This week, the 1980s heartthrob behind the mega-hit ''Rock On'' is reprising his character Danny for Y&R's 35th anniversary, Cady McClain is set to haunt Pine Valley, and behind-the-scenes with Snoop Dogg on the OLTL set
Get those old issues of Tiger Beat out of the attic: Former teen idol Michael Damian returns to The Young and the Restless this week as Danny Romalatti. Damian will perform during a magazine launch party that serves as the unofficial celebration of the show’s 35th anniversary. During his two-day return engagement (March 26-27), Danny will smooth the waters with his old buddy (and romantic rival) Paul (Doug Davidson) and with son Daniel (Michael Graziadei).
Since he left the soap in 2004, Damian’s kept busy directing and producing films, but his music (as well as his years as one-half of the Danny-Cricket supercouple) is what fans best remember him for. His adaptation of ”Rock On” (included on the soundtrack for 1989’s ”Coreys” vehicle Dream a Little Dream), went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. But although he, and his character, have traveled the world for music, Genoa City will always be home.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was it like to be asked back for the anniversary celebration after leaving four years ago?
MICHAEL DAMIAN: I was thrilled they invited me back to do it. I had a great time working with Michelle Stafford, Michael Graziadei, Doug Davidson, Tracey Bregman, Patty Weaver, Josh Morrow, Christian LeBlanc. It was wonderful…. it was very creative.
Was it like a homecoming?
It was like a high school reunion. I wrote some music for the big concert event, and had the whole band — got them together, and we did this performance number on the show. I’ve never done a performance number where the entire cast was in the audience. That was a bit surreal. My character, Danny, was performing at this big party event and you’ve got Victor, and the whole cast right there. It was fun…. I do two songs. I do another performance song the day after [the party] for my son. A song that I write for him, right before I take off to go back on tour.
So it was a kind of worlds colliding?
In the past they would sort of keep the storylines separate. Bill Bell [Y&R’s co-creator, who died in 2005] kept my family kind of separate. [He] didn’t commingle with this group. There was a lot of separation with storylines but this event has kind of brought people together, but in a very organic way.
What were some other things you were please with?
I really enjoyed the dialogue that I was given. I have some wonderful scenes with the actor who plays my son, Michael Graziadei — young Daniel — and he’s fantastic. Some very emotional, natural dialogue that I was really able to connect with. I was wondering how they were going to pull it off. And it seemed quite natural. It felt right.
Who else did you connect with?
I had a really nice bonding scene with Doug Davidson, who plays Paul. I thought that was really cool. Because, you know, Paul and Danny were best friends since 1981. He was my manager. We were inseparable. We were like fraternity brothers. But we drifted apart. We became enemies over Christine. But this time around we kind of get together and joke about the girl that got away from both of us. Where did we go wrong, you know? It was fun. It was fun but it had a lot of subtext and meaning to it. It was a way to touch on the past without going down a soapy avenue. It was a bit more real. When you see one of your old friends and it’s an uncomfortable situation, you either ignore them or make light of it and find a way to get back on track.
Has this opened the door for an extended return?
The door is wide open. We didn’t leave on bad terms. We left it very harmonious. It was a good vibe. It depends on how things go schedule-wise with how I’m doing, with what they’re doing. Hopefully we’ll be able to meet up and work something out in the future. But definitely it was a nice little sendoff scene. It wasn’t, ”I hate you and don’t ever come back to Genoa City again,” [laughs] or a tragic boating accident. It felt right. And it was nice too, because it was the day after the big event. And so it was kind of a good time to take off. Leave on a high.
But right now, in addition to your music, you’ve got your movie, Moondance Alexander [releasing on DVD April 29], which is getting good buzz.
Oh, yeah. I produced it with my wife and partner [former Solid Gold dancer] Jeena. Don Johnson does a great job in it. It’s his first family film. It was really neat working with him. There’s Kay Panabaker…. she’s a Disney Channel girl and Lori Loughlin plays her mother. [Figure skater] Sasha Cohen is in her feature film debut. Normally, she cameos as herself. Here she’s an actual character and she does it quite well. And also James Best [Rosco P. Coltrane on the Dukes of Hazzard], my [real-life] father-in-law, is in the story as well. I had a great cast and I love directing.
But you’re definitely open to returning to Y&R?
Oh yeah. The show knows. We’ve had a wonderful relationship for a long time. They know that I love the show and always enjoy doing the show and hope they feel the same. They know where to find me.
SCENES FROM THE SET: SNOOP DOGG ON OLTL
The party people were definitely in the house when Snoop Dogg dropped by the set of One Life to Live on March 14 to perform two songs at the Ultra Violet club and act in a few scenes with Robert S. Woods (Bo) and Ilene Kristen (Roxy), among others. He and his smartly-attired crew had fun singing for the gaggle of girls on-set as extras, and Snoop kept the crowd entertained by freestyling between sets. What Snoop said he was really looking forward to, however, were his scenes with Woods, whom the rapper referred to as ”off the hook.” The soap vet was tickled by the compliment. ”My stock goes up with my son,” laughed Woods, just before members of Snoop’s entourage asked to take pictures with him. ”I feel kind of honored. Of all the people he’ll be working with, I get to be one of them.” Meanwhile, Snoop couldn’t wait for his family to witness his brush with daytime stardom: ”I know when my momma watches the show, she’ll be like, ‘Were you in the scene with Bo Buchanan? Was that you?’ Yeah it was me, Momma. I did that.”
SHOCKING RETURN OF THE WEEK
We should know by now not to count out Cady McClain’s Dixie. The actress, fired in early 2007, is set to return yet again to All My Children, on May 2, this time as a ghost. Dixie, who died at the hands of a serial killer (and some poisoned pancakes) in January 2007, returns to Pine Valley to guide Tad toward their little girl, Kate, who was stolen at birth. Dixie was previously presumed dead from a car accident from May 2002 to December 2005. The actress (who, after being fired last year wrote on her blog ”I don’t think [AMC] will ever bring me back”) has won two Emmys for her roles on All My Children and As the World Turns, where she played heiress Rosanna Cabot Montgomery.
THE POWERS THAT BE
It’s official: Dena Higley is now the sole head writer on Days of Our Lives, according to a show publicist. The show wouldn’t say when she came on board, but it confirms that she is now at the helm as head writer, replacing Hogan Sheffer. Higley has been a source of controversy recently. Last summer, she left One Life to Live, where she was also head writer, after fans started a petition calling for her dismissal.