The cast. (Lori Wilson/Soaps.com)
The Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City, California was the setting for the 2011 "All My Children" Fan Club Weekend. The majority of the cast gathered for the Main Cast Event on Saturday July 30 for a Q&A and to sign autographs and take photos with their devoted fans. Soaps.com was there as J.R. Martinez (Brot) moderated the event, asking each of his co-stars one question he gathered from fans off of the Internet.
The afternoon, which saw Vincent Irizarry (David) and Susan Lucci (Erica) receiving the loudest cheers upon their introductions, served as a tribute to "All My Children," as the cast shared memories from their time on the show. The actors' heartfelt love for the soap, which is facing an uncertain future, and the fans, who have been with them over the past 41 years, was evident throughout.
J.R.'s first question went to Susan Lucci about what it was like playing both Erica and Jane. She responded, "It's been so much fun. It's been really fun. It was scary at first because Jane looks just like Erica. [laughter] It's been really a lot of fun to get inside another character and play her."
Bobbie Eakes (Krystal) was asked about a storyline that stood out for her. She recalled the flashback she and Vincent Irizarry taped exploring their characters' history. She joked to Vincent, "You looked like "Charles in Charge" and I had the terrible 80's hair and I had to give birth to the twins." She also pointed to her 'redneck' days, especially when Krystal was with Adam. The truckers' Christmas party was a highlight for her, which drew obvious approval from the crowd.
Susan Lucci (Lori Wilson/Soaps.com)
When it was Vincent Irizarry's turn, he heaped praise on his recent acting partner. Citing Susan Lucci's distinctive, yet subtle nuances to differentiate her two characters of Jane and Erica, Vincent shared that after the scene of David having sex with the insecure, virginal Jane, "I honestly almost started crying. There was such a vulnerability. I felt like I was looking at this beautiful teenage girl. There was such an innocence about her." He jokingly said to Susan, "I've loved every moment of [the storyline], right up to you strangling me and stabbing me. If you're going to be stabbed by anyone it might as well be Erica Kane." He also teased there was going to be a lot of surprises over the next few weeks, promising viewers would be very happy.
Christina Bennett Lind (Bianca) shared her enthusiasm for portraying someone in a same sex relationship. "I've had such an amazing time playing the role, but more importantly, it's really the fans that have made it the most amazing acting experience," she said. "The amount of support you guys have for the gay community is ridiculous…You opened your arms and let me in and I think we're doing our part to change things, bit by bit by bit. And you guys are a big part of that. I'm very proud."
When asked about her leading men, Lindsay Hartley (Cara) had only wonderful things to say about Ricky Paull Goldin (Jake), Jordi Vilasuso (Griffin) and Michael E. Knight. She also teased, "I've been lucky and there's going to be another person involved…toward the end. So, keep watching."
Ladies of Pine Valley. (Lori Wilson/Soaps.com)
After J.R. asked the last actor his last question, Vincent Irizarry turned things around on the emcee by asking what it was like for him joining the cast of "All My Children." J.R. took the opportunity to express his gratitude to his castmates and recalled that his experience as a motivational speaker helped prepare him make the transition as an actor. The veteran also thanked the fans for accepting Brot Monroe and the show for tackling social issues. "For me, it's amazing to come to the canvas and tell the story of our men and women who day in and day out come home and their lives are completely changed, whether they're physically injured or they're just mentally injured. They all come home injured and to be able to tell that story to everyone that may be connected to it, or not connected to it, has been an unbelievable opportunity." When he was finished, the fans and the cast gave him a standing ovation.
After Alicia Minshew (Kendall) paid tribute to the child actors on the show, Susan Lucci was asked to wrap things up with a final message to the fans. On behalf of the entire cast she said, "From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much. You fans have been in our lives, you continue to be in our lives, even though they tell us you haven't been in our lives, we know…[cheers and applause]…and you've been on fire for us. We are so happy about that. Thank you so much. We are so grateful for you being here today and every day. Keep watching. We're going to turn this lemons into lemonade for you."
For more from the event, check out the All My Children News Room for one-on-one interviews with some of the cast and the All My Children Fan Club Weekend Photo Gallery.
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- Lori Wilson