This is the end of the World news

Out of all the song lyrics in the world to pick for a post title, I’m going with Tom McRae’s apocalyptic “End of the World News (Dose Me Up).” It’s an odd choice, given that hanging out at the Marriott Marquis Hotel on April 17 for the As the World Turns fan club luncheon and then at Latitude for Martinis With Henry was actually fun. But the lyrics and McRae’s plaintive, mournful vocals just serve to remind me that ATWT‘s time is limited, and no matter how many laughs we shared, this luncheon was the last one, and it’s the last time over 630 people will gather to celebrate this American institution and its wonderful cast.

I arrived early, and the 6th floor of the Marriott Marquis were already teeming with people. Because Michael Park (Jack) and Vanessa Ray (Teri) had theatrical commitments to get to (he’s in The Burnt Part Boys, she’s in Hair), they did an early autograph signing, so fans could get some face time. How awesome is that?

I wish I’d been that on the ball. I know I seem like a gregarious person, but I’m actually kind of shy and can’t really talk to people unless they speak to me first. Once you get me going, I turn into Michigan J. Frog from the old Warner Bros cartoon. I whip out the top hat and do a jaunty round of “Hello My Baby.” But, believe me, I’d much rather be back in the box, just chillin’. That was pretty much my theme for the day, because while I made a lot of conversation, I felt like a frog out of water. Er, a fish. A fish with a top hat.

But social ineptitude aside, I had a lovely chat with the beautiful Terri Garber (Iris). We totally dished a little North and South, because how could I not bring up that iconic mini-series? I did a lot of waving and said “Hi!” to actors like Mick Hazen (Parker), Colleen Zenk Pinter (Barbara) and Ellen Dolan (Margo). I even got a hug from the legendary Eileen Fulton (Lisa). (Are you jealous? You know you are!) Lesli Kay (Molly), who looked great in a black, flapper-esque, fringe dress, and Marie Wilson (Meg) of the sparkly gold top and awesome boots, revealed that they’d flown in from California just for the event. Marie jokingly offered to help me get quotes from people, since I was feeling like such a dork…which led Eric Sheffer Stevens (Reid) to wonder what I meant by “getting quotes,” and noting he couldn’t give me any unless I asked him questions. So I did! We talked about Reid, the fan response to the character…what’s up with all of Reid’s eating, etc. Assuming my tape recorder didn’t devour it like Reid tearing into a hoagie, you’ll see the some of that convo in the magazine coming up. By the way, Eric and Kathryn Hays (Kim, who I was in awe of) were likethis, which makes it even funnier, now, to see Reid and Kim hating on each other so thoroughly. Jake Silbermann (Noah) was not only kind enough to offer me some gum, but also offered insight on playing blind and raved about how much he loves the current storyline, and his rival for Luke’s affections. “Jake loves Eric,” he confirmed, with a laugh. Speaking of Luke, I talked to Van Hansis as well. When I wondered about this week’s upcoming mechanical bull scenes, he revealed he’s actually ridden one several times before!

I caught up with Tom Degnan (ex-Adam), who is busily auditioning and also playing in a band with Billy Magnussen (Casey). Called Reserved for Rondee, they had a show later that day at Sullivan Hall. Austin Peck (Brad), who I would run into several times throughout the course of the day, talked about his play, The Irish Curse. Julie Pinson (Janet) gave Sarah Wilson (Liberty) a quick tutorial on fan events, and I assured her that she had nothing to fear. (Yes, me. The person who is so neurotic about these things that I spend two days afterward obsessing.) BTW, we will eventually start seeing her onscreen with hair. Trent Dawson (Henry) was preparing for his Martinis With Henry event (which I will make a separate post about) and cast introduction duties, which he shared with Ellen Dolan. 

Despite making the rounds, I still feel like I didn’t talk to quite enough people before the cast was led out to the stage and garnered massive, massive applause. I’m a writer, people! That’s what I do best! But I popped into the ballroom to watch the proceedings, and then ended up haunting the autograph lines with some friends. (I would step away when it came time for people to snap photos or get something signed, because, hi, I see the actors all the time. SO not necessary for me!) It was well after the official ending time of 4 when I left to go to Latitude — and many cast members were still there signing autographs as if they were hesitant to leave until every last fan had been given a moment of their time. After the years and years many viewers have put into this amazing show, what’s a few more minutes, right?

To paraphrase another set of song lyrics, it’s the end of the World as we all know it…and we feel far from fine.

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