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12 February 9th, 2013 GH & Former OLTL Writer, Scott Sickles Chats On His New Play Lightning From Heaven! Discusses Writing For GH Characters!

If being a script writer for General Hospital these days is not enough, Scott Sickles is also an accomplished playwright whose new work debuts this Valentine’s Day in New York City! 

Lighting From Heaven tells the love story behind the classic film and the celebrated novel Doctor Zhivago, between poet Boris Pasternak, his muse Olga Ivinskaya, and the Soviet government’s attempt to silence their story.   After Pasternak’s death in 1960 Olga, his lover of fourteen years, was arrested by the KGB. Lighting From Heaven chronicles Olga’s subsequent interrogation and trial, while depicting her and Pasternak’s struggle to complete and publish Doctor Zhivago despite determined Soviet efforts to stop them.

Sickles spoke to On-Air On-Soaps not only about creating Lighting From Heaven, but also the challenges he faced when after writing for a few years at One Life to Live, he came aboard the GH writing team train where he had to write in the voice of many popular and beloved characters.  Here is what he had to say about his exciting new play …  and Port Charles!

Scott on what inspired him to write Lighting From Heaven “I started writing this play in 1998.  My dad found Olga Ivinskaya’s obituary in the newspaper and cut it out and handed it to me and said, “I know you like the movies. She just died!”  I read the obituary and there was such a fascinating life in it that I went and found her memoirs.  I did research on her, and over the next year or so, I put the play together.”

Courtesy/ABC

Scott on why soap fans would love to see the play: “It is a big sweeping epic romance.  Soap fans like romance that is one of the main reasons they watch the soaps.  In Lighting from Heaven, it’s a romance of a couple facing insurmountable odds.  It is about an extra-marital relationship as well!

Scott on what are the easiest types of soap characters for him to write for:  “After years of OLTL, it is usually easier for me to find the voice of a woman with a sharp tongue! (Laughs)  I loved those characters, and I love Carly on General Hospital after writing ‘One Life’s’ Dorian.  It’s the people who are more secretly witty and who you don’t expect to be funny in a certain way, like Sonny on GH and on Viki on ‘One Life’ that can be fun and challenging.  With Sonny, you picture him being sort of taciturn and brooding and every now and then, you get to let loose and so it was great finding that voice.”

Courtesy/ABC

Scott on some of the more challenging types of scenes to write for on GH thus far: “The really challenging scenes when I got them were between Jason Morgan and John McBain and for the two men to talk to each other. They don’t speak! (Laughs)  It was actually much easier to do once you got into it. And least those two characters only spoke to each other when they had to. So everything they said was important, and that was just great to try and figure out what those two men would actually say when they were in the same room with each other.  I guess I specialize in the voice of the taciturn men! (Laughs)”

Scott on writing for the character of Damian Spinelli:  “I was terrified at writing Spinelli, at first.  Then I got the hang of it, and then I was told we are making Spinelli sound less like Spinelli, and making him talk like a regular person with an intense vocabulary.  I spoke to GH writer Elizabeth Korte when I came on board at GH, and told her my biggest thing to figure out was … who is funny and how?  And one character that came up was Elizabeth.  You can’t be that beautiful, and suffer so horribly! (Laughs) She is often in those situations where she is heartbroken and then Maxie gets her in face and she sort of grits her teeth.  It’s so much fun to listen to and write for.”

Scott on writing for Maxie Jones as played by Jen Lilley and Kirsten Storms:  “I was happy to write for Maxie, and when we went from Jen Lilley to Kirsten Storms, I was wondering if there would be a sigfnicant change in the voices. I remember Kirsten being different from Jen, but when Kirsten came back, it sort of all clicked.   That was great.”

Lighting From Heaven runs from Valentine’s Day February 14th through March 9th for a limited engagement at the Workshop Theatre Company at 312 W. 36th Street 4th Floor in New York City.  To purchase ticket and show information visit workshoptheatre.org

What do you think about Scott’s comments about writing the characters of GH?  Let us know your thoughts!

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  1. Sheila says:

    Sounds like a wonderful play. I’ve always loved both the book and movie version of Doctor Zhivago.

    As for GH, I wish there would be more writing for and about Elizabeth.

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  2. vicki says:

    Great interview Michael. I love Scott’ s writing for OLTL…he wrote some great stuff for John and Natalie too, my favorite all-time couple. Now he’s doing some great stuff for GH. His play sounds great. Loved Dr.Zhivago so I’ ll have to get tickets for it.

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  3. Ann says:

    Carly Jacks in the same breath as Dorian Lord? Yeah, I don’t think so.

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    su0000 replied

    Dorian was sorta like Carly during her heyday ..
    Both young, rich , strong, and attracted to same type men and drama etc ..

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    Alison replied

    Totally agree with you, Ann. Dorian is a far more complex and interesting character than Carly could ever hope to be.

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  4. JEFFERY says:

    Scott Sickles is a modern-day Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Even Bette Davis would guest star on GH if she were still alive today.

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  5. heidi says:

    Fun interview Michael! I like understanding how challenging it may be to write for different characters and to get the character and actor’s voice appropriate for them and for them historically. The character of Damien Spinelli has to have been a challenge for people to write but they seem to be doing a great job transitioning him with age and experience. I love what has been happening with Carly. Enjoyed hearing the challenge of John and Jason… SB has always gotten flack for his robot like character and portrayel of Jason but it has to have been challenging to write and at times very challenging to emote to get that minimal voice to have come across so well.

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  6. Jim says:

    I feel Elizabeth has become the new Jessie Brewer. Jessie was an important character on GH from the beggining and shoved behind the desk in favor of the newbies. Except for a brief romance with Dan Rooney very little else was done with Jessie and i felt that was a waste for the vet who should have been treated better. Now Elizabeth dont get a thing to do. I think she should fall for A.J. just as Carly starts to fall for him too. At least that would be a start in getting liz back into the picture. Scott did a great job over at oltl and good things at gh too. Before this stuff with Prospect Park I was hoping GH did a brief story arc with OLTL’s David Vickers that revealed him to be the biological father of Damien Spinneli. David did once mention to Mathew he had a kid, and i imagined him to be someone as goofy as David and Spinneli would have been my choice. Scotts play sounds very interesting and i think it would make a great movie too.

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  7. Lisa says:

    Maxie’s story line in the prison was so annoying. I’d never wish a character off because I’d never wish anyone out of work as that is evil and nasty but every day she wasn’t on I thanked god and when she was I had to put it on mute as I had guests over who don’t watch the show complain about what an annoying whiner she was. Elizabeth needs to stop grinding her teeth, it’s just stupid, no one wants to see others get constantly bullied. I could write a book of all the comebacks I could dish out to Maxie not that I’d ever have someone like that around me.

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  8. Lisa says:

    this guy is from mars I can’t believe he’d actually say Elizabeth was funny because she was miserable and taunted by a shrill, annoying blond. Misery isn’t funny, people are empathetic and sympathetic, no one finds it funny when a character cries for months about her dead child, followed by being bullied by Maxie. It makes people sad then change it to Ellen.

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  9. Jim says:

    I think its time for them to change Maxis pad. Two rivals living in the same apartment with the man they love? Threes Not Company here, its a crowd. As neighbors ok but not roomies. Keeping them together like that this long is starting to stink, so i feel its time they change Maxis pad.

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  10. Alison says:

    What saddens me is that Mr. Sickles now has to pen Todd’s insta-love for Carly after writing so wonderfully for Todd and Blair. Luckily, I have a DVR and can fast forward through it.

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