A mere two months behind, but here’s the first report of 2017. On January 22nd, I attended my first event of the year – the Annual Ladies of General Hospital event down at Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club in Pt. Pleasant, NJ. Laura Wright has been putting this event together every year since 2013, and I’ve attended I believe 3 of them. This event was a nice change of pace as Laura brought in two new faces to Uncle Vinnie’s – Hayley Erin and Chloe Lanier, as well as a rare appearance from GH royalty, Miss Jacklyn Zeman.
The venue was not as crowded as it has been in past years, but it still took the girls a while to visit fans from table to table. They started the event with a mix and mingle, then went into a Q&A, and ended with group photo ops.
As always, a huge thank you to Dino, Linda, Laura, Hayley, Chloe, and Jackie. There was no better way to kick off 2017 than with the lovely ladies of GH!!!
Last Sunday, October 23rd, I attended the fall incarnation of General Hospital Fantasy Weekend, We Want More, showcasing the series’ fan favorites who the audience does not get to see onscreen as much as they would like to. Eight actors attended, a mix of recurring stars and stars to have recently exited, they were Ian Buchanan (Duke), Bryan Craig (Morgan), Sonya Eddy (Epiphany), Kathleen Gati (Obrecht), Rick Hearst (Ric), Carolyn Hennesy (Diane), Jeffrey Vincent Parise (Carlos/Joe), and Marc Anthony Samuel (Felix). Stalwart Kin Shriner was originally slated to attend, but canceled about a month prior, being replaced by Bryan Craig.
The event began with having the cast do the meet & greet first, which always works due to the fact that the fans are taken care of first and ensures our time with the cast is not cut short if the event runs over. They broke the cast into two groups – Buchanan, Eddy, Gati, & Samuel and Craig, Hearst, Hennesy, & Parise. Somehow, I found myself first in line, and was therefore the first fan to finish up.
The Q&A was good, I guess. I was extremely tired and cold, and somehow had begun to doze off a bit. All in all, it was a great group of stars. Quite possibly some of the most fan friendly that GH has to offer. As always, thank you to the stars, Dino, and Linda, for a day off well spent!!!
I know many people often ask me why I repeatedly attend General Hospital events and meet the same stars time and time again. Well when you meet two stars such as Brytni Sarpy and Robert Palmer Watkins, you have no problem going out and supporting them each and every time they do an event. So less than a month after seeing them at Fan Club Weekend, I drove down to Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club in Pt. Pleasant, NJ to see them again on August 28.
Brytni & Rob did a great Q&A and the fans really seemed to love them. I believe this was their first east coast appearance and the fans who don’t travel for Fan Club Weekend had yet to meet them. I say with confidence that they all went home extremely happy.
As always, a huge thank you to Dino, Linda, Rob, & Brytni. I don’t get many days off, so I’m happy when I do and it is well spent in the company of great friends.
On Sunday morning, I was able to sleep in for a little bit. It was much needed, but at the same time, I was excited for the Emme Rylan & Kirsten Storms event. My regular readers and followers will know how much I love these two and how close Kirsten and I have become over the years.
The girls’ event got off to a late start, roughly 45 minutes or so, but it was worth it. Emme & Kirsten are just so personable, no matter how many fans are at their events (this one had 100!!!), it seems like a private conversation. This event was also host to the best question I’ve heard all weekend – “Were the Cassadine Island scenes really filmed in Greece?” Just when you thought you’ve heard it all…
I took a little break for lunch and then went to my final event for the weekend – Kelly Monaco’s. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve seen Kelly, so I guess I had forgotten how different her fans in the respect that to them it’s all about Jasam versus Liason, and to me, GH is an ensemble show.
As I said, it has been a number of years, but Kelly remembered me, remembered my name, and even the proper spelling of it. She got a good laugh when I told her about the Cassadine Island question from Emme & Kirsten’s event and responded with, “Yeah, and I really survived a plane crash.” Kelly and I spent a lot of time together chatting, so much time in fact that I was holding her up, but she didn’t seem to care. Every time I went to walk away, she grabbed me and pulled me in for another comment. Not that she had ever really lost me, but Kelly has won me back over and I won’t be missing any more of her events.
There were a slew of other events on Sunday – Lexi Ainsworth, The Corinthos Brothers (Dominic Zamprogna, Chad Duell, & Bryan Craig), Michelle Stafford & Laura Wright, Bradford Anderson, and the Karaoke Event with Ryan Carnes, Sonya Eddy, Marc Anthony Samuel, and Parry Shen. But for me, after Kelly’s event, another successful GHFCW had come to a close.
Fewer events results in a smaller blog posting, but I hope what I have shared enlightens all GH fans to what an amazing cast the series has. I don’t know what the other soap casts are like (partly because they seldom make themselves available for the fans), but I can bet that they will never take as much time or interest in their fans as the GH cast does. All I can say is bring on GHFCW 2017!!!
And now is that time to wrap up by giving a heartfelt thanks to Debbie Morris, President of the GH Fan Club. Debbie has made so many sacrifices over the years for the sake of FCW, the fans, the cast, and the series overall. Being an Events Coordinator myself, I know it is no easy feat to put on an event to this caliber and have everyone walk away 100% satisfied. We strive for it, but we rarely get it. Debbie, however, is the exception. To bring the entire GH community together for 4 days is something she does tirelessly year after year. Thank you, Debbie. Also deserving of thanks and recognition are Debbie’s longtime right hands, she has a number of them, Michelle DeMoss, Claire Mullan, Lynna & Ron Strickland, and everyone else on her staff; illustrious photographers Jim Warren and Steven Bergman; the oh-so-lovely photo sales team of Maxine, Kimberly, Gail, and Kimistry; Debby & John O’Connor of YourNumberOneFan and CJ and Angela; Sheri Evans of SoapStarEvents; the staff at the Embassy Suites; my fellow fans; Frank Valentini; and of course, the amazing cast of General Hospital.
I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning to prepare for the flagship FCW event, the Main Cast Event. Again, the attendance was significantly smaller than last year, I believe dropping down to 260.
As tradition would have it, the cast had quit a difficult time assembling themselves for the introductions. A new face, well old face really, took the role of emcee this year – the great Kin Shriner (Scott). 39 actors attended, with reportedly seven confirmed actors being no-shows. Donning his Bob Hope jacket, Kin humorously introduced his castmates to much fanfare. Stars in attendance were (in alphabetical order) Vinessa Antoine (Jordan), Maurice Benard (Sonny), Rebecca Budig (Hayden), Matt Cohen (Griffin), Bryan Craig (Morgan), John DeLuca (Aaron), William deVry (Julian), Risa Dorken (Amy), Michael Easton (Finn), Sonya Eddy (Epiphany), Hayley Erin (Kiki), Kathleen Gati (Obrecht), Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis), Carolyn Hennesy (Diane), Roger Howarth (Franco), Wally Kurth (Ned), Chloe Lanier (Nelle), Jon Lindstrom (Kevin), Lisa LoCicero (Olivia), Eden McCoy (Josslyn), Kelly Monaco (Sam), Anthony Montgomery (Andre), Ryan Paevey (Nathan), Jeffrey Vincent Parise (Joe), Haley Pullos (Molly), Emme Rylan (Lulu), Marc Anthony Samuel (Felix), Brytni Sarpy (Valerie), Parry Shen (Brad), Michelle Stafford (Nina), Kirsten Storms (Maxie) and daughter Harper Rose Barash (Georgie), James Patrick Stuart (Valentin), Donnell Turner (Curtis), Robert Palmer Watkins (Dillon), Hudson West (Jake), Dominic Zamprogna (Dante), and lastly, the leader of the pack, Executive Producer Frank Valentini.
As opposed to doing a tradition Q&A, Kin asked one question – What did you do before joining GH? Each actor answered, many of the responses were quite comical, and then cue the chaos – the meet & greet. I only needed four of the attendees – Cohen, DeLuca, Montgomery, and Stuart. Montgomery bailed at the completion of the Q&A leaving me with just three names to get, an easy feat. Once I finished up with the new guys, it was off to see old favorites, all of whom were added bonuses at this point. It seemed like the cast had a variety of excuses for leaving early this year, so as the number of actors dwindled down, the remaining lines grew longer.
I had about an hour break to rest before my next event – Kin Shriner & Maura West. If there’s one event during GHFCW that will make you laugh so hard you nearly cry, it is this one. Following in his father’s footsteps, Kin is a comedian at heart, and Maura is the perfect comic foil. Celebrating his 39th anniversary with GH, there was no shortage of age jokes. The stories were great, the jokes were great, the fans were great, and the talent was great. Easily, my pick for the best event of the weekend, even though Kin went home with two of my Sharpie markers.
And while everyone else headed off to see Kathleen Gati and later to Michael Easton & Roger Howarth’s One Night Only event, I headed out to eat and wind down from another awesome day.