The “A Tribute to Pine Valley” tour returns with stops in new cities:
Sarasota FL – April 27th Coconut Creek – April 28th Jacksonville FL – May 4th Nashville – May 5th Cleveland – May 19th
Appearing in this leg of the tour are “All My Children” favorites Walt Willey (Jackson), Debbi Morgan (Angie), Darnell Williams (Jesse), Jacob Young (JR), Vincent Irizarry (David) , Bobbie Eakes (Krystal) ( Eakes will appear in Nashville and Jacksonville only) and Alicia Minshew (Minshew will not appear in Jacksonville or Nashville).
For tickets and tour times, visit the website at: A Tribute to Pine Valley
Daytime TV Examiner had a chance to talk to Walt Willey about the upcoming tour, his thoughts on the upcoming AMC reboot and where in the world is Jackson. (Willey is not part of the current cast of actors appearing in the new episodes that launch on April 29th.) He also talks about current projects, including “Tainted Dreams,” that reunites him with AMC co-star Minshew and his anti-bullying campaign.
Check out the interview with Walt below:
Phyllis: You have done pretty much all of the Tribute to Pine Valley events. What makes you keep coming back to do these events?
Walt: I'm proud to say I have done every one! One of the first people I called when we got the cancellation news was Mike Gold, promoter of these events. I pitched the idea to him, although I'm sure he would have come to it all by himself. This show was so dearly loved by so many people that the notion of a "tribute" was a natural. I'm also proud of and grateful for my almost 25-year association with this iconic program, and being a part of this event is naturally a thrill! When you see the fans' reaction, it makes it all worthwhile.
Phyllis: All My Children is returning with all new episodes this month. Would you return to the show if scheduling allows? Also, where do you think Jackson is and is his absence explained on screen?
Walt: April 29th is the premiere date and I wish only success for this venture. I have so many friends, both in front of and behind the camera involved in this venture, and I wish them all the best. What a thrill for the fans who worked so very hard to see AMC revived; their efforts paid off! I've made it clear, through back channels, that I would entertain the notion of joining the "reboot" cast.
While I've been very busy doing film, theatre (including my one-man show, Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok) and touring with my "Wild & Willey Comedy Tour", the idea of being a part of this "new media" version of AMC is very attractive; an historical footnote, if you will.
I have no idea how they may or may not be addressing "Jackson's" absence or where he might be. As long as there wasn't an off-screen demise - as happened to my brother Travis" during the run of the show on ABC - I guess there's always a chance!
Phyllis: Agnes Nixon (All My Children’s creator) has said that Erica and Jackson were one of her favorite AMC couples. Thinking back on all their rich history, what is your favorite Jackson and Erica moment?
Walt: Agnes is one of the most incredibly gifted and prolific writers in the genre, so that is praise indeed! I think my hands-down favorite would have to be our wedding and the unforgettable scenes under the banyan tree. The fans had wanted this for so long! My one regret is that so much of "Jack's" story was in reaction to "Erica's" antics; I always wished that "Jack" would have a story of his own. On the other hand, when you're linked to the "franchise", that's a pretty good deal!
Phyllis: You’re involved with “Tainted Dreams,” the behind-the-scenes series about soap operas. You are working with AMC’s producer Sonia Blangiardo and reuniting with your AMC co-star Alicia Minshew. Were there any stories told on AMC that were inspired by the real life behind the scenes drama?
Walt: We (the actors on AMC) often joked that there were microphones in our dressing rooms wired to speakers in the writers' offices! I remember that shortly after my son Chance was diagnosed with Asperger's, the "Lily" (my adopted daughter on AMC, who was autistic) storyline began, and her later travails of being "mainstreamed" into a public school often mirrored my son's. Coincidence? Life imitating art? Vice versa? Who knows?
Phyllis: Who do you play on Tainted Dreams?
Walt: I'll be playing Gregory, "the misunderstood leading man gone weak, having an affair with a woman half his age...but only until he can assert who he really is...then all hell breaks loose." Of course, this is the character description that Sonia sent me back in September when we first began talking about this very exciting project. I'm looking forward to developing "Gregory"; fleshing him out, making him live and breathe.
Phyllis: When is it set to start shooting and where can fans see it?
Walt: When I last spoke to Sonia, we were shooting to begin sometime in June. I know Sonia has been exploring various options for distribution, but I don't know where that stands at present.
Phyllis: You’re involved in In-School acting workshops. Talk about how you got involved in that.
Walt: After I was finished writing my one-man show, Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok, I hit on the idea of taking it to high schools in conjunction with mentorship/classes. In return, I use the school's auditorium to present Wild Bill!... to the public. The high school's drama department receives a portion of the box office proceeds. In an era where arts funding is being cut significantly, these funds can mean the difference between a high school being able to mount a play that year...or not. Response to this program has been great! You can read more about the Wild Bill! In-School Program by visiting my website at: http://www.waltwilleyworld.com/wild-bill-in-schools-.html
Phyllis: Bullying is such an important topic, how important is it for celebrities such as yourself to promote anti-bullying.
Walt: As a stutterer until I was almost 16 years old, I know well the effect bullying can have; the dread, the loss of self respect, the desire to lash out. The far-reaching effects of bullying through social media make the effects of this onerous practice's even more devastating. Everyone, not only celebrities, should do all they can to stop this plague in our country. As I tell my children, making yourself feel big by making others feel small makes you the smallest of all.
New espisodes of "All My Children" begin April 29th on iTunes, Hulu and Hulu Plus.
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