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43 May 8th, 2015 Michelle Stafford Interview: What To Look For During General Hospital’s Live Shows!

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Harkening back to soap opera’s humble beginnings, when they were broadcast live across the country, ABC’s General Hospital is set for a two-day network television event when GH goes LIVE from its ABC Prospect Studios in Hollywood.  Under the direction of executive producer Frank Valentini, who was also a key part of One Life to Live’s successful live week back in 2002, General Hospital is set to deliver major story revelations and surprises when it goes live next Friday, May 15th, and the following Monday, May 18th.  Be on the lookout for a wedding, someone getting caught in the crossfire, twists and turns … and secrets!

Daytime Emmy Award winning actress Michelle Stafford is one of the key members of the cast that will be part of the action, and as she teases to On-Air On-Soaps, even she was shocked when she found out what was going to happen to her character of Nina Clay during the live shows.  So just how is this all going to be pulled off?  Do you think it will go off without a hitch, or will someone make a major flub?  Whatever the case, the cast will certainly be put through its paces, as they actually will be performing two sets of live shows back-to-back each day to air in most time zones (West Coast will get the playback of the live show).  During our chat, Michelle shares some insight about working with her scene partner Roger Howarth (Franco) during the live shows, and how she is looking forward to having more scenes in the future with Nina’s nemesis’: her mother Madeline (Donna Mills), and of course, Ava Jerome (Maura West).

So, GH fans fasten your seat belts!  The daytime drama series is touting that the live shows will truly propel the stories further, where anything and everything can happen live!  To be part of the conversation, make sure to join use #GHLive via social media during the two-episode event.  Here now is what Michelle shared to give us a glimpse into what’s ahead when GH goes live!

Michelle, you are the official General Hospital Live Shows representative! (Laughs)  What are your thoughts about GH tackling two live episodes?


MICHELLE:  I think it’s amazing.  I am really excited about it, and I think its going to be fun.  Obviously, I am in it! (Laughs)  Actors love this … we are crazy people.   We love walking on a tight-wire.  When I heard about the live shows I was told I was in it at the same time they told me what I was doing in it.  I was like “WHAAT?”  They told me what was happening and I thought, “Cool!”  Then they told me how it was happening, and I went, “Wait! What?”   They surprised me and I don’t get surprised.  You, Michael Fairman, and everyone will go, “Wait! What?”  And I will tell you this … no one saw it coming.  You definitely will not see it coming, but maybe, you will be pleased by it.  I have a feeling, you, Michael Fairman; will be like, “Wait!  How are they going to do this?”  I think then after that you will go, “Whoa,” and then I think you will say, because I know you, “OK, well this could go this way, or this could go this way.”

Are you in scenes with Roger Howarth (Franco) during it?

MICHELLE:  Yes, and then based on something I said to our head writer Ron Carlivati, he wrote a scene based on something I suggested between me and somebody else.  And I went, “Oh, my God. This is amazing!”

At this point, what do you think is happening with Nina?  Where is she at in her mind and in her life, and with Franco?


MICHELLE:  She is trying to make things work and she is a damaged little girl.  Nina is really in love with Franco, and completely in love.  I like the dynamic and what the Nina character does to the Franco character.  We definitely see a different side of Franco.  Roger Howarth is such a good actor and he is a leading man.  He is very beautiful and sensitive the way that he plays his character.  I think it’s interesting that the two of them are criminals and they’re crazy, and they’re off.  But I think there is this really interesting element that they find this beautiful and romantic love between them.  You will see a lot of that in the live shows, and the romantic side of their relationship.

I am sure Roger was thrilled to do the live shows because he is so spontaneous anyways during his scenes!

MICHELLE:  Yes, he is.  They have certainly given him quite the challenge.  I think three people are really challenged during the live shows, and Roger is one of them.  We are all challenged, but three different people, in my estimation, reading the scripts back and forth I was like “Wow! That is some tough stuff you gotta do live!”

How are the live shows being rehearsed?  What is the schedule for the cast?

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MICHELLE:  We are rehearsing all day next Thursday, and then Friday we do the shows.  Then we rehearse after that and into the evening, and then I am supposed to be at Nadia Bjorlin’s (Chloe, DAYS) wedding that my daughter Natalia is in.  So, Natalia will be going.  She will be Uber-ing there. (Laughs)  I am kidding!  She won’t be Uber-ing. (Laughs)  But, I will go be able to attend Nadia’s wedding reception, obviously.

Don’t you think the audience and the GH fans want to see someone screw up during the live shows?

MICHELLE:  Don’t you?   Do you want to see a screw up … or, do you want to say, “I think a person just screwed up their lines?”  Seriously, there are a couple of areas I can pretend that I totally screwed up, and the audience will go, “Was that intentional, or not?”

When One Life to Live did their live week, which is the archetype for the GH shows, it went very smoothly, actually.

Photo Credit: ABC

MICHELLE:  It will probably go smooth, because you know how we shoot.   We basically have the mindset of being live every day.  We go up on our lines sometimes.  But because we have all these rehearsals, we will all be perfect on our dialog.  We will be rehearsing all day Thursday from early morning to late morning.  I also, which drives some of my co-stars crazy, throw stuff out there at the last minute and see if they can catch it.  Some of my co-stars dig it, and some of my co-stars don’t dig it so much.  I think underneath they do dig it, and they may make fun of me, but I think they like the challenge.

Maura West and you, as Ava and Nina have been so amazing in scenes together.  Do you think at some point GH will pick back up that on-screen vendetta, and the two of you will have more scenes together?


MICHELLE:  I am sure we will.  Those two women are not at a good place with each other, but there is simpatico between them, even though Nina hates her!  I don’t think she will ever be supportive of her.

Donna Mills (Madeline) is back at General Hospital!  At the Daytime Emmys she revealed that this time out, she thinks viewers will learn more as to why Madeline is the way she is.   What are your thoughts on Madeline and Nina’s mother/daughter steely relationship, especially as we head into Mother’s Day this weekend? (Laughs)

MICHELLE:  Donna and I were talking, and there was a moment in a scene when I decided to hug her and she doesn’t do anything.  She just stands there. This was stuff that aired months ago.  I thought that was such a good moment and so “Ordinary People” that Mary Tyler Moore moment in the film.  I said, “That’s their relationship!”  I also said to Donna the other day that we should discuss with Ron and Frank (Valentini) what are the elements that make up these women.  We saw the first part of their relationship, but now I think the audience wants to know:  What is up with Nina and why is she this way?  Why is Madeline like this?  Why do they hate each other?  What did happen between them?  I think you want to see that to bring a human element to these characters.

So, what do you think about General Hospital’s upcoming live shows? What do you think is going to happen to Nina Clay during it?  Who will get married?  Who will get caught in the crossfire?  Are you rooting for Franco and Nina to stay together?   Comment below on what Michelle previewed during our chitchat!

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  1. Lou Piikes says:

    Franco and Nina are cuckoo for cocoa puffs. They both can star in their version of two people who flew over the cuckoos nest.


    Stefan replied



    brenda byrd replied


    CeeCee replied

    Maybe…but I am completely under their spell. I love this couple to the moon and back.
    It is time for Michelle to be an adult, writers!!! Show her stuff, now!!! Tout-de-suite.
    I am so happy she is finally appearing on the GH stage as I am accustomed to see her. Stylishly dressed and in-your-face esprit. And, that willowy figure? Wow!!
    I am thankful that Ms Mills is coming back. We need to understand the dynamics between mother and daughter. I do think there is love there, but obviously something went awry for having created this angst…this antagonism…this distance between them.
    Maddie’s stay will not be prolonged, so I hope she and Nina will finally let it all out…whatever it is. Nina will be much more receptive at this point, yes? I mean, she is ‘cured’, yes?
    This is one storyline I await with excitement and hope for a very very happy ending. Well, I would love to have Kristen back as Kiki, and for her to be Nina’s long, lost baby. There is always the possibility that Maddie is back for this very tumultuous revelation.


    CeeCee replied

    As I re-read my post I realized that I did not make clear that the rift between Nina and her mother must have existed pre-coma. The contempt and repugnance which we have witness from Nina toward her mother after her “awakening” ( in more ways than one), that is; Nina is now aware of what her mother did to her and her baby, is merely only one reason, albeit the biggest.
    This enmity and resentment goes deep into the past….perhaps as far as when Nina was still a child. I think Maddie kept Nina under lock and key ( figuratively speaking) as a child and beyond. I also believe that Nina went through something very traumatic ….thus, the childlike behavior.
    However, we are beginning to see a more mature Nina….a more stable Nina; contrary to Shay’s estimation…LOL. Okay , Shay, I can practically see your ears perk up….I can hear your brain thinking of a fitting response…double LOL.
    Just teasing, Shay, girl! I do hope she will not be recast, though. Michelle has too much to offer, …..Timmm said it for me. All she needs is a ‘custom-made’ storyline with the right dialogue and the right direction.
    I have watched her in action since I was a young teen……she has always wowed me, even as a starry-eyed kid. And, albeit the fact that Harry believes that Gina Tognoni represents the Phyllis character in a better light than Michelle, I must respectfully disagree. Gina overacts….tries too hard. Her dramatic entrance and departure into and from a scene are forced….a spectacle, not spectacular. But, Michelle’s Phyllis? Oh my!….the natural fluidity of her motions……the flair in which she exited a room caught and held the viewer’s attention…one could not help follow those sinewy, feline movements. I wanted to be her…!! Regrettably I stopped growing …LOL.

    Patrick replied

    “… I am completely under their spell. ”


    Michelle Stafford and Roger Howarth… are their own show… and magnanimous


  2. Jimh(leave it to beaver) says:

    Maybe there will be flubs on the live show that will be more entertaining than the flubs on the taped shows…lol…soooooo many dead eps so i look forward to the live ones…lol…i suppose Franco and Nina will get married—hope Heather is their and cuts the wedding cake and Ninas throat…lol…OMG, i sound like su talking about Sharon and Y&R…lol


    su0000 replied

    Jimh, good one lol
    I luv Franco and Nina !!!
    they are an interesting, intriguing, entertaining couple..
    Franco and Nina are indeed totally out of the box of soap couple (a rare couple) a rare love ..
    Roger and Michelle are magic together..

    Roger is a humorous guy, I’m sure he will give us some of his own throwin words lol


    CeeCee replied

    What you said, Su.
    I love this couple.
    I am still patiently waiting for the Kiki reveal..

    Torqumada replied

    No one – no one – brings crazy like Heather and I love crazy.

    She’s been a great add. Looking forward to what’s next.


    AJQ replied

    Sorry, but this interview reinforces everything I dislike about Franco and Nina and a lot of it stems from the actors and their approach. I don’t like watching schtick and that’s what I see, actors doing schtick. It takes them out of the character and it makes the character less believable if believable at all.

    That is evidenced when Ms. Stafford says “there are a couple of areas I can pretend that I totally screwed up, and the audience will go, “Was that intentional, or not?” If that is the reaction you are going for, you are no longer presenting a character to the audience, you are an actor doing stuff and relating to the audience outside of the character. That may work if you’re doing skits on SNL. It’s the same thing with Howarth.

    When she says she drives some of her co-stars crazy because she likes to just throw stuff out there, to see if her co-stars can handle it, it tells me even more. It’s one thing to improvise a bit, but if it is driving your scene partners crazy, you’re doing it wrong. There needs to be give and take and how often do we hear actors talk about other actors being “generous” and “giving.” Throwing things out there to “test” your co stars is neither and the fact that she admits that most don’t like it, tells you something.


    jb44 replied

    I couldn’t disagree with you more. Nina and Franco are magical together. When they are on, I never fast forward. I hope the writers figure out a way to redeem their characters. Roger Howarth and Michelle Stafford are two of the best actors on television. They are so spontaneous and never seem to be just reciting lines, like some of the other actors. I can’t get enough of them.

    su0000 replied

    Michell was referring to the ”live” show ..
    Not the day to day regular shows ..

  3. Ann says:

    I wanted to see Michael Easton in the live shows. I guess not. Where Is Dr Silas Clay? I and a bunch of his fans want and need to know why he is not being used more.


    GH-er replied

    I’m wondering about this, too. Silas is not integrated into the GH canvas at all and I can’t figure out why.

    Love Franco but cannot abide the Nina character – still, I am looking forward to GH live. I think it will be fun to watch.


  4. Sllison says:

    Can’t wait for the live show excited and looking forward to it wonder who will get married wow excited.


  5. Kalle says:

    As I heard of the live episodes, I thought they’d show other actors from GH. So it’s going to be about Nina and Franco. Would they stick to their lines? The episode is going to be different, I am sure.


  6. Stefan says:

    Really do not care for Stafford’s character at all.


  7. Kevin says:

    Laughing at Michelle’s responses above… at times, she sounds like Nina magically thinking out loud! :) Looking forward to what they all have in store. BREAK A LEG, ALL!


  8. Lady Truth says:

    I like Nina and Franco and I was rooting for them but I think their relationship is going to be over very soon. I think both characters will be moving on to other people.


  9. Timmm says:

    Michelle is SO talented. I hope they figure out how to properly write her. She alludes to being shocked on her character twist so maybe they are re imagining Nina Clay?


    Shay replied

    Sorry, Timmm, but the only way to “reimagine” Nina is to recast her….an action of which I would heartily approve!!!! (I know, I know… won’t like this suggestion, nor will CeeCee!!!! LOL….)


    Timmm replied

    Well Shay, I loved Michelle on Y&R BUT she is really talented and would want to keep her. However, this is one of Frank’s few miscues, the character Nina is a bust! They either figure out how to use her or send her packing. No recast. Same with Franco. I hate that character but love Roger.

  10. Rod says:

    Of course the west coast gets screwed again


  11. janet says:

    I think I will skip it. So far the characters I don’t care about are the ones going to appear. So Michaelle and Howarth both throw stuff out. No wonder I just FF all their scenes.


  12. ediebailey says:

    Thanks for this great interview. I love Franco and Nina. Roger Howarth and Michelle Stafford are daytime legends and have formed a truly magical soap opera super couple (and they haven’t even made love yet). Having followed Roger in daytime for over 20 years, he is my main reason for watching GH and I have sorely missed seeing Franco and Nina recently. Last we saw, she actually threw him out of their Metro Court suite. Therefore, it’s wonderfully reassuring to read Michelle’s view points on the state of their relationship. Nothing would be more marvelous than to witness Franco and Nina exchanging wedding vows on the upcoming live shows!!! Michelle and Roger are absolutely phenomenal performers and their characters deserve more screen time and a long reign as General Hospital’s #1 love story!!! Thanks again.


    ediebailey replied

    Mea Culpa: I forgot the salient fact that Nina is still married to Silas Clay so there cannot be any nuptials between Nina and Franco at this point.

    Plus, it seems that Franco and NIna are currently scripted for a rather stormy relationship scenario including insults, mistrust and seeking forgiveness.
    Again, sorry for my mistake.


  13. Patrick says:

    “… Nina is really in love with Franco, and completely in love. I like the dynamic and what the Nina character does to the Franco character. We definitely see a different side of Franco. Roger Howarth is such a good actor and he is a leading man. He is very beautiful and sensitive the way that he plays his character. ”

    this is thee answer: and, why… this pair is leading

    it’s two powerhouses… who, are worth waiting for… but… at the same time… are taking too long! and it’s more for MS’.

    GH has supercouples … moving :

    Nikolas and Hayden : are stirring ALL my senses !!!! YES… keep them! Tyler Christopher is dynamic… welcome Rebecca Buddig.. isn’t she the teasingly “dangerous” counterpart to Nikolas stamina… and world turns his way

    Jake and Liz: romance… love… teasing… force … being a part of something
    that they can’t control? they have already solidified this twosome… when Jake finds out… it won’t matter… his heart already knows… draw this out GH production… just to see Rebecca Herbst layer !!! fiesty, fierce, foible, bitch back… take us with her

    Franco and Nina : GET THIS PAIR trusting each other… and loving each other… with lust, fire, passion, unrequited !!! it’s them against the world… and they’ll win

    do it now!!!! Mac and Felicia forefront frontburner… take the time to figure out a story for these two… it’s history veteran magic… I love them…. Felicia

    sigh! I dont’ know yet what’s going on with Duke… tears… couples who have it… and if this is Anna tragic … then i’m in… just wish … WISH it was not at the expense of thee forever Ian Buchanon

    Carly and Ric Lansing : !!!! ??? huh? whats to figure ? this works… I don’t know… you can’t tell me… with this new team… of RC/FV that they;ve done anything worthwhile with Carly…

    i’m sorry that Wally Kurth’ Ned is leaving the show… i’m sorry that it’s at the demise ?? and expense once again… of Lisa LuCicero’ FUN from the bronx… Olivia… she would be so MUCH BETTER with Julian… than will tread over and over… Alexis…

    MORGAN: with? Ava…. recast kiki… with Kelly Missal ! please… you want sexual

    Brad and Lucas : dang ! it works for me… where’s that waterfront clinic… so Lucas can be featured more… make Brad a nurse along with lab tech… just to see these two working together

    couple w/ honorable mention??? just not on the same tier as above mention

    Sean and Jordan
    Maxie and Nathan
    Lulu and Dante

    potential : I like Sabrina w/Michael… tone down his machismo… and loud behaviour like Carly… just doesnt add up….

    I LOVE Michelle Stafford and Roger Howarth


    Patrick replied

    Ava and Silas : sure, why not… a mature relationship… that Ava will route… because she’s recuperating, on the mend, and all she knows is her daughters… and fills Silas with….

    but… once up and running… she runs in to Sonny ! LOL

    if GH has to keep Sonny… he does work it with Ave(s) (2)


    Patrick replied

    dang! (Jon Lindstrom) Kevin

    and : Brandon Barash : Johnny Z

    would be good RIGHT about now

    Patrick replied

    ” I “love” Carlos”

    Jeffrey Vincent Parise

    can do it

    drama, comedic, foible… mix… draw… turn… and dang! all of it

    I see Carly , Sabrina, Rosalie.. Valerie… Ava…

    LOL any one missing…

    the guys gush about him… ie: the actors … in SOD issue


    Patrick replied

    ie: can you imagine : if Kiki was again recast with the acclaimed Kelly MIssal

    should blew me away on the nuOLTL

    she acts gangbusters and takes

    as Dani, she had two of the best fathers…. Todd and Victor…. or vice versa

    dynamic stuff

    picture her on GH as Kiki… her OWN two mothers… Ava and Nina


    POWERful scenes and big time stuff


    CeeCee replied

    Oh, my gosh, Patrick! Kelley Missal would be perfect. Why didn’t I think of her? I loved her as Dani…how ironic though, …. Starr’s sister !

  14. Nick D. says:

    Can’t get enough of Nina and Franco. Hope Ron finds a way to integrate them into some of the main storylines so they are not always off to the side as they have been for some time. They deserve to be front and center along with the likes of Sonny, Carly, Jake, Liz, Nikolas, etc.


    Patrick replied

    I don’t know about “integrating” them … as these two are so heated, disliked by all of Port Charles

    I posted about : Franco (aka Todd) owning or taking over that magazine or newspaper ??? was it “the Crimson magazine” that he tookover from Connie ???

    why not have Franco and Nina …. as a newspaper team… magnates …. in your face Port Charles residents… nothing goes unnoticed by this duo… as this commanding duo “learn” report … and use to their advantage … and build an empire that only these two should


    Nick D. replied

    I like that idea a lot. Not sure TPTB would be willing to put Franco in charge of a newspaper because they’re still embroiled in the Todd/Starr/McBain lawsuit, but if they made Nina the owner and Franco a reporter that would work.

    CeeCee replied

    I think that would be a great storyline, Patrick. Once Nina recovers her assets, the sky’s the limit.
    I would love to see her and Franco as a team in the workplace.
    Furthermore, what Nick D. said.

    Patrick replied

    I should rephrase that… as these two powerhouses… irregardless of like or wont

    will take over


    once the court frees up Nina’ inheritance…

    there’s no stopping this magical duo….. can’t wait


  15. Jenn says:

    Happy to see my new favorite couple Nina and Franco will bit on the live shows! Can’t wait the watch!


  16. Jason W says:

    So Michelle Stafford said she likes to “throw stuff out there at the last minute” Kind of like that time she SPIT in Victoria Rowell’s face on The Young & Restless….hmm ok girl


  17. Elaine says:

    I know that Roger Howarth will be totally awesome. He was great on OLTL when it went live so I know in my heart he will be awesome again. He is a professional, I am so curious who the other two who is to be challenged in this show. Can’t wait to see it. I love this show and love Roger.


  18. Linda says:

    Love Roger, do not like Nina at all!!


  19. Jeanne Meurer says:

    I am pumped over the live shows. Only thing, wish we could have seen it here on the west coast. Am sure,
    everything will go smoothly, because they the players are terrific in their roles, and the audiences all over will have a blast. Thank you Messrs Valentini and Carlivati for your genius


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