, "Dixie Melodie" is a half-hour comedy television project for cable. Written by B.J. Grogan and Steve Meigs, the TV show will be entirely shot and produced in New Orleans, LA, using local actors and crew. Davies joins the cast including Deanna Meske, Cary Thompson and Stephanie Renee.
The original 'Mason Capwell' on NBC's 80s soap Santa Barbara (an international hit which has now played in over 53 countries worldwide), Davies is also known for his roles in four prime-time series, Good & Evil, The Mommies, Woops! and The Crew. He appeared regularly as the psychopathic time-traveler 'Tempus' on Lois & Clark - The New Adventures of Superman, and recurred on 3rd Rock from the Sun as 'Chancellor Duncan,' on The Practice as 'Kyle Barrett,' and most recently on Scrubs as 'Dr. Simon Reid.' Television credits also include seven pilots and some 50 guest-star appearances, including such shows as Seinfeld, Working, The Nanny, Ellen, Jesse, Coach, Major Dad, Clueless, Married With Children, and Just Shoot Me. He also appreared on Days of our Lives in 1981-1982 as Evan Whyland, and took over the role of Ridge Forrester on The Bold and the Beautiful temporarily in 1993.
Davies has worked as a consultant, writer and producer for Walt Disney Attractions on projects for Tokyo Disney Sea and EuroDisney. As Artistic Director for the Santa Susana Repertory Company, a professional resident theater company in Ventura County, Lane has produced and/or directed over 40 productions and guided the company from its inception. He also founded the Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival in Thousand Oaks, now in its 11th season.
Soapdom got up close and personal with Davis about his participation in "Dixie Melodie."
SOAPDOM: What drew you to this show as opposed to any other?
Lane Davies: I'm old friends with the writer/producers, and I've never been to New Orleans. Cairo and Kathmandu, but not New Orleans...
SOAPDOM: Are you looking forward to working in New Orleans?
LD: Absolutely. You can't really call yourself a Southernor until you've spent time in the Big Easy...
SOAPDOM: Will you commute from California, or relocate to Louisiana?
LD: I'm living in Georgia, now, so if the show goes, the weekend commute won't be difficult at all.
SOAPDOM: Tell us a little about your character.
LD: Frederick Ulysses Uriah Charleston -- is a flawed but vibrant human being, an alcoholic poet who is a great lover of life. As vulnerable to the charms of the opposite sex as those of Blanton's Bourbon....
SOAPDOM: What’s your fondest memory from working on Santa Barbara?
LD: There are too many single memories to choose just one. But I have fond, fond memories of the camaraderie of the cast, and the sense of humor that the show had. We had great respect for the work and each other, but tried to never take ourselves too seriously. We knew we were shooting a soap, not Schindler's List.
SOAPDOM: We hear that one humorous moment stands out.
LD: I can remember giggling at Jed Allan (most recently ex Edward Quartermain, GH) sitting in a coffin arguing with a director's voice over the P.A. Sometimes it got a little surreal after ten hours and as many cups of coffee...
SOAPDOM: Have you stayed in touch with any fellow Santa Barbara castmates? A Martinez? Marcy Walker? Louise Sorel?, If so, who and how often do see each other, etc.
LD: Nobody regularly, especially since I moved to Georgia. But I've been in touch with Nancy Grahn, Jed Allen, Judith McConnell. A's daughter Devon did two plays for me. Terry Lester and I got to be friends after he left the show, and he did several shows with my company.
SOAPDOM: Given your interest in live theatre, what’s the difference working on stage, on a soap, in a “peoplecom?” What is your preference and why?
LD: Theatre is my first love, due in large part to the immediacy, not to mention the material. But I loved doing television, sit-coms and soaps in particular. I had a lot of fun on one-hours like Lois and Clark, but the pace of one-camera shows can be ennervating.
SOAPDOM: Anything else you'd like to share with Soapdom's readers?
LD: While I haven't turned my back on Los Angeles altogether, I'm spending more and more time in the Southeast, as well as pursuing international projects. I live on a lake in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, so it's hard to get me to leave. I've been asked to help found the Tennessee Shakespeare Festival in the summer of '08, and we're in talks regarding a production of Macbeth which would tour to Russia, India, and Kazakhstan. I think I'm trying to create what Ethel Barrymore called "a great third act," and I'm fortunate to be able to spend my time working on projects that I find either exciting or valuable or both.
Soapdom wishes Davies all the best with "Dixie Melodie" and his other futhure endeavors.
More About "Dixie Melodie"
"Dixie Melodie" takes us on a ride through the daily trials and tribulations of Melodie, a young woman from New Jersey, who moves to New Orleans in hopes to jump start her life. The main action enfolds in a boarding house into which Melodie finds residence and at the offices of a local magazine where she is employed as a feature writer. She is surrounded by a variety of colorful characters, likewise, all in a state of renewing themselves - all searching for the beauty in the mud, so to speak.
More than a sitcom, "Dixie Melodie" is a "peoplecom;" it is a character driven show rather than situational. This is the reason why New Orleans was a natural choice for the backdrop of the show as it is an integral part of the story and becomes as much of a live and evolving character as all our other protagonists. They all embrace the symbol of life, hope and renewal. After all, New Orleans has always been about the celebration of life; it is in the music, the food, and most importantly, in the people. That's also what Mardi Gras is all about - as we know, Carnival derives its roots from the Latin words carne vale, meaning "farewell to the flesh." - it celebrates the death of winter and the rebirth of nature, or Spring, ultimately recommitting the individual, to the spiritual and social codes of the culture.
"Dixie Melodie" is not only capturing the city's never-say-die pre and post Katrina spirit but also embracing the current "Cinderella story of Louisiana's film and TV industry" zeitgeist. Indeed, after a dip immediately following Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana film industry appears to be on a rebound. A number of high-profile projects have been helping Hollywood South bounce back from the storm including the Laurence Fishburne film "Black Water Transit," which just wrapped in New Orleans; Denzel Washington's second post-Katrina Louisiana film, "The Great Debaters," shot in Shreveport; "Dejà Vu" in late 2005, which handed off to the pilot for the FX cable series "The Riches," followed by the Brad Pitt feature "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."and the Fox-TV series "K-Ville," being shot in New Orleans.
"It is our goal to use as many of the local resources as we can. We want to do more than just use New Orleans as a setting or backdrop, but make it another part of the cast. This is why we want to shoot the entire show there.", says Grogan, "we want to show New Orleans in a new, exciting and positive light, through the eyes of our lead character, Melodie."
"Dixie Melodie" plans to go a step further by giving back to the community. In an effort to help support local artists in the performing arts, to develop writers, actors and producers in the area, Sheer Audacity Productions plans on donating an initial 5% of the proceeds from "Dixie Melodie" to the Art Council of New Orleans.
Founded by writer, actor and producer, B.J. Grogan, Sheer Audacity Productions was officially formed in 1996 to showcase a half-hour comedy show which ran on public access television in Los Angeles for a solid five year period.
"Dixie Melodie" is set to shoot early 2008 (January 20 through the 26) in New Orleans.
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