Y&R's Christian LeBlanc (CBS)
If you didn't have a chance to make it to the last Soap Star Spectacular event this past June, Soaps.com has details for a new event. On Saturday and Sunday, November 20 and 21, soap opera actors will gather to take part in a few fan interactive events in the Carolinas. Hosted by The Young and the Restless' Christian LeBlanc (Michael Baldwin), stars set to take part will include The Bold and the Beautiful's Don Diamont (Bill Spencer) and Brandon Beemer (Owen Knight), One Life to Live's Kim Zimmer (Echo DiSavoy, ex-Reva of Guiding Light) and Christian's fellow Genoa City castmates Sharon Case (Sharon Newman), Jeanne Cooper (Katherine Chancellor), Billy Miller (Billy Abbott), Michael Muhney (Adam Newman), Michelle Stafford (Phyllis Newman) and Maura West (Diane Jenkins).
Soaps.com caught up with OLTL's Kim Zimmer and Y&R's Christian LeBlanc and asked how they got involved with Soap Spectacular and why they chose to participate in the event. "I've been working with Mike Gold for the last two years on events like this," Kim started off. "Personally, I find it enjoyable to go out and listen to and meet the wonderful fans who support our shows. It's a small way to be able to give back for their support."
Christian chimed in, "Well, Mike Gold is the evil genius behind it all. There's so many events out there where there's kind of a velvet rope feel to things, but this is the one where you're going to have to pry the actors off of you with a crowbar! That's why I got involved and why I go to every one that I can possibly make. You never get to see Kim Zimmer unleashed upon an audience. She was always on Guiding Light and she's such a cool friend. And Don Diamont from B&B! Remember choir camp back in the south, where these poor tiny southern towns got like ten choirs and it just turned into a horrible hedonistic mess? Police calls every night? That's what it's like. [chuckles] You're out there with people who watch the show, who are fans. An event like this is where you get that interchange. This is our chance to interact with people. They get to tell us good, bad and indifferent what they're thinking about the show. Soaps are all about being in your living room every day, and you get to experience what that's like for people."
Christian also remembered and shared a special fan experience from his early days in soaps. "I remember on As the World Turns my character had recently lost his father, and I talked with a viewer about [how she had lost her father]. I've met people who've gone through Hurricane Katrina. I was at a store one day signing autographs and a woman just came up and gave me a big hug and then just started crying. And we just stood there, and everyone in line knew. Nobody complained. It was a moment where you got to be with someone, beyond the show, but coupled with the show in a strange way. This is the kind of experience you have with Soap Star Spectacular."
OLTL's Kim Zimmer (CBS)
Fans will again get to act out scenes with the actors. "Those who have the guts to get on stage!" Kim laughed. We asked if she would rather play out a past scene from GL with a fan or a current one from OLTL as her reestablished character Echo. "Well, you know, GL… This is a CBS Soap Spectacular, not supposed to be OLTL. However, I encourage everyone to change the channel to OLTL because we're not taking away from any CBS soaps. Who knows though… Maybe our staff director will stump me and have me act out a OLTL scene [laughs]."
What can fans expect from the event? Christian let us know and even called out an actor or two in the process! "We're acting out scenes with the soap fans and we're doing a Q&A. We're telling stories out of school, sadly, for some of us who should keep our big mouths shut... Michael Muhney! [chuckles] Maura has just come on the show and I never get to go out with her, I know her from Guiding Light. It's just really a good time. Again, that separation that you usually see between actor and fans, "Keep moving, we've got a time limit!" It's not like that! If you want to have a well-rounded experience with people that you admire as actors or feel a connection with as characters whom you've watched for years, this is the thing to go to. The scene-acting-out is always good for freak appeal. You never know what's going to happen... Kim Zimmer! Then you have Jeanne Cooper in the mix, and this is the first time she's been in on a Mike Gold event with me. And I emcee the Q&A, which is like wrangling cats. You just try to keep people from wrecking their careers. Basically, that's what I do. [chuckles]"
In terms of the other actors who will be in attendance Kim praised, "They're a great group of people. I have worked with a few and am looking forward to seeing Jeanne Cooper, Sharon Case and meeting Michael Muhney. Maura West will be there to tie over from ATWT to Y&R. Two gorgeous men, Don Diamont and Brandon Beemer - and of course, Christian LeBlanc, who's hosting the event. This is a group of fun, funny people. Just to listen to Jeanne talk about Y&R is worth the price of admission. Fans will get a piece of history with Jeanne." She closed our interview with, "The whole event is about memories…people talking about their favorite scenes, moments…"
The event scheduling goes as follows…
Saturday November 20 there will be a VIP Reception from 11.00 AM to 1.00 PM followed by the Main Event, which will be held at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center at 2101 North Oak Street in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina from 2.30 PM to 5.30 PM.
Sunday November 21 the VIP Reception will run from 12.00 PM to 2.00 PM followed by the Main Event, which will take place at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium at 2 E South Street in Raleigh, North Carolina from 3.00 PM to 6.00 PM.
Tickets for reserved seating for each main event are $36, which include a fan/soap opera actor Q & A session, a chance to "stump the actors" during a lively trivia session before getting a crash course in soap opera directing and having the opportunity to be chosen from the audience to perform "scenes from the soaps" with the actors. There are also limited VIP packages available at $146, where fans will get the opportunity to mix and mingle, get autographs, take priceless photos and hug all ten actors! Please visit Ticketmaster or call 1-800-745-3000 to reserve your spot today. You can also purchase tickets at Lowe's Foods, Publix
or f.y.e locations. For any further details visit Celebrity Events Group or call 1-866-364-0330.
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- Mario Rocchetta and Amy Mistretta (Writer/Reporter)