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Ryan's Hope Cast Reunion

Soap Center, January 2000
Hosted By Brooke Alexander and David Forsyth

(This aired on Soap Center, a weekly news show on SoapNet, the cable channel on which Ryan's Hope now airs in reruns.)

BROOKE ALEXANDER (BA): It's been eleven years since the last call on Ryan's Hope., and Soap Center thought it was time to bring some of the cast favorites together again.

(They go to the stage of the interview, where Brooke and David are standing and Felicity LaFortune, Michael Levin, Louise Shaffer, John Gabriel, and Ilene Kristen are sitting.)

BA: We have something pretty amazing right here with us.

DAVID FORSYTH (DF): Ilene Kristen.

ILENE: (holding up her hand) Here!

DF: John Gabriel.

JOHN: Who says you can never go home again?

DF: Louise Shaffer.

LOUISE: Hi.

DF: Michael Levin and Felicity LaFortune to join us. Most of you probably know them better as Delia, Seneca, Rae, Jack, and Leigh. Welcome to Soap Center; you look better than ever. Ilene, your role as Delia stirred up an awful lot of trouble and passion. You had to confess all this to a priest? What's that all about?

ILENE: Yes, I did. I had a scene in a confessional - I don't know if anybody remembers that - and, you know, I'm a nice Jewish girl from Brooklyn, I didn't know anything about this, and I had to confess everything: (counting on her fingers) that I pushed Frank down the flight of stairs, that I was having an affair with his brother Patrick, that I was also having an affair with Roger and telling everybody I was going to cooking classes, and that I had been blind and then when I got my eyesight back, you know, that I had lied to everybody...

(They all laugh uproariously.)

BA: Now, John, tell us about how perfectly you played Dr. Beaulac.

JOHN: Well, I don't know if it was perfectly, but because it was such...and it was such a realistic show, that people would stop me for medical advice. What was really curious was that we were on the set and that Earl Hindman - he played Ilene's brother - I was in my white smock (Ilene laughs) and he came up to me and I was trying to learn my lines, and he said, "I've got the beginnings of a cold."

(They all laugh again.)

BA: Louise, you said that it was your special relationships, as Rae, that really brought the character together.

LOUISE: Yeah, I have to say that, again, for me, it was something I hadn't seen before on the air. I mean, first of all, Kelli and I - Kelli played my daughter - were...had a very strange chemistry. We were really wired the same way, emotionally. But beyond that - and to me, and I loved it - was the way it was written. It dealt with the competition between mothers and daughters. After Kelli came on the show, I was basically known as Kimberly's mother.

DF: Michael, your storyline was a huge part of Ryan's Hope, and Mary was played by, uh, Kate Mulgrew.

MICHAEL: She used to push me all over the set! And when we did the show in the beginning, it was done...it was taped, but it was done as if it was live, and the important thing they told us all the time is, "You must never stop. You must never stop. Even if you blow a line, you keep going. And Kate and I, both being terribly competitive, we never blew a line. We never ever blew a line, we'd just do the scene, do the scene, do the scene.

MICHAEL: Until - it must have been nine months into the show? - we were in the middle of a scene and suddenly I looked at her (pauses, they all laugh) she looked at me (pauses) and I went (pauses) and she went (pauses) and finally they said, "Cut!" And I said, "Kate, it's your line!" She said, "Michael, it's your line!" Well, Kate was right. (They all laugh.) It was my line.

BA: Well, Michael, is it true that your character was absolutely devastated when Mary passed away, but you quickly found strength and recovery with - duh, duh, duh! - Felicity's character!

MICHAEL: I'd never met anything like this one!

(They all laugh.)

MICHAEL: Paul and Claire, I think, were away from the show for a while, and then they came back to the show, and they're the ones who cast Felicity, who had never done a soap.

FELICITY: No, no, no, it was really scary. Cause, you know, you go on the set and all you've ever done is theater and you come on the set and there are cameras that are the sizes of rhinoceroses or something...

DF: So there's no confusion about who ranks as # 1 Ryan's Hope fan, that's Rosie O'Donnell. Ilene, you went on Rosie's show?

ILENE: I was set to announce her show, so I did, but I wanted to meet her beforehand, but they said, "No, no, she doesn't want to meet you beforehand," so I announced the show I said, "Here's Rosie," and she came out and there were tears in her eyes.

BA: So many of the great Ryan's Hope moments took place at Ryan's Bar, correct? And the bartender is a central character, too.

DF: When we found out that all of you were so fond of Malachy, we didn't think that a reunion would be complete without him.

(Malachy McCourt comes out with a tray of beer as the theme music plays and they all cheer.)

(He hugs Michael, Felicity, and Ilene. Then they all take a mug of beer and raise them for a toast.)

MALACHY: For those of us that are left, as we tread the happy road, may we all end up at Ryan's door, and may Ryan's Hope shine in our hearts - and on these sets - forevermore.

ALL: Hear, hear!