The 2016 GH Nurses’ Ball is always fraught with drama amidst the musical performances, and this year is no exception, when at the end of Wednesday’s installment things are not looking good for same-sex couple, Lucas (Ryan Carnes) and Brad (Parry Shen).
After finally being able to set a wedding date, and to have it be officiated and presided over by Lucy Coe (Lynn Herring) smack dab in the middle of the annual hospital fundraiser for HIV/AIDS research, all systems were go for the grooms to say their, “I do’s”. But there is only one major hitch! Lucas is MIA when the ceremony starts! Brad has no idea what is happening, and we find Dr. Jones a victim of a syringe lying flat out on the hospital floor of his mother, Bobbie’s (Jackie Zeman) room. Can these guys ever catch a break?
On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Ryan Carnes and Parry Shen, who have made not-often-enough-seen Brucas, one of the beloved duos of the ABC daytime drama series. Ryan and Parry share their thoughts on their alter-egos highly-anticipated nuptials, the fast-spreading fan fervor that Ryan might be killed off, and what to expect as the Nurses’ Ball picks up on Thursday’s episode, and how it was for Parry to perform in the GH Rap opening number.
The guys also shared what have been their favorite scenes to date, if it’s difficult for them when the show doesn’t utilize their characters more, and how they have developed their working relationship into a very unique one. And, they attempt to answer the age-old question: what ever happened to Rosalie (Linda Elena Tovar), and what was the secret? Funny, charming, and candid, here’s what Ryan and Parry had to say about their on-screen wedding gone off the rails, and more!
Parry, you performed in the opening number at the Nurses’ Ball with a group of your cast mates and dancers, The GH Rap. It was supposedly a nod to the Broadway smash musical Hamilton with a General Hospital twist to it, rapping about the history of GH with shout-outs to some legacy characters, and moments. What happened when you found out this year you would not be doing a solo number, as per usual, but instead being part of this rap?
PARRY: When I found out I was performing at the Nurses’ Ball, I just always try to get a jump on whatever song I am going to be covering and learn it as quickly as possible in the shortest amount of time. But this time they said there are no lyrics yet, so you are going to have to hold off, because we are doing this number inspired by the musical Hamilton, and there will be a GH history rap. I went, “Whoa!” When we got the lyrics, I learned a lot about GH history. I knew about some of the big things like Dr. Hardy, but I didn’t know about a Lassa Fever! I remember Tyler Christopher (Nikolas) was sitting in the front row during rehearsals and he said, “Did you guys say, Lassa Fever? I had that!” (Laughs) The rap certainly educated us about things we weren’t present for. Usually, Brad’s performances have been him showing up on stage at the last minute. I was always able to squirrel out of choreography, because Brad never had time to be in synch with the guys, or dancers, because he just had to do what he had to do. I couldn’t do that this time, because it was with the entire group. I had enormous respect for the other dancers for making me look good. I was always watching them out of the corner of my eye to stay on the count, because I can’t get in synch if I am by myself. So, it was great working with pros. We had four full days of rehearsal for the GH rap opening number.
What did you think of the plot point, when you learned that the writers were going to have Brad and Lucas get married during the GH Nurses’ Ball? Many fans, who loved the characters, have expressed that all of a sudden this marriage is happening when they had been off-screen for a while.
PARRY: I think it’s a good full circle point, because that is where Brad proposed. It’s a good place for it to happen, having that the fans have not seen us on-screen for a while.
Ryan, what did Lucas think when he asks his father Julian (William deVry) to be his best man, and he turned him down?
RYAN: He was obviously disappointed, and that was explicit in his reaction. Lucas says he showed up for his father, and now he asking him to show up for him, and he is not doing it. Even though his dad has told Lucas that he loves him, and accepts him for who he is, that is still a fairly recent wound that is healing. You know the lack of a father figure, and the way they started off about Lucas’ sexuality. I think that is still a pretty raw place for Lucas, and so for his dad to say “no”, it triggers that. At the same time, Lucas wants to give his dad the benefit of the doubt. He wants to believe he is a good man, and he wants to believe Julian will stay on the straight and narrow, and that he has got his back. For better or worse, and whether or not Lucas has poor judgment and looking at things through rose-colored glasses, or not, he does have his dad’s back. I think his reaction is tempered by, “Well, you know, OK I get it. I am going to support my dad, and let him do what he needs to do. I’m a big boy. I can handle it myself, and surely somebody will step up and be that person,” and that person turned out to be Sam (Kelly Monaco).
One of your most memorable scenes, that I always come back to, is Lucas professing his love to Brad by jumping on the nurse’s station desk in front of those in the hospital at the time. It was poignant, and funny, and just a perfect moment. What are your thoughts on that scene looking back at it now?
RYAN: I do think it’s one of the best scenes we have had together, because some of the best moments in life are when we make big bold choices, and make bold decisions, and throw caution to the wind, and dare to be a fool. That was a moment when Lucas dared to be a fool, and it paid off. I personally think it was a little bit of an homage to 80’s movies when gestures like that were done pretty regularly, such as the guy outside the girl’s window with a beat box. It definitely was one of our most memorable scenes together, for sure.
PARRY: I agree. I see that scene in a lot of the wonderful fan compilations, and I think it was when Brad and Lucas were on the same page for the first time, and out in the open publicly. It was Lucas going out of his comfort zone, and it was really endearing that they were both connecting on that level. It was great.
It’s been interesting, because now Brad has been the one concerned about having this public display at the ball, when before Lucas was the one who was so closed off with his feelings.
PARRY: Even though Brad makes these public gestures of affections to Lucas, he has always wanted it to be more downplayed, and that it is something that he wanted it to be … more intimate. However, he also sees where Lucas is coming from. There is also a lot of guilt that Brad is carrying around, because it was on his end with his marriage to Rosalie, which couldn’t allow Brad and Lucas’ marriage to move forward as quickly as they wanted. He is going to make some compromises to what he thinks the perfect wedding should be. So he is onboard once Lucas pleaded his case.
The wedding does not go off as planned. Bobbie is down. Lucas stumbles upon her passed out backstage, and off we go into a perilous situation. Ryan, fill us in from your point of view the moments that led to Lucas getting a syringe in his neck, and then lying flat out on the floor in Bobbie’s hospital room!
RYAN: Lucas acts quickly after he sees his mother, and says he has to get Bobbie to the hospital, besides her protests! He gets her to the hospital, and gets her checked-in and stabilized. She says, “You’ve got to go! You have a wedding to be at!” Lucas is like, “You’re crazy. I am not leaving your side. You are in the hospital.” She pulls out her mom card, and says, “No. You are going to go. You’re not going to miss this. I will be fine.” So, Lucas takes off. However, he realizes he left his car keys in her room. So he goes back to her room to get the car keys, and she is asleep. The lights are off. There is a weird man or woman … we don’t really know which … standing over Bobbie’s bed with a needle. Lucas sees this. So he says, “What are you doing?” The mysterious person slams Lucas against the door, and stabs the needle into his neck, and then Lucas is down for the count.
PARRY: At this point Brad is at the ball, and on stage waiting for the other groom. Lucy introduced one groom, and then introduced the other one, and he is not coming to the stage.
RYAN: I didn’t even know that happened! (Laughs) I had no idea that was a scene.
PARRY: Yeah! So Brad is standing there, and the show cuts out, and that is the cliffhanger.
I know! That was such an “Awwww” moment! We felt so bad for Brad … and Lucas!
PARRY: Lucas had the presence of mind in the midst of everything to tell Nurse Amy Driscoll (Risa Dorken): “Hey! Tell Brad I had to take my mom to the hospital.” But of course, she is busy taking a selfie, and says she will tell him, but she never does! So Brad does not know what is going on, and of course, a lot of things are going through his head … maybe Lucas changed his mind …
RYAN: Risa was hilarious when we shot it! It was perfect, because I didn’t know she was going to be so seamlessly ridiculous in taking her selfie! (Laughs) It’s really funny!
PARRY: It was so dismissive! (Laughs)
There is going to be some developments in this story, especially now that some mysterious substance has gotten injected into Lucas!
RYAN: Right now, everyone thinks that Lucas is going to die.
Where the heck has Rosalie (Linda Elena Tovar) been in all of this?
PARRY: We don’t know. That was a casualty of the writing regime change, and they never went back to it.
Rosalie did give Brad a divorce, obviously, but we don’t know how that all went down, correct?
PARRY: Right, but actually there was a scene that Ryan and I were supposed to shoot where I explain all of this stuff, and a little bit more about what happened with the divorce, but the episode ran long, and they cut that out entirely. I don’t think there are any plans to even shoot it anymore. Originally, Rosalie and Brad got married, because they knew something about each other, and this way they couldn’t testify against each other, so that would protect them, basically. But, what that secret was that they had with each other was never revealed to any of us.
What do you think Brad will do when he finds out what actually happened to Lucas, and why he did not make it to their nuptials? I would think he will be very upset!
PARRY: I think everything will eventually make sense to Brad, but just at the spur-of-the-moment when he is up there on stage, he doesn’t know. But, once he does find out the reason, he just cares about the welfare of Bobbie and Lucas.
Ryan, what has it been like cultivating the on-screen pairing of Lucas and Brad? And, how is Parry to work with? He’s OK, right? (Laughs)
RYAN: Parry is such a diva (laughs), and so difficult to work with! (Laughs)
So, what happened when they told you that Parry was going to be your leading man?
RYAN: I welcomed it, and I did not know Parry before, nor did we ever work together before. But I think I looked him up on IMDB, and I then knew he had a resume a mile long, and he had been working in the industry for a long time, and he had a comedy background, which was cool. I like working with actors who can find the comedy in the drama. I think it’s crucial, and necessary in this genre. I try to find the humor whenever I can, because if not, it just gets too heavy. The soaps lend itself to the melodramatic, which is fine, because that is the genre and that’s what we’re doing. In terms of having a preference, and people have asked me this before, “Did you want your love interest to be Marc Anthony Samuel (Felix) or Parry?” I didn’t care. I just wanted it to be whoever the writers wanted it to be, and whoever was going to make the story be fun, and be good, and I think we have achieved that. It’s all good, and it works for me!
Parry, what happened when you found that Ryan Carnes was going to be your leading man?
PARRY: No comment! (Laughs) The very first day that Ryan and I met, it was the day we had the scene where Lucas comes in and says, “Hey, I missed you. You got out of bed so early.” And then Lucas ends up going in for this kiss with Brad, and the audience is like, “What the heck is that? Who is this?” I can say, just from rehearsals, Ryan was full on 100% with that kiss! (Laughs) And I was like, “OK! This guy’s ready to go!”
RYAN: I remember that! (Laughs) I didn’t realize it was a rehearsal. I thought we were taping, and so I committed fully to the kiss. And then they said, “OK, that’s a cut on rehearsal!” Then everyone on set crack’s up. I was like, “Oh! Uh … sorry about that Parry!”
PARRY: It was at that moment that I saw that Ryan was game to delve into these characters without hesitation. We were both fully committed, and willing to get straight to the work without darting around it, which is hard even if I was kissing someone from the opposite sex. It’s awkward, touching, and being that intimate with someone after just meeting them. But, I thought this was going to be good. When the whole triangle happened I did not know how it would end up. I thought the most conventional way for it to go was to have Felix and Lucas pair up. But it was a nice surprise that it ended up as Brad and Lucas, because that was not how one would think it would go, based on face value. But either way, it would have been fun and cool, with Brad then becoming even more of a prick, because he is so jilted! (Laughs). We are just here to service the story as much as we can when we are needed.
Is that frustrating for you guys to know that … or are you OK with it?
PARRY: It doesn’t matter how we feel about it, it’s up to the powers-that-be. It’s their playing field, and so it’s really about how they want to use us. We are not contract players, so they don’t owe us anything, and on that end we are free to do what we want. We are not solely bound to GH. Now, if they want to put us on contract with a different kind of commitment then that’s a different story, but we are recurring players. I am just so glad to be here, and to be the custodian of these characters, and be there when they need us. We are going to try to knock it out of the park whenever we can.
RYAN: And I would like to add, with respect to the relationship of Lucas and Brad, and Ryan and Parry, there is this interesting dynamic between us, and you know how they say, ‘opposites attract’. There are certain ways, when we are on set working together, that we are totally like a couple, because when we go up to set for blocking I will forget a pen or pencil or something, but Parry always has a pen or pencil. He is always super-prepared and super-organized. And, at this point I have surrendered to the fact that this is the dynamic between us in the relationship! (Laughs) So, I don’t feel bad asking anymore, “Hey Parry. Um, what did they say we are supposed to do here?” (Laughs) Because, I know Parry has it written down. I am less organized, and a bit more scattered, and more fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants. But I know Parry’s got my back! (Laughs) There have actually been incidences like that where I go, “Oh, we are operating as a couple.”
As the characters were in more scenes together it was noticeable through Brad’s reactions to Lucas, that the relationship has sort of softened him around the edges, and he has shown signs of being less of a prick. Did you find that as well through your time together on-screen?
PARRY: I think it helped the more we hang around together, and have that dynamic that Ryan was talking about. I have said this before about the scene you mentioned before, where Lucas gets on top of the nurse’s station and professes his love to Brad. It is very powerful, and is one of my favorites. But another one of my favorites is when Brad and Lucas were poking fun at Patrick Drake (formerly Jason Thompson) saying, “When are you going to put that ring on Sam’s finger?” We are exchanging barbs, and it wasn’t anything that really moved the story along, but it was fun to do, and it was finding that rhythm between us.
I think hankies may be in order shortly. Do you think we should expect Brad to rush to Lucas’ side when he finds out why his fiancé’ left him standing on stage during their wedding?
PARRY: I would say that is very likely, yes!
What was your favorite musical number when you watched the taping of the Nurses’ Ball this year?
PARRY: I really liked “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” performed by Wally Kurth and Brooklyn Rae Silzer, as Ned and Emma. It really worked well.
Ryan, are you upset you weren’t in the Magic Milo and the Magic Wands strip tease number this year?
RYAN: Well … (Laughs)
PARRY: … Lucas was supposed to, but in the story they had to find a sub, when he gets called away. That is Matt Cohen, the newbie (laughs), who filled in!
Wait! How did you feel about not being in the number, Ryan? (Laughs)
RYAN: Oh, I was so disappointed! (Laughs).
PARRY: He was thinking about all the sit-ups he couldn’t do anymore in preparation for the big number! (Laughs)
Finally, what are the fans tweeting to you the most on right now on Twitter? What is their reaction currently to what has been rumored, or what they saw on-air thus far in the 2016 GH Nurses’ Ball episodes?
RYAN: Right now, everybody doesn’t want Lucas to die! In terms of the couple, I think everyone agrees they have been waiting for them to get married for quite some time now.
PARRY: They are basically tweeting to me, “Well, we probably won’t see you ever again, if Lucas is gone.” They saw what happened to my screen time once Britt (Kelly Thiebaud) was gone. I would say that would be a pretty accurate assessment if it happens. It’s like a domino affect, if one is gone; the other is gone, too. Who knows? The writers might be paying attention going, “Ooh, maybe we should keep them around for the ratings, and for the next sweeps!” I have been reading the message boards and they are mostly saying: “Can we just have Brad die, and Lucas not?” (Laughs) That’s because Lucas is a legacy character, and Bobbie has lost a child before, and so a lot of people are angry right now, going, “I’m done with this show if they kill Lucas.”
So, what do you think will happen to Lucas and Brad’s nuptials when the Nurses’ Ball picks up on Thursday? Will Lucas survive, or did he receive a fatal injection? Will Brad lose the love of his life, just as they were about to tie-the-knot? Will Lucas somehow still make it to his wedding? What did you think about what Ryan and Parry shared about their on-screen chemistry and working relationship, and favorite scenes? Do you wish GH would utlize Lucas and Brad on-screen more often? Share your thoughts on their interview in the comment section below!