Alicia Minshew Interview talks Quarantine and All My Children

Image: J Graylock/JPI

Former All My Children actress helps fellow actors who are out of work in new series.

Even in the midst of a lockdown nationwide quarantine, some actors can still find work! That includes Alicia Minshew (All My Children/One Life to Live, Kendall; Tainted Dreams, Angelica; Beacon Hill, Sara), whose new web series Quarantine began airing on April 19 on YouTube. Soaps.com chatted with her from her New York apartment about what it means to have a TV studio in your living room, how it felt to meet the original Kendall (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and whether she’d consider doing another soap.

How it all began

Soaps.com: You seem to be doing better than most during this period of sheltering in place, thanks to your web series Quarantine. That aside, how are you?

Alicia Minshew: We’re on the Upper West Side in Manhattan – two blocks from the old studio where All My Children was! I pass by it all the time. I’m hunkered down with my husband (Richie Herschenfeld) and my daughter (Willow) and we’re lucky that we’re safe. My husband’s restaurants have closed, so he’s dealing with that craziness, and I’m homeschooling Willow, who’s in 5th grade – with help from her wonderful teachers. There are people who have it far worse than us. I’m facing the [Hudson] River right now and so I have a nice view of the water and it calms me down.

Soaps.com: How did you get involved with Quarantine?

Minshew: I’m very good friends with [show creator/director/producer] Jerry Ying; we go back like 20 years. He lives in California and reached out and said, “I have this wacky show idea … I’ve been on Zoom a lot with my friends. I want to tell the story of what people are going through in quarantine.” No one is getting paid for this; it’s all for charity. It’s a chance to work with cool people, tell some stories and help my fellow actors who are out of work.

More: Interview, Alicia Minshew behind the scenes, Wholly Broken

Soaps.com: What’s the setup?

Minshew: It’s about a group of soap actors who are now out of work and dealing with being out of work. My character is like a mother figure to these younger actors. The show is about how we as actors are dealing with being out of work, and dealing with the reality that is affecting our lives right now. Everyone’s in LA except me and Jennifer Bassey (All My Children, Marian; General Hospital, Quinn; Falcon Crest, Cynthia; Somerset, Dorothy; The Edge of Night, Abby; Love of Life, Jennifer) and her husband.

Soaps.com: And do you have to do all the technical work as well as act in your scenes?

Minshew: I do! I don’t have fancy lighting, no one is doing my hair and makeup and I’m trying to figure out the best angle so people can see me well. But Jerry reminded me that’s what Zoom is – you don’t have to look like you’re on a set. Jerry comes up with these stories, we film for a few days each week while he directs.

Love for All My Children

Soaps.com: Obviously your first soap was All My Children, but you’ve done several web soaps by now as well. What do you like about those shows?

Minshew: It’s about the fans; they’re the most devoted group of people, whatever project you do they support you. And to be able to tell a story every day with a group of actors who know how to do it quickly. On a soap, we don’t have the luxury of a lot of takes. You learn to work quickly and efficiently and it’s fun to explore so many fun, wacky things. It can be outrageous, over-the-top, ridiculous.

Soaps.com: What do you remember most fondly about playing Kendall?

Minshew: So many things. I got to put a lot of myself into her; I played her for 10 years, so I was this scared little girl in the beginning who didn’t know what she was doing, and Susan Lucci (Erica) and Cameron Mathison (Ryan) took me under their wings and were wonderful. I loved playing this fun, fiery character. Also, I would not have my husband and daughter without my on-screen husband Thorsten Kaye (Zach; The Bold and the Beautiful, Ridge; Port Charles, Ian; One Life to Live, Patrick)! [Kaye and Herschenfeld are long-time BFFs.]

More: Interview, B&B actress talks Sally’s knockout cliffhanger

Soaps.com: Kendall was originated by Sarah Michelle Gellar, who went on to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer and star in a ton of movies. Did you ever meet and talk about Kendall?

Minshew: I had never watched the show before I started, but I knew that Sarah had played the role before me. When I started on the show she sent me a beautiful basket and bouquet of flowers and treats with a note saying, “Congratulations on your role; it’s a hard role but a fun role to play – you’ll do great.” It was a lovely gesture. And years later she came to visit Eva La Rue (Maria; The Young and the Restless, Celeste; Santa Barbara, Margot) on the show, and I met her in the dressing rooms. It was kind of her to give that to me, and honor and respect me. Class act!

Soaps.com: Would you like to return to soaps, either on broadcast or digital?

Minshew: I’m really hunkered down in New York City now. My life is here, and my daughter is in school. If the soaps were here in New York City it’d be a lot easier for me, but right now they’re in LA – so for me to fly back and forth is not something I’m comfortable with doing. But as my daughter gets older, I might be. The role would have to be a kick ass one, and it would have to work out with my family. But right now I’m where I need to be in my life.

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