May 14th, 2010  |  Leave a comment

The Ron Carlivati and Kristen Alderson Interviews – One Life to Live

Today is the kick-off of the three-day musical event, and the highly anticipated culmination of May Sweeps on One Life to LiveStarr X’d Lovers. Yes, there will be plenty of singing, dancing, and lots of drama, especially for most of the couples in Llanview.  Starr X’d Lovers is the sequel to One Life’s successful, Prom Night: The Musical, which at its center featured the love story of Starr and Cole.  But in 2010, many lives on the canvas are intertwined, and the lives of the young set, and some of the shows most popular couples, could be changed forever.

On-Air On-Soaps spoke to two of the key ingredients in bringing the musical to the small screen.  First, we spoke with head writer, Ron Carlivati, to preview what lies ahead for many of the characters from Prom Night and beyond.  We also discuss the rumors that circulated on the return of Jean Passanante to the writing team at One Life, and what that meant for Ron.  Getting the insight into the intentions and the purpose behind certain writing choices is always a must- read for any avid soap fan, and Ron explains some of the components and decisions made to the stories you have been watching, and have wondered where they may be headed.

Next, we spoke with the central character of Starr X’d Lovers, Starr Manning herself, actress Kristen Alderson.  The talented young actress gives the perspective from the performer’s point of view, of putting the three-day musical event from the page to the stage and on to tape.  Kristen also teases what Prom Night 2010 holds for Starr, Cole, Langston, Ford, Dani, Matthew, and Markko!

So, let’s start with the man who gives One Life its voice (not the singing kind)…Ron Carlivati… and then follow it up with some chitchat with the sensational Kristen.

MICHAEL:

Before we get started Ron, can you comment on Bree Williamson’s Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress?  The pivotal scenes, where Jessica remembers switching the babies, were riveting.  Did you write those scenes that got her the nod?

RON:

Courtesy/ABC

I loved that story, and I even think Bree should have won last year.  I am crossing my fingers.  From the material that she submitted, I wrote part of it.  I really loved those scenes, where she has to break through from Bess to get to Jessica.  I thought they were both so emotional and so outstanding… both Erika Slezak (Viki) and Bree

MICHAEL:

Now, One Life will have many intersecting stories and dilemmas facing the major couples on the show in the next few weeks.  Was this the plan with Starr X’d Lovers?

RON:

When we pitched the idea of doing another musical, because we had such fun doing the last one, we had to make sure if we were doing it during May Sweeps, it was not just, “let’s stop everything… and have everyone sing for a couple of days.”  It had to advance story and affect story.  For Starr, it is a significant moment in her life.  It is her Senior Prom.  We wanted to have an event going around it on the show to make this feel big.  It is the prom night and the culmination of people who are at critical junctures in their love stories.  Cristian and Layla – has Layla had enough of this teen Jessica? (Laughs)  Jessica sees this as her last chance to get Cristian.  Brody sees it as his last chance to break through to Jessica.  Starr is heading to this prom, and Cole is in jail and it seems doomed.  Can they be together?  Langston has been cheating all of this time, and is this the night she will tell Marrko everything?  As well, we have a new little love story, sort of how we launched Marrko and Langston a few years ago at prom, and that is with Destiny and Darren (Laughs).  She finds him to be a total pest, and maybe she needs to see him in a different light at the prom.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

How did you intend Nate’s character to be when you created him?  He was brought in as a foil for Matthew for the affections for Dani.  But is he going to be a good guy or could he turn into another town bad boy?  

RON:

We are already seeing this draw that Dani feels towards him.  I think you will see even more of it at the prom, and as we go into the summer.  I think she feels an attraction and connection with this boy that is going to pull her and Matthew apart.  He does seem to be a very sweet boy who seems to be very soulful. We will get to know more about him and his background, and where he comes from, as we get into the summer.  Jessica Leccia (Inez) will be coming on as his mom.  So, you will get to know more about his background, and some of the actions that he and Dani take over the summer will have a big effect for several people on the canvas.

MICHAEL:

As we head into the musical episodes, we also see that Natalie and John are at a critical juncture!

RON:

Courtesy/ABC

We tried to have other stories surrounding this musical that were not just the kids.  Because the theme of the show is Starr X’D Lovers, another pair like that is John and Natalie. They have their own critical moment and that is, Natalie decides she is leaving town and does not want to be in Llanview constantly under John and Marty’s nose.  So, I think she knows herself well enough to say, “I can stay away from them.”  But, I think we know Natalie well enough now that she is not always able to do what she says.  She makes this decision to leave and she leaves a letter for John that says, “I’m leaving.  And it’s not an ultimatum, but I just need you to know how I feel about you before I leave.”  She says, “I will be at Rodi’s at midnight if you have anything you want to say to me.”  So, I think we are hoping that John will show up and stop her from moving and declare himself.  But we see Marty gets her hands on the letter before John, and we get to see a bit of the old Marty, who thinks perhaps she will rip it up and not show it to John!  Roxy convinces Natalie to write her feelings down and to give John a chance.  So it’s not just Natalie being selfish going, “Here is how I feel.  I want you to be the same way and stop me from going to London.”  Roxy really prods her on in a vulnerable moment.  I will tell you this: John McBain will NOT be singing! (Laughs) No Cop Rock! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

So you are using one of the classic Soap 101 devices… a letter falling into the wrong hands to spin story?

RON:

I did not originate the idea by any shake of the imagination. (Laughs)  I mean I could go back to Shakespeare, and he can take the credit.  It’s very useful, and it’s about will it get into the wrong hands?  And, who will get the letter? 

MICHAEL:

So what happens on this night when people are star-crossed?  I assume people get drunk…

RON:

Courtesy/ABC

People get drunk.  Brody pushes Jessica a bit too hard to remember, and her rejection of him is so strong this time that he thinks he has really blown it, and so he does go to Rodi’s and gets wasted.  And Natalie, thinking John has made his choice, well…her and Brody see each other. And now they are kind of crying on each other’s shoulders about this. They think they have lost the two people they love forever.

MICHAEL: 

Many fans are noticing the on-air sizzle between Brody and Natalie.  Was that intentional?  It seems like it may have even shocked the OLTL writing team!

RON:

Yeah, I have got to say it took me by surprise.  It wasn’t something I initially thought of. Then early on, when Jessica first woke up after her electro-shock and lost her memory, I was on the set. There was a scene where Brody and Natalie were outside the hospital room commiserating about Jessica.  And I was looking at the two of them going, “Wait a second?”  And at that point we had written a lot further than that, and had not been crossing the two characters that much.  So it veered back that way.

MICHAEL:

So, is this a case of when you see something that works on-screen, it can dictate story?

RON:

Definitely.  We launched that story with Jessica going after Cristian, and then suddenly thinking what happens with Brody while this girl is gallivanting around town thinking she is 17.  Then you explore that aspect a bit more and go, “What about Brody and Natalie or Brody and Layla?  Would they get together while Jessica is going after Cristian?”  You see what you can make the most stories out of, and that is how you make those decisions.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL: 

We saw Ford on-air this week flirt with Jessica, which sort of perked up Ford as a new possible “conquest” for him.  Can we expect things to unravel in his relationship with Langston on prom night?

RON:

So you have seen Ford’s interest in Jessica, which will have a pay-off after the musical.   I think what we have is Markko primed to discover the truth about Ford and Langston.  He planned this big night and got the same hotel room for them they had the year before, when they made love for the first time. We saw that on Markko’s camera he accidentally captured Destiny and Matthew talking about the fact that Langston is a cheat, and he is carrying this camera around at the prom.  I just throw that out to you! (Laughs) So there is a possibility he might see it.  I mean, I have Ford being his devilish self, trying to lure Langston away from the musical.  I think there is a part of Ford, that even though he is a “dog”…deep… deep… down, somewhere buried under that heart of ice, I think he is jealous.  I think he does not like that Langston is at the prom with her boyfriend, having a good time.  Part of it is a game for him… ‘Can I get her to dump him and come to me?’  But part of this is, he is alone in his apartment and lonely.  I can say Markko is going to find out the truth, and that is part of the musical, and that is going to blow-up.

MICHAEL: 

Was it always your intention to write Ford as a “dog”?  When we chatted back in February, he had just come back and we all were not sure how dark the character might go.

Courtesy/ABC

RON:

Oh yes, the audience will have a violent reaction to a character if they are like that from the beginning   Look at Stacy.  She was so bad.  She did not seem to have any redeeming sides.  I think the danger is if you make the character, and you see all their different facets from the beginning, it can sometimes lead it to be a bit water-downed.  We wanted to create a guy that seems like a heartless bastard!  We have a long way to go to see the other side of him.  Just look at Todd.  And again, I am not saying that this is Todd, but that was frat boy number one who was a total creep, and a rapist.  You did not see the other sides of Todd for a very long time.  So, I guess I would say, “You are supposed to hate Ford!”  But, I think what is really interesting is he has great chemistry with Langston. We need people like Ford to propel story.

MICHAEL:

Now you are tormenting fans of Starr/Cole with this bitch girl, Hannah!  Was she only supposed to be on for a short time?  It seems like her role has been expanded?

RON:

She is a great bad girl.  I think once we realized she could do more, and we could give her more to play, we knew how good she was.  We built it slowly.  We slowly realized this is a troubled girl, and we saw it right away when she did the suicide attempt.  Was that the real deal?  Or, was she doing that to get attention?  We see this is a very needy girl.  She took an overdose of pills because this guy, Ford, who she barely knew, dumped her. Then she transferred those affections to Cole, and we see how far she has taken her actions.  Hannah is a real problem for Starr and Cole, because this girl plays it all so well.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

There has been such flack from fans tired of high-school Jessica.  Was this your intention to keep this going till now, or did you decide to now abort it?

RON:

I came up with the idea that she can’t remember anything past High School, and that began to play out in February.  I kind of geared the story on a semester, knowing it would culminate at the prom.  I let her go back to school and I did not want to see it go into summer, as it would have to culminate at the end of her senior year.   It brings us forward into so much more story.

MICHAEL:

So where is Todd at in all of the episodes?

RON:

Remember, Hannah has set up Todd, and he knows it, and knows he is innocent.  And this girl, who he thought he could swat away like a fly, is more of a force to be reckoned with then he thought.  He is trying to get her to admit that (A) she lied and (B) that she could have possibly been the one to push Marty down the stairs herself. And Todd still does not know about Tea’s condition, and that is going to throw him for a major loop!

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

There were so many reports that Florencia Lozano (Tea) was being killed off the show, and the brain tumor was to facilitate that.  Why the real decision to write Tea with a tumor?  And yet, in the end she could still go to heaven.

RON:

I was kind of thinking that Todd and Tea were kind of over because of Danielle.  We really wanted to pull these two apart, and then thinking what could we do to pull this family together.  What would bring Todd and Danielle finally together?  And that was the genesis of why do this.  It was to re-awaken the love story of Todd and Tea, and what kind of crisis would pull this family together.  It was a very real and tragic love story.

MICHAEL:

And in the middle of all the singing and the dancing, and the prom corsages, Rex and Gigi are out looking for Rex’s parents?

RON:

We do get some answers, but we are not building this around who is the father and who is the mother, but more about will Rex and Gigi come back together?  We know that they love each other.  The question is; do they love each other enough to try again?

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

I hear Bo and Nora’s wedding is coming up soon, too!

RON:

It’s the next big event after the prom and the next big event after May Sweeps at the top of June, and it is a blast!  It is hilarious!  To Bo and Nora fans, I will eat my hat if they are not happy! You will see all the stuff you want to see at a wedding.  Sometimes, we have so much going on with other stories with other characters at weddings, that we miss those great part or moments of a wedding.  This one has a ton!

MICHAEL:

All the rumors started circulating recently, when Jean Passanante was announced as returning to One Life to Live as associate head writer, once she concludes her gig as head writer at As the World Turns next month.  Online people were saying it was the end of the road for you as head writer, but then last month, the press and the fans were informed that you had asked Jean to join the team.  Can you clarify what went on?

RON:

We had room in our writing team.  I had worked with her before, and so I reached out for Jean to come onto our writing team.  I think it blew up into what her role would be. It was she who hired me at One Life to Live.  I am thrilled.  Jean is a fantastic person and a fantastic writer.  She gave me my first job, and it was she who hired me at One Life to Live. I have wanted to work with her ever since she left One Life to Live, and it never quite worked out.  And unfortunately, I am working with her because As the World Turns is going off the air, but I am thrilled she is coming on.

MICHAEL:

What does she bring to your team?

RON:

She is incredibly intelligent, and has a great sense of story that is well balanced.  There is comedy and romance, and she can balance all those elements and she has a really good sense of character.  She creates wonderful characters, and she sees the strengths and weaknesses of a character.  A lot of what you saw going back to the classic Todd/Marty story had to do with Jean!

MICHAEL:

In closing, there were the reports that a new One Life to Live is coming?  Can you speak to that?

RON:

To me, our show is always changing and evolving.  I think that is the nature of a soap opera.  At the heart of it, it will always be the same core characters and the same core values. To that extent, we are bringing in some new fun people and our stories are shifting around and changing, but I think that is what we always do.

KRISTEN ALDERSON

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

How was taping Starr X’d Lovers as compared to the original Prom Night: The Musical from a few years ago?

KRISTEN:

We have 32 dancers this time and seven already established songs.  It has a GLEE spin to it, but it also has seven original songs, which is similar to the one we first did.  Some of the established songs are songs from the 80’s and some established songs that you would hear right now on the radio.  And the songs… they really have to do with our characters. The emotions that are going on are very much like Prom Night: The Musical in that way.

MICHAEL:

Is Starr going to get back at Hannah?  She cannot succeed in breaking Cole and Starr up!

KRISTEN:

You know, she is not nice! (Laughs)  I think she is going to do everything in her power to find out what is going on.  She believes with all of her heart, that her dad is telling her the truth, and that Hannah is lying just to break them up.  I think it’s really frustrating for her because Cole is the love of her life, and she will do anything to salvage their relationship.  I think she is concentrating more on wishing Cole were there with her at the prom.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

The big question for Starr in the episodes is: will he get to the prom?  So Kristen, will there be a happy ending for the duo at the Prom? 

KRISTEN:

Maybe… maybe.  The thing is; Starr and Cole are so in love, but at the same time they haven’t’ been really able to not argue with each other lately.  But they get into these arguments of, “Will you stop believing in Hannah?  Will you stop believing your dad?” It will be interesting to see if Cole does make it to prom, and if so, will they even have a good time or not, or, if it will be that there is nothing more for them?

MICHAEL:

This is Starr’s senior year! Oh, my God!  Little Starr is graduating High School.  I am so old!

KRISTEN:

This is Starr’s senior year, and when we saw her three years ago at this time, it was her freshmen year in High School.  

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Kristen, will you be performing in a lot of the musical numbers in the shows? 

KRISTEN:

I am in eight or nine of the musical numbers. (Laughs) That is the great thing about this time that we are doing the musical.  It involves a lot more characters and a lot more drama and a lot more story going on.  Before, you just followed Starr and Cole.  This time you are going to follow Starr and Cole, Langston and Markko, Langston and Ford, Danielle and Nate, Matthew and Danielle, as well as John and Natalie, and Blair and Dorian, and Roxy. The whole cast is involved.  You will see a lot more actors singing than you have probably ever heard before…ever!

MICHAEL:

So, who is a good singer?

KRISTEN:

It’s always great to hear and see Jason Tam (Markko) sing.  He was on Broadway and in A Chorus Line.  He is so talented.  There is a Starr and Blair singing moment with Kassie DePaiva (Blair), who is also so talented. 

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

What was one of the well-known songs that you will be singing?

KRISTEN:

One of the established songs that I sing is We Belong, by Pat Benatar.  I was so afraid of it.  Brittany Underwood (Langston), Kelley Missal (Dani) and Megan who plays Hannah were also a part of the song.  So we were all equally as scared about this thing!  Are you kidding me?  It’s Pat Benatar!  But once we got into the recording studio it felt good, and it turned out good.

MICHAEL:

So, for the young audience who follows the hit primetime series, GLEE, you think they will like this series of episodes?   Do you watch GLEE?

KRISTEN:

I did like the Madonna episode of GLEE.  I think they have a cool thing going on. I think that anyone who likes GLEE will love what we are doing.

MICHAEL: 

So will your brother, Eddie Alderson (Matthew) be kissing Dani at the Prom?  I mean last time we talked in New York; he came to his big sis for pointers!

Courtesy/ABC

KRISTEN:

They are looking better, right? (Laughs) There is a lot going on between Matthew/Danielle/Nate and that whole triangle, and so hopefully Matthew will be able to steal a kiss.  We shall see.

MICHAEL:

How is working with newbie, Lenny Platt (Nate)?

KRISTEN:

Lenny is so great!  I actually adore him.  Every time I see him, he cracks me up.  I don’t know why.  But, I think it’s because when I first saw him doing rehearsals for the musical…he is not a really a dancer or a singer, but he was giving it his all.  He was really cute doing it, because he does not know what he is doing! (Laughs)) But he is so great!

MICHAEL:

Is Starr going to stand by Langston when she finds out that Langston has been seeing Ford secretly now behind everyone’s back? 

KRISTEN:

It’s hard to tell.  Langston swore on their friendship.  So, I think it’s a really big deal when it gets to that, and especially since Starr has Cole lying, too.  So there is a lot of lying going on to Marrko that clearly Starr and Cole don’t want to be doing, but because Langston swore on their friendship, she says everything is going to be good.  So they trusted her.  It will be interesting to see if everyone turns his or her back on Langston or if Starr will stick through it and be there with her.  I feel like Starr is going through a really hard time right now, and so if she turned her back on Langston, I don’t know who else she would have to turn to.

Courtes/ABC

MICHAEL:

So Trevor St. John (Todd) is not going to sing a number?

KRISTEN:

Well, you know they had this big solo written, (Laughs) No!  Trevor will not be part of this, but Trevor St. John fans have no worries.  He will be seen throughout the episodes.

MICHAEL:

From an actress’s viewpoint, what did you feel about One Life’s head writer, Ron Carlivati’s scripts in the three day episode, and how it was all executed?

KRISTEN:

I think it has been over and beyond what our expectations were.  When we got the scripts and I read them, I could not keep my eyes off of them.  It is so great and wonderfully written.  I think from what I have seen, everything is going to tie together so well.  And what is cool is, there are a lot of references from Prom Night: The Musical, and if you had seen them or if you hadn’t…. I urge you to get on You Tube and watch them… but there are a lot of subtle things from the Prom Night: The Musical that are in this one.

MICHAEL:

What would you say to the naysayers who say “One Life to Live is only trying to do a rip off High School Musical and GLEE”?

KRISTEN:

Courtesy/ABC

First of all, when we did Prom Night: The Musical, it was right before High School Musical II came out.  So it was before all of that, and before GLEE was a thought in anyone’s mind three years ago.  One Life has always been a musical show… even before Prom Night: The Musical, we did Babes Behind Bars. I would say to the naysayers that we are very different from these shows or movies, because we are all completely different characters, and have very different storylines, and we do it in our unique way.  From what I watched, there will be some exciting chills and some sad moments in the story.   But I have to say; the good moments make up for it!

MICHAEL:

So have you and your brother Eddie shared war stories from the set on learning all the choreography from the musical?

KRISTEN:

Eddie has been great in the musical, and actually I am not in the performance of Starr- X’d Lovers on the air show, but I am going to be performing it on The View.  Eddie goes, “Kris you won’t be able to learn it all, it was a lot of, you know, choreography.”  It’s really hard, and just now he helped me out in rehearsal with it.  He is really funny.  He feels really cool now that he knows the choreography.

  1. Doe says:

    These two interviews of Ron and Kristen were very good. Seeing Ron’s take on the story of the Prom and what might come out of it. I was hoping Cole would somehow be there. Also, I couldn’t get over Destiny’s weight loss, She looks fabulous. I saw the soap today and also the cast singing on the View. Personally, I was not impressed with the song and the terrible choreography. Plus, there were too many dancers and fill ins’. Well, I hope next week will be better…

    Reply

  2. Jason says:

    I watched the first day of the Starr X’d Lovers musical yesterday, and it was completely awesome! Loved the song choices, dancing, and of course the stories. :) I so can’t wait for mondays. Also loved the interviews with ron and Kristen. I love her positive attitude.

    Reply

  3. Debbie says:

    Michael I find it amazing that if you didn’t bring up Trevor St John or Todd that Ron would of never brought him up.

    This tells me right here that Ron doesn’t care one bit about Trevor or Todd. Sorry am sick and tired of this head writing and his lack of interested in Trevor or Todd. This man constatly shows who he likes to write for and who his favorites are and who are his non favorites and Trevor and Todd is his non favorite.

    He doesn’t want to write for Trevor or Todd and makes it known. Am sorry am so sick and tired of him. He caters to his favorite actors and actresses and ones he cares less about he throws aside. And his writing shows it loud and clear on this show. He has turn this show upside. It’s a mess and I don’t see it getting any better.

    But thank you for at least bringing up Trevor. It’s good to know he has fan in you unlike the head writer of OLTL.

    Reply

  4. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for the interviews. Your coverage of soap operas and behind the scenes processes offers wonderful insight. Thank you.

    I must respectfully disagree with the poster who feels Todd is not thought of in story. TSJ is consistently in the number one position in episode counts and this has been true for years. Todd is never lacking in story –whether the story is good or bad is certainly up for debate, but Todd the rapist’s overwheming presence on the show is not.

    I wish those in charge of this fine old show would return to its core. I appreciate RC’s talk of core characters, but the characters he seems to reference are not the heart and soul of this show. That belongs to Viki and Dorian. It does not belong to the ever present teen and youth scene nor to the constant influx of uninteresting newcomers.

    My patience is not infinite as an audience member and I have watched as a child since 1980. It is the trials and tribulations of this show’s only supercouple Dorian and Viki that has kept me watching not pale imitations or children. Give us back our show or at the very least give us some balance in story.

    Reply

  5. Debbie says:

    Well we can agree to diagree Jennifer. With RC’s writing this show is not for Trevor St John or Todd Manning fans. Am so tired of watching Trevor playing Todd doing the same thing year after year.

    Either he’s getting accused of a crime he didn’t commit, in jail or just plain old ignored by the head writer with everything. Take example of today’s show. Cole beat Todd to death. He flatlined twice and all this show gave damn about was Starr having Cole at her prom without not giving one damn that he tried to kill Todd. For that matter all of Todd’s love one’s do not care weather Cole beat Todd to death. He’s getting special treatment and everyone bowing down to Cole. Todd means nothing. This is how this two bit writer, writes for Trevor and Todd and he doesn’t even take in account that there are Trevor and Todd fans out there that love both. He just doesn’t care about Trevor, Todd or his fans.

    Am also so tired of the propping duty that he puts Trevor and Todd in. He must prop every single character on this show that are his favorites. He doesn’t write for Trevor or Todd, he can’t make Todd win, he must lose all time, Todd can’t have feelings or emotions. He can’t have his say, or tell those that are his favorites off. Because heaven for bit we can’t have his favorites tainted. We can’t damage or say anything against his favorites that he puts up on a pedasal and can’t touch. The show would come to an end.

    With RC writing OLTL is not for Trevor, Todd or his fanbase. Because his fanbase keeps getting slapped in the face and screwed over by him constantly. Every Trevor and Todd fan out in internet know it, feel it and say it. He hates Trevor and Todd Manning and shows it in every show and everything he writes for him. You don’t have to blind to see it.

    Reply

  6. Debbie says:

    Sorry Michael can’t help the way I feel my other post above. He brings the worst out in me.

    Reply

  7. Dean says:

    great job Michael! loved all of it. when are they are on the View?

    Reply

    worried replied

    Micheal great job but I am really disappointed about the show lately its getting really bad its seems Ron is out of touch with what we want, The huge influx of teens and triangles that are being added dalily and Viki and Dorian playing non existant roles.

    Reply

Leave a comment