Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Cabaret & More With Legend Eileen Fulton

I had the pleasure of attending daytime legend Eileen Fulton's Christmas Cabaret show on Saturday night at Don't Tell Mama in New York City. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but Ms. Fulton far exceeded anything I could have imagined. Fans of AS THE WORLD TURNS have heard her sing on the soap over the years, but seeing her live put things in a whole new perspective.

Not only is she a talented singer, but the show was hysterically funny as well. You will never hear a more twisted version of "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" with grandma getting hot pink long johns with a cut out crotch. She sang “I Want an Old-Fashioned Christmas,” but her show anything but old-fashioned.

Fulton's ability to tell a story with a song, like on "You Dirty Dog," is incredible. Who else would sing about a Pekinese who loved Bombay Gin? The dramatic take on Sondheim's "Losing My Mind" about her second husband, Danny Fortunato, was mesmerizing. If you ever have the chance to see Eileen Fulton perform live, do not miss it.

I spoke with Ms. Fulton briefly after the show about her thoughts on the AS THE WORLD TURNS cancellation and more.

We Love Soaps: I have to say that I've watched you my entire life on AS THE WORLD TURNS and have heard you sing on the show, but this is my first time seeing you perform in person. I was so impressed. You were fantastic, and so funny.
Eileen Fulton: Oh, thank you. That's good.

We Love Soaps: You mentioned in the show that you can to New York in late 1950s. Was it always your intent to be an actress or a performer?
Eileen Fulton: Always. My daddy was a Methodist preacher and he had his stage but he had to share it with me.

We Love Soaps: You said on stage that the things you were singing about were true. Are they really?
Eileen Fulton: Oh yes. It is all true!

We Love Soaps: As a lifelong fan of AS THE WORLD TURNS, it's been really frustrating not seeing Lisa featured prominently in the past several years. I'm sure you hear that all the time from fans.
Eileen Fulton: You know, I can never hear it enough.

We Love Soaps: The day of the cancellation I posted a blog about how AS THE WORLD TURNS should end and said that Lisa should have one more romance and let's do it right.
Eileen Fulton: Well, maybe they'll do something. I hope they do. I just hope I'm on a little bit. It's only fair.

We Love Soaps: It really would be a crime if it doesn't happen. My mom, who got me hooked on the show, doesn't watch anymore. When I'm visiting her and turn on the show, she doesn't recognize anyone. She isn't interested unless she sees Lisa or Bob.
Eileen Fulton: I've heard that over and over and over again.

We Love Soaps: You gave a quote, "It's a hell of a Christmas present," to the Associated Press about the cancellation and I thought you summed things up better than anyone could. Did the cancellation news impact your preparation for your cabaret show this weekend?
Eileen Fulton: I sort of expected it. It didn't surprise me. It surprised me like when somebody is very ill and you know they're not going to make it, but when they don't make it, it's always a shock.

We Love Soaps: Do you think there's any chance the show might get picked up elsewhere?
Eileen Fulton: There might be. I don't know. I hope so. If they are fair and true to the characters we created, maybe we will be. And not killing people with needles that are just lying around the hospital and stuff like that.

We Love Soaps: Some of the stories just aren't AS THE WORLD TURNS. Last summer, Bob had to tell Barbara that Paul had a microchip in his brain.
Eileen Fulton: I'm surprised he even knew what a microchip was! There are so many relationships in this world and every time you turn around something has happened to somebody that makes something else happen to someone else. That's what a soap opera is about. It's a ripple effect. Right now, we're kind of reaching. But I can't knock it. I just wish it were more about things that are really happening.

We Love Soaps: The show was number one for 20 years and Lisa and Bob and their many marriages and romances were at the forefront. That's what made the show great and how I'd like to see it go out.
Eileen Fulton: I felt really bad when I wasn't there when Bob had his problems. And I really wasn't there for Barbara. We had a scene and then not again for six to eight weeks. I love Barbara. I relate so much to her.

We Love Soaps: I believe that the fans that are still watching the show want to see the familiar faces they grew up watching and the characters they love. It feels like we know Lisa and the Hughes family.
Eileen Fulton: I was in North Carolina shopping and this woman came up to me and said, "We're you at my sister Shirley's wedding?" And I said, "No. I don't know your sister." They think they know you.

We Love Soaps: If you could go back to the late 1950s when you first moved to New York, what advice would you give yourself knowing what you know now?
Eileen Fulton: To take that first big job I was offered. I said, "No, I can't learn anymore." I would say now, "Oh, yes you can." I didn't trust myself and I could have done it.

1 comment:

  1. I hope Eileen continues to do her cabarets and shows, whether ATWT gets to stay on or not.