Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Anthony Herrera 1944 - 2011

Sad news about the passing of Anthony Herrera (James Stenbeck, As The World Turns) has been announced today via his Facebook page.

I was honored to have met Anthony at a poetry reading last summer at The Players Club in New York City. As intimidated as any soap fan with meeting the man who so chillingly portrayed the evil "James Stenbeck", I found that in reality Mr. Herrera was a man who loved poetry, could speak in great depth about classic films such as Casablanca and The Searchers and deeply wanted to help people face the battle with cancer (a fight he was all too familiar with). He spoke at great length about his belief in "Triumph of the Human Spirit", a lecture series he took part in where he discussed how love of art can give strength in the face of such traumas as battling disease.

Anthony graciously consented to do a radio interview with me in September where we discussed his battle with cancer, his book regarding his struggles entitled The Cancer War, his project Poetry Theatre and his work as an actor. The OutTakes interview with Anthony Herrera can be found at

Thank you, Mr. Herrera, and rest in peace. You will be missed.


The confirmation on his Facebook page is as follows:

Anthony Herrera, a stage, film, and television actor, may be best known for his thirty years as James Stenbeck on “As the World Turns”, CBS Television. He died in Buenos Aries, Argentina on June 21, 2011.

In January 1997, Herrera was diagnosed with a rare and usually fatal lymphoma. He underwent an autologous stem cell transplant at Sloan-Kettering and a donor transplant at MD Anderson Cancer Center, which made medical history. In remission for 10 years, he wrote “The Cancer War”,

In October of 2005 Anthony testified for Senator Arlen Specter on stem cell research. He gave a lecture on “The Human Spirit” at MD Anderson, Sloan Kettering, and St. Jude’s in Memphis, TN. It can be viewed on

Herrera was born in Wiggins, Mississippi. He graduated from Ole Miss with a B.A. in English literature. He is a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity.

In New York, he studied his craft with the acclaimed Stella Adler. He starred in the NBC Movie of the Week “Mandrake the Magician”, and had featured roles in “Helter Skelter”, “The Blue Knight “The Rockford Files”, and “Manciuso, FBI”, with contract roles on “The Young and Restless” and “Loving”.

He produced and directed the award winning “Mississippi Delta Blues” and directed a film of Eudora Welty’s “The Wide Net”. He co-authored and toured the play “Smoke & Mirrors” published by Samuel French.

Anthony was President of Poetry Theatre, Inc ( where actors such as Hume Cronyn, Charles Durning, Tyne Daly, and Willie Nelson recite poems.

Poetry Theatre was Anthony’s Herrera’s great love, and it will continue in tribute to Anthony’s memory and legacy. There will also be a commemorative page to Anthony, on the Poetry Theatre website. All donations will be listed and any comments about how Anthony affected their lives will also be posted.

For those who wish to donate to Poetry Theatre kindly make checks payable to Poetry Theatre, Inc. and send them to:

Poetry Theatre
210 West 70th Street #808
New York, NY 10023

Thank you all so much for your kind thoughts and memories at this difficult time.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Happy Anniversary, OutTakes Interviews!

Exactly one year ago today, the first OutTakes interview took place with James Reynolds (Abe, Days of Our Lives) discussing his upcoming productions at Cape May Stage, New Jersey. The first show had its share of technical craziness. The chat room would not open. I had trouble connecting James to the line and had to ask him to call me back. Near the end of my interview, my wireless telephone started beeping at me with a low battery. Truly a game of dodging many obstacles. Nonetheless, the interview was a fun one...and paved the road for a year of talking to fascinating guests and exciting experiences. I would not trade these times for the world. Thank you, Mr. Reynolds, for giving me a chance. Listen to this interview with James Reynolds recorded exactly a year from today here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Join the Sudz.TV Coupon Campaign

For all soap fans upset about the cancellation of their favorite soap or worried about the future of their favorite soap, here is a way to make your voice be heard. The soap coupon campaign is a grass roots effort to make the media and entertainment industry aware of the demand for the soap opera genre: a demand that is not accurately reflected through the antiquated Nielsen ratings. Coupons are being printed in the July 4, 2011 edition of The Globe this week. Soaps In Depth also tweeted that the Cable/Satellite coupon will be in the ABC issue on sale July 11 and the CBS issue on sale July 18. Return the love to these magazines by buying an issue to send in soap coupons. Alternatively, you can go to the website for more information about the campaign and the soaps coupons.

NOTE: If you are concerned about revealing your street address, there has been an announcement on one of the campaign radio shows that the actual street address may be left out as long as the city, state, zip and cable provider is included. Only one coupon to be submitted per person per household.


Here is a statement from Blogtalkradio's Silas Kain about what the soaps coupon campaign is all about:

Any soap website, Facebook group or soap related group on any venue is welcome to download the coupons for distribution to your users. This is a COORDINATED effort bringing soap VIEWERS together in a common purpose. In many ways, this is a test for us. The networks and the soap press are counting on the typical "fan wars" and "agendas" to cause yet another "fan based" campaign to implode. There has been a lot of misinformation being spread around soap groups. So let's get a couple of things straight before this campaign takes off.

This Cable Coupon Campaign was developed by the Leadership Council at SudzTV. There is no one specific leader over the other. In addition to myself there is @TxKimmie @Crispy829 @SpinsVixenella and @Phantom0065. We all have different backgrounds and opinions. Our common bond is a passion for this genre, period. We've forged an alliance which brings out the best in soap enthusiasts and have found ways to develop alliances which bring soap viewers from soaps on all 3 networks together. If we five strong minded people were able to come together and leave our egos at the door -- ANYONE CAN! We've invited leaders and followers of other groups to join our effort in a variety of ways and that door remains wide open. Remember, we as a viewer base have a stereotype to overcome. If we can't at least do that then we are all wasting our time in trying to prop up the soap genre.

To do something to turn the tide in the decline of soaps we have to begin by proving there remains a demand for quality scripted serial programming. It's a tall order and we believe we can do it! When that demand is created advertisers, production companies and networks take notice - it is that simple. And if you think having 10,000 - 50,000 followers on Facebook makes you a "leader" in the movement, then you don't know the facts. The truth is 5% of your total "likes" take an active role in your group. The next 25% are known as "lukewarms" and the remaining 70% of your followers are regarded as "stale". These aren't my figures. These are figures provided to us by bona fide social media marketers who have the data to back up their claims. So, look inside your own group. Just how many of YOUR followers take active participation? How many of them are "lukewarm" and how many are there in name only? Connect your own dots and you will see it for yourself -- don't count on me or your group leaders to convince you otherwise. To depend on social media as the exclusive method of bringing the soap viewer base together is foolish and impractical. We don't have time to waste trying to make social media an effective marketing tool because the bottom line is 30% of soap viewers are probably checking out soap sites -- no more.

We can't point fingers at the soap press because as mad as I get at them, I'm a realist. They are stuck behind the 8 ball. They feel helpless. They have to deal with declining circulation numbers and a ridiculous constraint on what they can say in print because of network pressures. They won't admit it, but I think common sense dictates that I'm on the money. If we demonstrate that demand I talk about, inevitably the soap press will feel they have the backup to step up to the plate and put something in print. One hand washes the other. Once the soap press realizes we WILL have their backs, they will finally have ours. And when they reach out to us, it is up to us as consumers to return the favor.

We have a battle plan in place which will unfold over the next three months. We're not going to roll everything out because when you have a strategy you do not broadcast it all over the Internet. That's just stupid. And for all the soap groups who are joining in the cause, your leaders will be in the loop for making this effort work on the right timetable. That means no one - NO ONE - jumps the shark and starts making announcements all over the boards without clearing it first because this is a coordinated effort, PERIOD. Any deviation from this strategy will only demonstrate that folks were not in this for the right reason. For too long most soap viewers have left it to organizers and sat back while group leaders spun their wheels. Your leaders need your support. This is your final opportunity to make a difference in turning things around for the soap genre. We have an opportunity as a community to do right by the soap actors and those who have worked back stage all these years. And by proving just how solid we are we will give these actors the boost they need to come out of this downward spiral which is lending itself to insecurity and low self esteem within the daytime acting community. You see, it doesn't matter they are the actors and we are the audience. These most professional in their profession have been guests in our homes for years. We've welcomed them in with open arms and have been entertained 5 days a week. Sure, there are days we wanted to throw our mugs at the screen. There are other days when we just throw up our hands in disgust over a story line that just made no sense. All of that doesn't matter at this point because unless we get it together now we will have nothing to bitch about a year from now.

I'm sorry I'm so wordy and redundant -- but I was taught a long time ago in business marketing that consumers usually don't get the "message" until you get them to see or hear it at least 7 times. So be patient. Give a little bit of yourselves. And let's end this year accomplishing that which the networks, soap press and soap industry believes is too late to achieve. Like the movie says, "if you build it they will come". Well we're building a strategic foundation from which to launch. Are you ready to come to the party?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

FAR FROM THE BAY airing June 23rd

Creator of THE BAY, Gregori J. Martin, and LANYfilms Productions announce the premiere of FAR FROM THE BAY, a spin-off and prequel of Season Two, to begin streaming on the web this Thursday, June 23rd at 3:15 PM ET / 12:15 PM PT. Viewers will follow Peter (Kristos Andrews, X GAMES CHAMPION and Guinness World Record Holder), the youngest son of Sara Garrett (Mary Beth Evans, DAYS, ATWT, GH), on his quest to find the woman he believes to be his mother. Shot on location in New York City, Peter retraces the steps of his cruel childhood in an attempt to find Claire Andrews (Marie Wilson, ATWT, PC), his adoptive mother who raised him until the age of seven. With no memory of his recent past, Peter encounters members of his adoptive family, as well as those of his biological family, who are stunned by his misguided determination and jaded memories. Along the way, chance encounters with eccentric strangers offer him insight in dealing with his troubled past and arcane present. ‘FAR FROM THE BAY’ is an eight part web series featuring the talents of Ilene Kristen and Tonya Walker (OLTL), Agim Kaba (ATWT), Miriam Colon (SCARFACE, GL), Emmy winner Anna Holbrook (ANOTHER WORLD), and more. With the first ever web soap crossovers from Michael O’Leary of ‘STEAMBOAT’ and Afton Boggiano of ‘EMPIRE‘, musical performer and reggae artist, IFA (Godson of Bob Marley), will also be featured. The upcoming prequel, FAR FROM THE BAY, as well as Season One of the THE BAY The Series, can be seen online at Blip.TV and our official website at

Cast members of THE BAY were featured in the DAYTIME GIVES BACK segment aired during the 38th DAYTIME EMMY AWARDS. The four minute segment can be seen here:

Worst Dressed at the Daytime Emmys

In no particular order, my picks for the worst dressed at the Daytime Emmys.

1. Crystal Chappell (Carly, DAYS OF OUR LIVES, pictured left). The look is not for her; and the dress is too bright and unflattering. Have seen her look much better than this in the past.

2. Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis, GENERAL HOSPITAL). When she was walking around, I bet people were feeling a bit car sick if they stared at her too close!

3. Brittany Underwood (ex-Langston, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, pictured left). Bad night at the prom. Even the matching shoes can't save it.

4. Kimberly McCullough (Robin, GENERAL HOSPITAL). Bad fit. She looks like a little girl playing "dress up". Next!

5. Lauren Koslow (Kate, DAYS OF OUR LIVES). Lauren, I love you...but the hairstyle is a bit "Bride of Frankenstein".

6. Tamara Braun (Taylor, DAYS OF OUR LIVES). The dress is okay...but the hair makes her look like a fashion-challenged twelve-year-old.

7. Jeanne Cooper (Kay, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS). I have no trouble with bright colored pantsuits. But it's the vertical stripe down the pants which makes me wonder if Jeanne was going to the Daytime Emmys or the shopping mall.

8. Sarah Glendening (Marissa, ALL MY CHILDREN). Well, jeez...just look at the dress. What more can I say?

Best Dressed at the Daytime Emmys

Usually, my opinions are the direct opposite from the Fashion Police at all the awards shows. I don't give a flying doughnut about trends or "who you're wearing". I prefer looks that are exciting and flattering on the actresses. So, in no particular order, my picks for Best Dressed at the Daytime Emmys.

1. Judi Evans (Adrienne, DAYS OF OUR LIVES). I love this shade of green; and she wears it so well.

2. Alicia Minshew (Kendall, ALL MY CHILDREN). Hard for me to not be contemptuous of a woman who can look thin in this shade of sky blue.

3. Kristen Alderson (Starr, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, pictured right). Golden Girl at the Prom.

4. Christel Khalil (Lily, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS). Funky and different. Khalil effortlessly pulls off this look.

5. Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL). Crazy bright orange and flamboyant. Should be a disaster...but totally works. What you would expect on the Forrester catwalk on her soap. Brava!

6. Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS). Despite all of the insanity about her current status on the soap, Scott shows everyone on the red carpet that she's no one to mess with.

7. Julie Pinson (ex-Janet, AS THE WORLD TURNS). I love ladies who take chances and don't play it safe with the simple boring tiny black dress.

8. Hayley Pullos (Molly, GENERAL HOSPITAL). Age-appropriate with a fun flapper style in purple. Good choice.

9. Lindsay Hartley (Cara, ALL MY CHILDREN). To be honest, I don't know what it is that appeals to me about her look. It just all works...and works well.

10. Julie Marie Berman (Lulu, GENERAL HOSPITAL). Julie could give Crystal Chappell a few pointers about how to pull off a silver sparkly dress.

11. Kassie dePaiva (Blair, ONE LIFE TO LIVE). Red, hot and smokin'. Damn, I will miss this actress when the soap goes off the air.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Editorial - The Las Vegas Infomercial Sequel

The Las Vegas Informercial Sequel (otherwise known as the 38th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards)

The awards show on June 19th is truly proof that things can always get worse. Last year, I ranted that the show was a Las Vegas infomercial, that no attention was being paid to the soap operas or their actors, that the musical numbers were tacky, etc. Even though CBS lowered themselves to air the Daytime Emmys this year, I wish they hadn’t bothered. I still contend that some producer with love for the genre of soap opera needs to televise the show for the internet and give the show back its dignity. The main question really is…What the Hell Does Las Vegas have to do with Daytime Television? So this is where they did the show. So what? If viewers of the Daytime Emmys must endure travelogues every year now, at least change it up a bit. Go to Chicago or St. Louis or Atlantic City next time.

And to add insult to injury: Two legendary soap operas, All My Children and One Life to Live, have been canceled. What was their tribute in this show? A mention in a lame joke by the lame host Wayne Brady who hosts a lame show himself! I won’t bore you with talking about how disrespectful this was. We all know. But I do wonder…what are the Daytime Emmys going to do once All My Children is gone…and they won’t have Susan Lucci to kick around with more lame jokes?

I will not (unlike the judges of the panel of the Daytime Emmys) pretend to have superior knowledge about shows I am ignorant about. I will not comment about Dr. Oz or Jeopardy or Ellen DeGeneris…because I do not watch those shows nor do I ever plan to. I could go on about the cheesy Las Vegas numbers, but I think I‘d be preaching to the choir. I could really go on about the Oprah Winfrey tribute (let us all kneel at the feet of the Goddess!!!) -- okay, I will just a little. This is a television journalist who got her start interviewing soap opera stars and doing tribute shows to them, et cetera, but when fans called upon her for support, she made a YouTube video royally declaring that the medium was dead. A simple “no, thank you, I’m not interested” would have been all that was necessary. She is such a class act that she did not even bother to show up for her own achievement award. Guess she couldn’t make a quick dime out of it so didn’t want to waste her time.

Here is my take on the awards for daytime drama. Or in case you blinked and missed the announcements, here is who won.

Supporting Actor - Jonathan Jackson (Lucky, GH). This one I agreed with. Jackson is an outstanding actor who brings it to the table every time. The only choice of mine who actually won.

Supporting Actress - Heather Tom (Katie, B&B). She must have picked one heck of an episode because I honestly can hardly remember her work on B&B at all this year. I disagreed that she should win this year…BUT at least she is a good actress worthy of a win.

Best Directing Team - tie with B&B/Y&R. I understand Y&R. B&B not so much.

Younger Actress - Britanny Allen (ex-Marissa, AMC) . I was not the only one tweeting “Are you freakin’ kidding me?” when she won. She was let go and replaced from AMC because her acting was so weak. How much more proof do you need that judging these awards by way of submitting one episode is a joke?

Younger Actor - Scott Clifton (Liam, B&B). I would have given it to Chad Duell from GH; but I can understand Clifton’s win.

Outstanding Actor - Michael Park (Jack, ATWT). Maybe it’s petty of me…but he won last year! There may not be that many more years that there will even be a Daytime Emmy Awards show at the rate we are going. Let’s share the wealth a little bit and give James Scott (EJ, DAYS) an Emmy.

Outstanding Actress - Laura Wright (Carly, GH). Laura Wright is a fine actress. I did want to see Colleen Zenk win it, but can completely respect the decision to give it to Laura Wright.

Outstanding Drama - Bold and the Beautiful - Again. This show does its token nomination episode once a year; and then all regresses to who’s sleeping with who, who got drugged by berries on the tropical island, what skimpy outfit is Brandon Beemer wearing today, et cet. Voting by a submitted episode rather than looking at the overall year is…a….joke.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Theater Review and Talk Back Recap - My Fair Lady at NSMT

-- pictured above, Charles Shaughnessy (Henry Higgins, My Fair Lady) at the North Shore Musical Theater "talk back"


My Fair Lady, Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe
North Shore Music Theatre, Beverly, Massachusetts
Directed by Charles Repole
Choreography by Michael Lichtefeld

How does a theatre company, today, breathe fresh and original life into an ultra-familiar story that has been a Broadway legend since 1956? North Shore Musical Theatre has helped us to answer that question with its recent production of My Fair Lady, Lerner & Loewe’s famous musical adaptation of Shaw’s Pygmalion. For those who are new to this classic, the story tells of a linguistics professor becomes obsessed with transforming a flower girl of the streets into a lady. The score is chockfull of memorable songs legendary to musical theater: Wouldn’t It Be Loverly, On The Street Where You Live, I Could Have Danced All Night and I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face...just to name a few. North Shore’s Production (which ran from June 7th to June 19th) starred television legend Charles Shaughnessy and rising star Lisa O’Hare.

Since NSMT is in the round, the traditional set design and choreography were dramatically altered mostly for the good. Scenic designer Howard C. Jones’ set evoked turn of the century London with a cut-out skyline silhouette surrounding the upper areas of the theatre along with transparent city street columns of wire. Along with tastefully minimalist furniture and props, it all puts us squarely into the intended atmosphere. However, an elevated platform on the stage was often used mid-scene, sometimes distractingly so; and the constantly visible microphones taped to the actors’ faces jarringly broke the illusion of the period.

Anyone who knows Charles Shaughnessy from The Nanny or Days of Our Lives recognizes him as the personification of British unflappability. Not surprisingly, he made the role of Professor Higgins entirely his own, relishing the fun of the challenge. In fighting the uphill battle of converting the ragtag street urchin, Eliza Doolittle, into a royal vision with perfect speech, he defiantly casts social conventions aside. At the same time, Shaughnessy perfectly embodies the obnoxious pride of a man unwilling to admit to himself that he is falling in love as he desperately tries to maintain the rapidly unraveling tranquility of his bachelorhood.

Lisa O’Hare was the perfect Eliza, from a spot-on comic delivery to a lovely singing voice. Never dominated by Higgins, she matches him both in witty repartee and restrained romantic pathos. Shaughnessy and O’Hare had sparkling chemistry onstage throughout. Miss O’Hare has been nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for her work on this role in Cameron Mackintosh’s national tour.

Under Charles Repole‘s direction, Eliza remains Higgins‘ match from beginning to end. SPOILER ALERT: In the famous final scene, when commanded by Higgins to fetch his slippers, rather than dutifully doing so, this Eliza saucily grins and hands Henry a chocolate instead, making it clear that he is not her lord and master even though she has returned to him. This lady is fair in more ways than one.

The production was bolstered by an excellent supporting cast: Peter Cormican (Colonel Pickering), Bill Dietrich (Alfred P. Doolittle), Hayden Tee (Freddy Eynsford-Hill), Sarah deLima (Mrs. Higgins) and Cheryl McMahon (Mrs. Pearce). Bouquets all around!


After the June 18th matinee performance, there was a Q&A event with Charles Shaughnessy, Lisa O'Hare and Artistic Director Arianna Knapp among others.

Bringing MFL to Massachusetts: Arianna Knapp revealed that a few of the numbers, especially the "Ascot Gavotte" dance from the first act, were problematic. With only three weeks time, the company had initially rehearsed in a New York City studio; then later, they had to move the choreography from a typical dance room space to the round Massachusetts theater with the multiple entrances and exits.

Performing on the round stage: "We had to rehearse using the visual of a clock," Charles said. "It was the first time I'd ever worked on a round stage." Lisa O'Hare added that it was a freeing experience because there was no worry about upstaging other actors, similiar to working on a set with several cameras shooting from multiple angles.

Charles' take on performing Henry Higgins: Learning the book and the score was challenging. Charles had said that his experience having performed the role previously in Pittsburgh had helped a great deal. He adored working on the show as well as with the ensemble cast.

Why the traditional opening of Act II (ballroom scene) was cut: "Two reasons," Arianna answered. First, the consensus was that Henry Higgins' retelling about what occurred at the ball was actually stronger without the scene. Secondly, the running time for the show would have been three and a half hours with the original ball scene still remaining in the show.

Working with the elevated platform of the stage: Were the actors nervous about accidents? "Not after rehearsal," Charles answered. "But we were concerned that the audience might be nervous for us!"


Related OutTakes Blogtalkradio interviews of interest:

Charles Shaughnessy (Bus Stop 31 Productions and The Bay -- January 11, 2011)

Lissa Coffey (Host of CoffeyBuzz, produced by Bus Stop 31 Productions -- June 14, 2011)

Patsy Pease (Kimberly Brady, Days of Our Lives -- June 29, 2010)

Renee Taylor (Sylvia Fine, The Nanny -- April 29, 2011)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


LISSA COFFEY will be joining OutTakes to discuss CoffeyBuzz, the new internet webseries which revolutionizes online shopping. Coffey is a bestselling author and a frequent contributor to several talk shows (The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox News Network). Emmy Award winning actor Charles Shaughnessy (Days of Our Lives, The Nanny) and his brother, Emmy Award winning producer David Shaughnessy (The Young and the Restless) produce the show along with Lissa. She has written several books, TV segments and articles -- ranging from topics such as parental advice, finding closure, spiritual practice and exercise. Find episodes of CoffeyBuzz at or at the bottom of this blog page!

Join OUTTAKES on TUESDAY, JUNE 14TH at 1:00 PM EST. The call-in number for the show is (347) 989-0605. Be sure to press "1" when prompted by the recording to be brought onto the switchboard with a question. Calls will be taken approximately 15 minutes into the show. If you register with a Blogtalkradio account, you can also participate in the chat room. The radio show can be found at the following link.

To keep up with all the news with upcoming OUTTAKES interviews, you can follow this blog, become friends with "OutTakes Interviews" on Facebook or follow "LauriesOutTakes" on Twitter!