Brandon Barash, who, among other things, sang "Sara Lee," a hilarious ode to baked goods, and was Bobbie Eakes' shirtless afternoon delight in "Arthur in the Afternoon," both from "The Act," told me that when he was asked to participate he responded, "How can I not?"
After a month of working all day on the set and then rehearsing a few hours every night for "The World Goes Round," Barash, who hadn't done a musical in 13 years, admitted it was exhausting. "It's been a scramble, but it's all come together in the last week or two and we're excited with our product."
As for his alter ego, Johnny Zacchara, he had no idea what was to come for the mobster, but he's ready for anything. When asked what he'd like to see for Johnny, Brandon replied, "Something, 'cause he's been kind of stagnant lately. Something other than him griping about this sister because I think that ship has sailed."
As for Natalie Hall, who belted out several songs including "All That Jazz" from "Chicago," shared, "We've been working so hard and it's going to be amazing to get it in front of an audience. We're all as a cast and crew extremely excited." The theatre vet joined the production because, "It's a cause I strongly believe in and I love performing."
When it comes to Colby Chandler she previewed, "I think she is just having a lot of issues with her family, as usual, with her brother and also, she's got like a little love triangle going on. So it's exciting, for me and Colby."
I talked with Bradford Anderson next, who lent his powerful vocals to "Kiss of the Spider Woman" from the musical of the same name and "Mr. Cellophane" from "Chicago." He shared his enthusiasm for the project saying, "The great thing with this job is it allows a lot of us to have opportunities to do a bunch of different stuff - singing, performing - but I haven't had the time basically to do a fully staged musical. To be able to do that and to help out the center, to help out a place that does a lot of good for a lot of people, it's a bonus for sure."
When talk came around to General Hospital, Anderson teased that his upcoming storyline was all about, "Brenda, Brenda, Brenda." He continued, "A lot of times when we have a big event happening and everyone gets involved, it almost feels kind of like Franco. The storylines revolve around that person in a sense, and hey, if it gets everybody involved, all the better."
But what about Maxie? Anderson mused, "I think they will continue to be in each other's orbit for quite some time."
Bobbie Eakes, whose amusing duet with Jamie Luner (who opted not to talk with the press to save her voice) of "The Grass Is Always Greener" from "Woman of the Year" was a definite highlight, enthused, "We've been working really hard and tonight's the night. A lot of our friends and family are here. We're just going to have fun and hope that everybody enjoys it in the spirit of aiding this wonderful, wonderful center."
As for how she became involved in the benefit, she explained, "Michael Cohen [publicist for ABC] put everything together, put us in touch with the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Alliance and got them to produce the show. I said absolutely. Now, in light of everything going on in the news, Tyler Clementi's tragic suicide, I think it highlights the importance of centers like this, the programs they have for teens and young adults, counseling and group sessions and things like that. And support. It makes me even more proud to be part of this tonight."
Eakes works with her female "World Goes Round" co-stars over on All My Children, but how did she enjoy working with her male co-stars from sister soap General Hospital? She responded, "I've done a lot appearances of with them, but I really didn't get to know them quite as much as I have in this kind of situation. It really brings out the closeness and we've bonded. We had a big ole day at my house where we did nothing but sing and eat and sing some more and drink and sing. That was a lot of fun. That was kind of early on and now I feel like we’re a big happy family."
I wondered if she felt a responsibility to support events such as these for the gay community considering she now plays Bianca Montgomery, the first and only real lesbian character in Pine Valley and on Daytime. She responded, "It's a responsibility but it's also a pleasure. I'm new here and it's exciting for me to grab hold of something in the community that I can stand for and what better place? And especially this center, the work that they're doing to support and help raise awareness for this cause. I'm glad to do it."
The evening also brought out fellow Daytime actors and supporters of the cast. Chrishell Stause (Amanda, All My Children) came out because, "I just know how hard they've been working and on top of the fact that they have a really grueling job. They've really been working so hard. I cannot wait to see the show and of course it's such a great cause, such a great center. Especially now, there's no better time than for us to shed some light on a gay and lesbian center where you can come, there's outreach and community support. It's really great."
Stause was supposed to be in show but Jamie Luner took over when she couldn’t continue. "I actually was in the show at one point," she explained. "I had to drop out for scheduling conflict reasons. It's really grueling. Every year in New York we did something called Broadway Cares and we picked one or two numbers and performed them. This is on another level. This is a whole musical show, so I have all the respect for them in the world. When it's something like that, on top of our job, I could do something that's like little, short and sweet, but this took dedication for them. I'm so proud of them."
While I had her, Stause shed some light on her and Ricky Paull Goldin's (Jake) upcoming storyline, which will involve Lindsay Hartley (Arianna, Days of Our Lives), who will play Jake's ex-wife.
How does she feel about the possible threat to Jake and Amanda's marriage? "I'm really excited to do that because they've been happy for a little while. I also love the fact that the stakes are really high with it. With the relationships I played before, there weren't a lot of stakes because either we weren't that invested or we weren't together that long or we just had sex immediately kind of thing. This is something where we have a child. We've been married for two years. I mean the stakes are high, which I think will give it so much to play. As an actress I'm really excited."
While stretching as an actor is appealing, Chrishell shared she would be upset if Jake and Amanda broke up. "I would be because I feel like I've been spoiled for so long because Ricky is my best friend and I honestly really don't want to work with anyone else," she admitted. "I love everyone else I work with but Ricky and I have such a special chemistry. So I would really be heartbroken if we ever did really break up. I like flirting with the idea of it to give us something to play, but if you're really asking me, no I don't want them to."
"The World Goes Round" will continue on October 9 & 10 at the Renberg Theatre at 1125 N McCadden PL. Tickets can be purchased by going to the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.
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- Lori Wilson