Catching Up with…ALL MY CHILDREN’s Alicia Minshew
For the longest time, ALL MY CHILDREN was one of my favorite things to watch – watched with my mom growing up, watched character switches and rapidly-aging children, and everything fun and heartbreaking about one of the longest running soaps on TV. Though my love for the show didn’t change, my ability to watch did, when ABC canceled it to make room for some lifetime shows on their afternoon schedule. Sad as I was to see it go, it frees up a lot of our favorite folks to go out, and explore the world after Pine Valley.
I recently had some time to chat with former Pine Valley resident Alicia Minshew (you all know her as Kendall Hart) about the ending that scarred the series finale, what’s coming up for her, what she’s looking to do with her time now that she has it, and where you can find her next –
I’ve been a fan for so long. It feels weird without ALL MY CHILDREN around, doesn’t it?
It feels weird, right? It definitely feels weird. It definitely is a very odd, odd thing.
Talk a little bit about the end of the show and how you came to find out that it really, for all intents and purposes, ending.
Before the production company, which was Prospect Park, came to ALL MY CHILDREN to say that they were going to buy the show and put it online, we were told by our producer that there was supposed to be a beautiful two hour long ending where they sort of tie up all of the storylines, all of the families in a very nice way, leaving the long time viewers satisfied, so it was supposed to be a special 2 hour ending. Then, when they got word that Prospect Park was going to buy ALL MY CHILDREN and they were going to put it online, they had to scramble last minute with the writers, with the creator of the show, to do another ending that would be sort of like a cliffhanger ending so that the fans would tune in online to the online version. So instead of doing the beautiful two hour version, they made it a regular hour and just did it like the end of any other show. To me, the ending was just like any other day. It didn’t seem like a special ending, tying up years and years of the show. It’s very unfortunate it happened that way, I think.
I agree – you want to have that closure. Filming it, I’m sure there was a feeling of, here we go, we are going to go beyond this “final” episode. Then there’s the shot that rings out, and suddenly that’s not the case.
Sure, sure! I have to be honest, there was a small group of us that were very, very skeptical. We had met with the people from Prospect Park. They were lovely, very nice people. They seemed very smart, they seemed eager for it to go on, and I’m really not quite sure what happened, I can’t really speak for them, but there was a part of us that were going, okay, I don’t know if they realize what they’re getting themselves into. A soap opera is a big deal, it’s a lot of work on every level, and are they going to be able to pull this off. We weren’t sure. So a few of us, I sort of resigned myself to the fact that that was my last day on the show, and I wasn’t even sure the internet thing was really going to happen. I was very skeptical. So when I got the news that it wasn’t going to happen, I was not surprised at all. I was sad for the show, and sad for the fans, I thought, oh, of course. It was a big undertaking that maybe I don’t think they realized how big. I think they meant well, but oof, it’s just a lot of work.
Had there been any talks about what would happen beyond the final episode that we saw? Or had it not gotten to that point yet?
No, no, it hadn’t gotten to that point. They really left it as the story – we’re going to leave it. There are three other things that could happen once the show goes online. They were still trying to make negotiations with the actors. They weren’t even sure who was going to be a part of it, and who wasn’t. It was very, very up in the air, which didn’t really sit well with me, which is why I thought, ok, I’m going to treat this like this is my last day, this is Kendall’s last day. She’s holding the hand of her husband, her children are alive and well. In my mind, that was the ending. It is unfortunate, because I do know that there was a beautiful ending that was written for a lot of the characters that no one got to see. So it is unfortunate for the show, the fans. It left me feeling unsatisfied, so I can imagine as a long time viewer how they would feel.
It’s strange to be in a world where so few soaps are left.
It’s a weird thing. I’ll have fans come up to me, and they’re so gracious and loving, and they say, oh we miss you so much. They’re genuine. They’re like, we really miss seeing you guys. You guys became a part of our family, we watched you in our living room every day for years. It’s like they became our friends, and to say that ALL MY CHILDREN doesn’t exist any more, or ONE LIFE TO LIVE, it’s weird, for sure.
We’ve seen some interesting things going on with Roger (Howarth) and Kaissie (de Paiva) joining GENERAL as Todd and Blair. Is that something, if the opportunity came up, would you be interested in continuing the story, or joining another soap, either as Kendall or not?
I feel like, for right now, I have such closure with the show, that I think emotionally, I have moved on. It’s been 5 or 6 months already. I almost had to go through a grieving process of saying goodbye to my character and saying goodbye to other characters. Kendall’s not going to see Zack anymore; Kendall’s not going to see Erica anymore. I feel like I went through that grieving process, and now I’ve moved on. I don’t know how comfortable I feel going back. I mean, listen, if they said, AMC got picked up by a new network, we want to bring a small group of you over, obviously, because I love the show, and I love the character, and I loved the people I worked with, I would consider that, but I don’t see it happening, you know what I mean? I do feel like I have closure and in my mind, I’ve moved on, but I’d have to see what head-space I was in. I was sad for several weeks after the show, and it was like saying goodbye to somebody. To start all over again could be tricky, could be difficult. You never know what the future holds. I would be open to it, but at the same time, I would be cautious about it.
I look at Susan (Lucci) joining a pilot (Marc Cherry’s maids pilot) now – is that something you would be interested in doing now? A weekly series?
Ab-so-lutely! 100% yes yes yes! In fact, Susan and I were just texting each other; she’s in town and wanted to have dinner with me after her rehearsal. It’s nice, because I have this wonderful relationship with her, where we genuinely miss each other, and when the other person is in town, we try to see each other if we can. I was so happy for her. I thought, you know, check this woman out. Good for her. She deserves it, and she will own that part! I think maybe that’s the kind of thing that I would like to do. I would love to do a primetime show, I would love to do pilots, just play a different character. I’ve played Kendall for 10 years, and she is very near to my heart, and I love her, and I feel like I have a piece of her wherever I go, but because I have that closure a new character appeals to me, you know? It would be fun to play something different and new, and that’s what we’re trying for!
Playing her for 10 years, it wasn’t just a weekly thing. You didn’t just do 22 episodes a year. You were basically her every day of every week.
Absolutely. It was just the best experience of my life. You play a character for that long, and I’m sure that Susan Lucci would tell you this – you start to put a lot of yourself in that character, that the writers start to actually write for you. After a while, I put so much of myself personally into Kendall, that’s why I feel that she’s still with me. If I had to play her tomorrow, I could do it with my eyes closed. That’s not to say that a new role would be so exciting and refreshing as well!
A lot of the questions from fans were “what is next” – where can we see you next?
I wish I could say that I have a new thing to see me in, but that’s obviously not happening yet. I’ve had a lot of wonderful auditions and producers meetings with some primetime shows and sitcoms. I’m right in the middle of pilot season, which is very exciting for me because I’m taking in meetings and meeting producers and it’s kind of fun to do that again because I haven’t done that in so long. I am very lucky to be doing an independent film in Georgia in May. This is something that I got through AMC because the producer of the film saw me on the show and called my agent, and I was lucky to book a film without having to audition for it, which I’m very excited about. I’m going to be playing a Southern girl, which is completely different from Kendall. I’m looking forward to that. I’ve been working with a dialect coach on my Southern accent and that’s the next project I have going on, and we start shooting in Savannah in May.
I know you’ve been involved in humanitarian efforts and charities, like City Year, over the years. What are you involved with now, and what would you like to get the word out about?
Well, the City Year thing, I just recently became involved in that. I’m going to go to a few of their events. I went to an elementary school that’s not in the best area of LA and I saw what the program City Year does for these kids. It’s kind of an unbelievable thing. I wept like a baby when I went to the school. I saw these kids that are pretty poor, don’t really have much, and City Year supplies with them activities to do after school if they have no place to go. Food if they didn’t have a proper breakfast, and a place to sort of go to if they live in a dangerous neighborhood. It encourages the youth that doesn’t have a safe home to stay in school. I’m going to try to put together an event myself for City Year. We’re going to try to put together an event, and somehow make it an even for soap fans. I happen to know a few soap opera actors [laughs]. And not just from AMC. I’m going to try to get together a few actors, and some of the people that do participate in City Year, and see if I can do a fundraiser for them.
Soap fans – if you can get them involved, they’re such a great breed that it would be so great!
Thanks for saying that. When I told them, I said, listen, the most loyal fans you will ever meet are soap opera fans. They are loyal, loyal, loyal. They love you like they love their family, and if there is a project or a charity that you believe in, or an organization that you believe in, they will come, and they will be there to support you. They’ll be there to see you and take pictures, too, and meet their favorite actors [laughs], but they support a cause that you believe in, which is why I think it’s a great idea to make it an event with soap opera actors, so fans can come see some of these actors that they miss, and learn about the organization and get involved with it. We’re aiming to do something here in the summertime in LA.
Talking about pilots and things that you’re interested in – are you more interested in drama or comedy, or is there a role on TV that you’d love to play something similar?
There are so many good TV shows out there right now, between the network shows and the cable shows. I did drama for so long, lots of crying and sad scenes over my dying husband, my children. Right now, I’m leaning more towards comedy. I’m actually taking a sitcom class right now. I have this funny side of me, but it’s one thing to be funny in person; another to actually do it on TV. I’ve auditioned for a few sitcoms, and I’m leaning towards something funny because I just think it’s so different than what I’ve been doing for the past 10 years. I’m such a silly, goofy person. When people meet me, they’re like, wow, you’re absolutely nothing like Kendall! I said, I am a lot like Kendall, and I would try to throw in some funny moments when she can be funny, and that’s mostly when you see Alicia being silly. So I’m leaning towards comedy, but again, if GREY’S ANATOMY called tomorrow, it would be at the top of my list. I love that show. I think the characters are so well written. I don’t love one specific character on the show. The writers on that show just define the characters so well! So obviously, if I had to do a drama, or a series, I would love a show like that. A big ensemble cast where each character is very different. There are so many funny sitcoms now, too, where you go, wouldn’t it be fun to be completely off the wall and silly? Of course, MODERN FAMILY sticks in my head. I’m into NEW GIRL. Love it!! It’s great, so there is so much great stuf fout there. It’s really a matter of what role am I right for, and who wants to see me. I’m going to enjoy doing my film and see what happens with TV auditions, and just enjoy this ride that I’m on because it’s a lot of fun.