Monday, May 17, 2010

Kristen Alderson on Starr's X'd Lovers - The WLS Interview

From Broadway to Llanview, there is no stopping this dynamic force of energy called Kristen Alderson.  Since 1998 ONE LIFE TO LIVE has featured this multi-talented actress/singer/dancer, and this week is focusing on her musical theater training during the special "Starr X'd Lovers" episodes on May 14, 17, and 18th.  But how did Kristen get casted in a Broadway Show at four-year-old, and how does she relate to Starr's tribulations and trials? Read here to find out.

We Love Soaps: You have been keeping busy!  Your musical background goes back to Annie on Broadway.
Kristen Alderson: Yes, I played Molly in Annie on Broadway.  I went on tour with them for six months. 

We Love Soaps: How did you get a Broadway role at such a young age? Were you just born with this drive to perform?
Kristen Alderson: Actually it was really random.  No one in my family is a singer or a dancer.  I would always watch Beauty And The Beast and other “princess” movies.  I would always sing along, act it out, and make my dad play the other characters.  Then I saw a special on the making of Annie on Broadway.  I said, “Mom, that’s what I want to do, that’s my dream.”  She said, “Kristen you don’t even know what a dream is.”  I was four-years-old.  My friend was going on an open call for Annie and I really wanted to audition  My mom said, “No way, it’s just awful what those parents do to their kids.”  I did a lot of begging.  My friend’s mom said, “We’ll just make it like a  New York outing, it won’t be a big deal.”  So my mom brought me, and I ended up getting it! She was not so happy about it. 

We Love Soaps: And now the character of Starr, who you originated at such a young age, is coming up on a major life milestone.  She is graduating High School!
Kristen Alderson: I know.  Starr has already lived through so many milestones at such a young age. 

We Love Soaps: She has been through more before graduating high school than most adults go through in their entire lives.  What has it been like for you have Starr go through such profound traumas, ie, getting pregnant as a teenager and thinking she lost her child?
Kristen Alderson: It’s been intense.  I did that story line where Starr was pregnant, which really lasted nine months, and it was great to be able to go through every moment of Starr’s pregnancy.  They showed a lot of it.  That got me into the story.  When I actually was giving birth on the show, I felt so into the storyline.  It was great to work with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, going on panels, talking to pregnant teenagers.  I was really close to the issue.  I felt like I was giving birth to something too.  In a way I felt I lived through it too, which is nuts, and a cool experience to have. 

We Love Soaps: How did you approach those amazing scenes where Starr was told her baby died, given you personally have not given birth and/or lost a child?
Kristen Alderson: When I gave birth on the show, it felt so realistic and beautiful in a way.  I was laying there with Kassie [Depaiva] next to me, and Kathy Brier who I have always looked up to, and the whole crew.  They have all been with me through so much.  They have all known me since I was  six-and-a-half so it felt like my whole family was there.  The next day we taped it where Starr found out her baby was dead.  I had really wanted Starr to have that little girl.  I felt so close to the story.  It did upset me just to read it.  I really was sick about it.  I had a lot of lines that day.  I studied them the night before and could barely sleep.  So I came in the next day really tired, and I think that helped me.  Because when they finally got to the scene where they told Starr she died, I just cried, “NO!” I didn’t even let myself hear it until that moment.

We Love Soaps: According to your blog, there are 750,000 teen pregnancies every year in the United States.  What advice would you give to a teenagers in terms of preventing pregnancy?
Kristen Alderson: They need to protect themselves, and have a talk with a family member or a friend. Get a discussion going about how they are going to protect themselves if they are ready for that.  Sex is a really big deal and people take it really lightly because either they haven’t talked to anyone yet, or they have talked to the wrong people about it.  So it’s really important that people have these discussions with their children, with their parent, with anyone.  The more opinions, the better protected they will be.

We Love Soaps: Now after getting through all of that, Starr has triumphed, and made it to graduate high school, as celebrated in these dazzling numbers in “Starr’s X’d Lovers.”  I am especially impressed with the number “Battlefield” that you perform with Tika Sumpter and Brittany Underwood.
Kristen Alderson: Thank you! There’s a  funny story about that.  In one of the scenes we’re holding on to this wooden plank-type-thing, and we’re dancing on it. In rehearsal I was trying to be sexy, joking around, and I completely fell all of it.  I was hysterically laughing because I never take myself too seriously.  So now it’ s funny to see the end result.  It doesn’t look half bad.

We Love Soaps: How long did it to take to film that number, from getting the music to choreography to tape?
Kristen Alderson: The day before we had a rehearsal period at a separate studio.  That was actually the first big number that we filmed.  Everyone was really excited.  We rehearsed it the day before, then that night I went and recorded that song.  Then the next day we filmed it.  It was very fast paced.  We did that for nearly every number.  We would have rehearsal the day before, film it the next day, then be done with it. 

We Love Soaps: That is amazing when you see the work that goes into the scenes. 
Kristen Alderson: I am so proud of the cast and the crew and everyone.  When you watch other prime-time shows, it takes weeks and weeks for them to film one episode.  The fact that we filmed three musical episodes in three weeks with fourteen numbers is something!

We Love Soaps: Anything you can preview about what is coming up for Starr this summer?
Kristen Alderson: I think it’s pretty up in the air at the end of the musical what Starr’s future will be.  I think, as always there is a lot for her to go through.  I think there is always drama in Starr’s life no matter how hard she tries to deflect it.  There are going to be some new people.

We Love Soaps: Will she ever have a pet spider again?
Kristen Alderson: I think a daughter is enough for her right now. 

We Love Soaps: Thank you so much for our chat today.  I always appreciate how committed you are to helping others by encouraging safe sex, pregnancy prevention, and HIV prevention.
Kristen Alderson: Thank you.  It means a lot to be appreciated for that.

-WLS Review of "Starr's X'd Lovers" here.  
-Ilene Kristen on "Starr's X'd Lovers" and WLS Weekend
-Ron Carlivati discusses "Starr's X'd Lovers" and OLTL's summer 
-One Life Theme Goes "Vintage"  
Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist seeing individuals and couples in New York City at Mental Health Counseling & Marriage And Family Therapy Of New York.   He is also the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve".

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