Fans of NBC’s Days of our Lives knew when they witnessed the scenes where Kayla (Mary Beth Evans) tells her brother Bo (Peter Reckell) that he is dying that it was a moment that touched, resonated, and would be remembered for years to come, both by the audience and its portrayers.
And it appears that those moments also touched the Emmy voters, because after 30 years of playing Kayla Brady, actress Mary Beth Evans was awarded her first Lead Actress in a Daytime Drama Series nomination for her performance. But Mary Beth just didn’t land one nomination on Daytime Emmy nomination day last Thursday ….she scored a total of three!
The mighty Evans is also in the running as Outstanding Actress in a Digital Series for her role of Sara Garrett in The Bay. And since the series was also nominated, Mary Beth also landed a nod as one of the producers for the online soapy drama. (An award she also received last year).
On-Air On-Soaps caught up with Mary Beth to get her thoughts on the whirlwind of excitements surrounding nominations, her nominated scenes with not only with the beloved Reckell, but her other legendary scene partner, the incomparable Stephen Nichols (Patch), plus what she thought of the other acting nominees in the Lead Actor and Actress categories, and more. Here’s what Mary Beth shared.
I hear you were on your way to Mexico for another type of celebration, after found out you were nominated for your work on Days of our Lives?
MARY BETH: Yes. Finding out you are nominated is the best day. Probably better than any other days are going to be. (Laughs) I was getting my hair done when I got a call from my manager Michael Bruno informing me that I was nominated. Then later that day, my husband and I were driving to Mexico to attend my son’s wedding over the weekend. I was so excited. It was great fun to have all of this happening at once. It was a very busy day! Anything we did that day, my husband would announce me as “Daytime Emmy nominee Mary Beth Evans,” and so we were all laughing. It was really sweet.
You landed your nomination in scenes with your favorite and enduring scene partners: Peter Reckell and Stephen Nichols. That must have made this extra special for you!
MARY BETH: I am so lucky that the material I submitted was with Peter Reckell and Stephen Nichols; it all kind of blends together my love for them as people, and my love for them as their characters. Peter gave me so. I love him and I love the history. It’s one of the reasons I love soap operas, and it’s why I love these characters, and that we really do have this history. In the scenes with Peter, I know how much Kayla loves her brother. So, it makes it more meaningful. I just feel so connected to those scenes that I don’t even need to think twice about them. The scenes had such a conflict – that is to be a doctor in a family and be strong, and inform and save the day, and you try to be all of those things, and then you are this family member, and you know there is truly no hope.
It’s one of those all-time heartbreaking moments in television between an on-screen brother and sister. It definitely was a ten-hankie moment!
MARY BETH: It was heartbreaking for sure. I remember taping the scenes with Peter and also when Kayla was dealing with Caroline’s (Peggy McCay) Alzheimer’s. I could barely get through the rehearsal. I love heartfelt stories. It is my favorite thing. I am also married in real life to a doctor and so I have witnessed him go through something similar in story.
And how nice that after being reunited last year as Kayla and Steve on DAYS that the other scene in your Emmy reel featured you and Stephen Nichols, and that also helped score the nomination!
MARY BETH: I know! Stephen Nichols and I could not be happier to be working together on DAYS. The scenes we did in the supply closet, which was the other part of my submission, to me when I watch those scenes I loved the connection between these two people … Patch and Kayla. I thought the two scenes I submitted for the Emmys showed a nice contrast.
I feel like you are carrying the torch for everybody in the “Bo is dying” storyline, because there were such fabulous performances all around. Who else do you feel should have garnered a nomination?
MARY BETH: Yup, it is nice to represent the story for all the guys that I was in the story with. But for me, the biggest shock was that Kate Mansi (Abigail) did not get nominated. I watched her story with Billy Flynn (Chad) and Rob Scott Wilson (Ben). It was so amazing and riveting, and I am huge fan of hers. I was telling her for months she would be nominated and said she would win. I am a bit confused by all of this at how she did not get a nomination – her performance was so nuanced that I don’t get it. I don’t know why Rob Scott Wilson did not get a Pre-Nom. It was incredible. Peter Reckell and Kristian Alfonso (Hope) were fantastic and did not get in, but Kassie DePaiva (Ex-Eve) and Missy Reeves (Jennifer) did get nominated and Peggy McCay too! So, at least DAYS got nominated for its performances by a lot of strong women.
You judged in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series category. What performance stuck out to you after looking over the performances?
MARY BETH: I really, really loved Tyler Christopher’s (Nikolas, GH) reel, and you know we had our little tryst on GH as Katherine Bell and Nikolas Cassadine … way back when! I remember at the time saying to him: “If you call me mommy, then it’s over!” I was joking with him. I think all the men that got in the Lead Actor category deserved it, but I also wish that Billy Flynn got nominated, because he deserved it as well. In Tyler’s scenes, I just thought it was so heartfelt and beautiful. Tyler has matured so nicely and he is also such a nice guy. And as for judging, I hope everyone went into it this the way I did, which was I not vote for favorites. I really gave it my time and attention and watched the first and second rounds. I tried to vote responsibly.
When you saw the script for the scenes where Kayla tells Bo in the park that he is dying, did you feel at that point, and as written, that it could potentially be an Emmy-nominated type of moment to play?
MARY BETH: Most of the time there is so much memorizing. That is what I spend the most time doing more than what is going to happen when we go on to tape the scenes. I remember we ran it a few times and I got choked up, but then what I really try to do is put all of the rest of the process aside, and really listen to the person and feel what they are saying and doing. Peter Reckell and I have always had this great connection. We have always gotten into this sibling part of the family. And in the scenes with Stephen in the closet, I think when I first read the script, I was like, “Oh, my God! What am I going to do with that?” But it’s like I said, you have to go in there and let it all go, and see where it takes you. You sometimes are surprised at how scenes turn out where you say, “Wow! That actually turned out very good!”
What did Stephen Nichols say to you when he found out you were nominated for Lead Actress in a Daytime Drama Series for your performance on DAYS?
MARY BETH: He said, “I told you!” Stephen was so excited for me, and very sweet and supportive. I could not have done it without those guys. They gave me so much. We just trust each other. I could not imagine Peter not being there, and I could not imagine the character of Bo dying. I always say about soap operas that you always hope the character will “come back someday.”
But stop the presses! You are actually a triple-Daytime Emmy nominee, Mary Beth!
MARY BETH: I know! I remember thinking this is show we were shooting in my living room forever, and in my yard. We were like such guerilla theatre at the very beginning. This is a real testament to The Bay creator, Gregori Martin: not only does he write, direct, shoot, and cast the show, but he does everything. He is steadfast with everything and focused. I am excited to be in the category of Outstanding Actress in a Digital Drama Series with Lilly Melgar (Janice), who calls me her “wifey” and Patsy Pease (Lola), who of course played my sister, Kimberly on DAYS.
What scenes did you submit that garnered you the nomination in the Outstanding Actress in a Digital Drama Series for The Bay?
MARY BETH: Gregori did it. I think the scenes were all from one episode and it was when Sara was in the prison. He must have done a good job in his choosing the submissions, because Gregoty got three people nominated in the category! (Laughs)
You do realize that you could win own three more Emmys by the beginning of May!
MARY BETH: That would be wacky, but besides The Bay producer win and nomination last year, this is my first daytime drama nomination in 30 years. The only award I ever got was back in the day when I would win Best Actress from Daytime TV magazine. The only other award I have ever won was around 1987. That was for supercouple with Stephen at the Soap Opera Digest Awards. It was always the heavy-hitters who won the awards at the Daytime Emmys such as: Erika Slezak (Ex-Viki, OLTL), Kim Zimmer (Ex-Reva, GL), or Robin Strasser (Ex-Dorian, OLTL). Those ladies were like the Meryl Streep’s of daytime. I was never in the running in that group. However, I never really actually submitting anything. I think maybe a few of years ago I did, and so this is the first time in 30 years, and since I started at DAYS back in 1986.
We missed you on the Soap Nation Live with Michael Fairman Daytime Emmy Nominations Special 2016 last week while you were en route to Mexico. Several of your co-nominees including: Kassie DePaiva (Ex-Eve, DAYS), Maura West (Ava, GH) and Finola Hughes (Anna, GH) chatted with us in studio during the live broadcast. What do you think of the competition in your category, and your chances on winning the gold?
MARY BETH: I love all those ladies I am nominated with. Of course, Kassie and Maura West (Ava, GH), and I have known each other since we both were on As the World Turns. Last year when Maura won the Emmy, she gave me the biggest hug. I just adore Maura, she is such a doll. To be nominated with her and Finola Hughes (Anna, GH), who is also incredible, I think of all these great people and then I say to myself, “Oh, boy!” as to my chances. (Laughs) My kids and everyone want to go to the Daytime Emmys. I am like “No, because when I lose it will be so embarrassing!” (Laughs) Like I said, this is the absolute best part of the Emmy process right now, being an Emmy nominee with no pressure … and it’s fun!
So, what do you think of Mary Beth’s three nominations? Are you happy she was finally lauded for her work as Kayla in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category this year? What did you think of her thoughts on who was nominated and who was omitted? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!