Sunday, October 2, 2016

An Afternoon With Roger Howarth

Syracuse was all excited for the arrival of Mr. Howarth! People came from Rochester, Utica, Pottsdam and as far and Kentucky. You know he doesn't get out too often to events so of course I had to go with Alberta to get my elusive photo. 

The venue was an old theater which was pretty cool. I've been to about 5 actor events and not one has been this intimate; only 40 some of us and Roger. Ergo, we had a lot of time to mix/mingle and about 2 hours of Q&A~ !! 

Roger himself is very gracious and down to earth. He joked at one point about being snobby when he was younger to fans and how he's learned to appreciate and even come to like events. He drove from NYC in his own car, by himself.  Not sure what I was expecting but seeing "Todd" pull up next to me in the parking lot in and SUV was surreal to say the least. 

Don't I look happy!!? I was!! Roger autographed whatever people brought-- and took photos with everyone. Multiple photos. Bless him because I don't know if I could deal with that. Most of the crowd was 45+ and there were maybe 2 people under the age of 30. One guy had on a cool Llandview Tshirt. Everyone loved it.  We had drinks and then went into the auditorium for our Q&A session. 


Roger told us he really wanted to try stand up comdy but was too scared to try it. He sees Louie CK as a master of the craft and brilliant. Roger is by the way, funny enough to have a little road-show if he wanted one!! 

I'll start with something I think most people know about Roger; he really doesn't like LA. Nope Nope and Nope! He still lives in NYC and travels to CA to work. He works only 2 days a week so it's a doable commute. They did try to live in LA for a year when he got the GH job but decided he really didn't wan to raise his daughter there. (His son was an adult by then) So, everyone moved back to New York where he finds people much friendlier and the atmosphere more invigorating. 

He doesn't like to watch himself on the show (or any shows that he does). He also never watched tapes of James Franco as the "Franco" character because he didn't want to fall into any trap of trying to imitate him. So, he dyed his hair and jumped in. Roger also doesn't know about Franco's history and just learned about the whole thing with Sam the other day when taping a scene. He said "that's pretty terrible"!  He and KeMo had a laugh about it all. He also mentioned the giant tumor in a jar -- (everyone howled on that one) and that he thought it was a bit of a cop-out to explain away Franco's behavior on a medical condition. He'd rather Franco just own it.  

There were many questions about "Friz" and Franco and Liz' relationship. There were some more 'enthusiastic' fans in the audience that really pushed about the Jason/Franco relationship. At one point Roger said "I have no idea about Jason and Franco, I know they hate each other but I don't write the stuff". (a common theme it seems for soap actors--they DON'T WRITE THE MATERIAL and they have no input to the stories). He did say that at times, he did know what might be coming for Todd in the old Cartini days but that was because things were discussed more. Now, with Twitter everyone is basically in the dark. I guess too much info had gotten out?! 

My question to him was about the writers he's worked with. I asked out of all the head writers, who challenged him the most as an actor.  He thought for a bit and said that Jean (one of the present co-head writers) Passante. Roger said that her character development happens over time and he's had a chance to stretch a bit lately. He said that scenes were about 30 seconds before and he's happy to be playing longer ones. Then he 'joked'..."you knew I'd probably say the people writing now, right"?? 

Roger did say that he felt that at the time Franco and Nina were together, they were way too isolated from the rest of the cast. Even now, with everyone more integrated, he will sometimes not see  people for ages until there's a pop-up scene somewhere and he's like "oh, hey! How you doin"??  Given the fact that actors are basically working to contract (meaning not many 'over days') he isn't even scheduled to tape on the same days as many others.  He said nothing about future scoops/plots (I swear) but did say he hasn't worked with Michael Easton in awhile. I was hoping for more of that quad interaction but not happening in the near future. 

Some quickies: 

*Roger only learns his lines the 'day of' shooting during rehearsal. 

*Loves Lena Dunham and her new book. Thinks she's wonderful and brilliant. 

*Is doing more events so he can "get over himself"!

*Would like to try writing when he takes an acting break or 'retires' and admires Michael Easton for his work in this area. 

*Says Maurice is 'pretty funny' and called the show "Sonny Hospital" at least 2x 

*Doesn't get recognized very much anymore. He did quite a bit in the Todd OLTL "hey-days"

* His father was a drama teacher 

* Only really watches sports on TV--specifically soccer  

We talked a bit about what everyone felt was Roger's habit of ad libbing. He said that he only ad libs during rehearsal and if it's felt it 'works' it can stay. It's also more gestures and one/two words, not whole scenes.  One of the main points is that he really tries to have fun with the part. Which of course, you can tell if you watch GH enough!  

My favorite story is about "Alice" the female dresser at GH. She's from Rochester and just last week Roger said he made a crack about Rochester which deviated from the script. (during rehearsal of course) The sound guys cracked up because they knew it was aimed at Alice and they let it stay in. He's hoping it's not edited out. He then made more cracks about Rochester (my town!) and we all laughed. Well, I did shoot a few side-eyes at him! LOL 

One of the best stories of the day involves Todd's scar--hopefully you remember that? Well, it seems that the make-up artist on OLTL at the time was a cosmetologist, not true make up artist. She was so nervous about the scar looking right she'd take hours to get to 'right'. Roger hated sitting for that long and finally took a "Mac Spice" lip liner and drew it on himself. Frank said it looked "fine" and that was that!! 

^^NOTE:  Many people have tweeted me about "Friz" and if he said much about it. He said he didn't know what was happening, just laughed when someone asked if they are 'getting it on' soon and they weren't working with Michael Easton or Rebecca Budding right now. 

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Finally, we did talk a lot about the future of daytime and unfortunately he didn't sound very hopeful. Roger has been through 2 shows closing and 'knows the signs'. Budgets are really tight and no one is sure how long the network will be invested in daytime soaps. He did say that the fans were so loyal and they've kept the shows going as long as they have by 'sheer will'.  All the actors recognize how loyal soap fans are and really appreciate them. 

So, there you have it! Kudos to Wendy for the planning and taking the time to have everything set up 'just so'. We were given photos for Roger to sign, fan coffee mugs and a little homemade candy! It means so much to us out here in the middle of 'no where'.  

I did get a video for a little bit-- you'll see why I stopped taping at the end. Someone at my table actually pointed at me and said "she's taping". Ugh, just like the one kid that had to remind the teacher they gave no homework. Roger is talking about how he basically doesn't prepare for his scenes before taping.  Sorry about the audio...iPhone -__- .


loki said...

I have loved him for so long Thanks for posting this

PM61 said...

Thank you for sharing, and it is nice to read that RH is gracious with his fans. I've enjoyed his work since he started to appear on OLTL.

helkatmat said...

How fun! Thanks very much for sharing.

Way back in the 80s I saw James DePaiva once and Thaao Penghlis another time. Both were in malls with huge crowds, nothing as special as your encounter.

54680f9e-549a-11e6-b7af-97dd4d23ba7a said...

I am SOO jealous!! :) It looks like you had a fantastic time!! I would have loved to be there! :) I've noticed over the past several months, that RH has been more `out' to the media and fans. For a VERY long time, I can hardly remember him doing any interviews in magazines, or the little questionaires that pop un in the soap magazines. Just in the last few months alone, he's been involved with that stuff, quite often.


Michelle Latta said...

Thanks for sharing! I've watched Roger since his early days on OLTL.😊❤

Michelle Latta said...

I noticed that too, him and Michael Easton as well.

Pat..... Sun..... said...

Loved this. I have been a fan of Roger since the Marty gang rape story on OLTL.... Really enjoyed watching him be himself rather than Todd or Franco... Thanks for trying to get that video as well. Was great while it lasted.

loveamystery said...

I always want to know what an actor would be doing if he wasn't in acting. I love to know how they got started and what there hobby or favorite thing to do in off time is. It's hard to remember those things when you are focusing on the show. If anyone goes to another slip in a few of thos questions and I'll send you some cookies😊. Thanks for going and writing. It must have been great, also glad you didn't put him in your trunk......I think.

sonya said...

Oh Karen!!!! Thanks for sharing! Love the pictures and the video!!! :) I have been a fan of his since OLTL! I think he would be great doing stand up comedy!

"Finally, we did talk a lot about the future of daytime and unfortunately he didn't sound very hopeful. Roger has been through 2 shows closing and 'knows the signs'. Budgets are really tight and no one is sure how long the network will be invested in daytime soaps."


"did get a video for a little bit-- you'll see why I stopped taping at the end. Someone at my table actually pointed at me and said "she's taping". Ugh,"

Oh poo!

LSV422 said...

So glad you had a great experience at the event! Sounds like RH was very nice and really candid. I never watched him elsewhere so I don't really get his appeal, but he is a good actor. The writers still aren't doing him any favors by writing Franco as weird and a loser. They should let him be a successful artist again. He is really a bit old to be going to see his crazy mother to borrow money. They do show his acts of kindness but haven't really had him evolve, which is why I hate him with Liz. She has three kids and needs someone stable. Great write-up Karen!

MatchboxGinny said...

Very cool! :)

SaveOurSuds said...

Thanks for sharing Karen! Roger is adorable. I am enjoying the writing for Franco now and love the romance with Liz. Can't wait to see him this weekend in Chicago!

Sandy Giacomini said...

How to fix General Hospital and make it the top soap.First,there are too many people on contract.Second, too many story line going on at once.Third,the writers have to make the characters more believable.Forth, get back to more hospital stories.Fifth,make the stories more believable.For instance you have Sonny walking in to the jail cell and start talking to Julian with no one around.This is just a start of what should happen.

nance24 said...

thanks for sharing that, I'm jealous lol

♡Kim♡ said...

Thanks for posting this. Always loved Roger as Todd and glad to see that he thinks Franco should own the past behavior, not excuse it for a tumor! That was one of the things that bugged me most about the character.

Panda said...

Great write-up! Sounds like it was a great time. Thanks for sharing your experiences at the event! Roger sounds like a really interesting person away from the show.

Michelle Latta said...

Yeh too bad some people have to ruin it for others. "Hey teacher, she's taking a video!" smh

Michelle Latta said...

Haha! RoHo in her trunk! I'd love that!

Michelle Latta said...

I totally agree, if Roger ever gives up acting I think he'd do great at stand up comedy. :)

Michelle Latta said...

I totally agree, if Roger ever gives up acting I think he'd do great at stand up comedy. :)

Michelle Latta said...

Haha! RoHo in her trunk! I'd love that!

AntJoan said...

Thanks so much, Karen, for posting this, glad you had such a great time!

jessica stephens said...

Thank you for the post! So jealous! When RH came on oltl i was 13! He's always been my soap man crush!

ishouldreadmore said...

Thank you so much for sharing with us!! What fun. I was just delighted that your wish to meet him came true. And he loved Alberta too! Perfect day!! Yippee.

Carrie said...

Looks like a fun event! I'd like to meet Roger just to ask him about his time on Dawson's Creek ;)