Tuesday, September 13, 2005

IT'S GOOD TO GO TO KING'S (DOMINION)

I got back to New York yesterday from a fabulous weekend in Richmond, VA. Saturday was “Guiding Light Superstar Saturday” at King’s Dominion, a promotional/fan appreciation event sponsored by CBS. I got in to Richmond on Friday afternoon. The hotel we all stayed at, the Virginia Crossings Resort, was beautiful and quaint. It had a very nice, old Southern feeling to it. The first thing I did when I got there was have lunch with some other "Guiding Light actors" and three of our publicists. We had a nice lunch, and the lively conversation got me excited about the coming weekend. My coworkers just so happen to also be my friends, so I knew this weekend would be a great chance for all of us to hang out and have a good time.

Later in the afternoon, two of Guiding Light’s publicists, Alan and Johanna, joined Scott Bailey, Kim Zimmer, Robert Newman, and me for a visit the Richmond International Raceway to watch Bobby Hamilton, Jr. qualify for Saturday night’s big Nascar race. Bobby drives the Tide car, and since both Tide and "Guiding Light" are owned by P&G, Tide invited us to meet Bobby and hang out in the pit while racers zoomed around the track. I’ve never seen a Nascar race before, so I really didn’t know what to expect. It turned out to be a really exciting event. Outside of the racetrack, people camp out and tailgate and create a generally enthusiastic atmosphere that’s truly contagious. The excitement only grew as we were escorted onto the track itself to check out the Tide car and meet all the members of Bobby Hamilton, Jr.’s team. They were all really sweet, and they taught us a lot about Nascar racing. It was so cool. (We even got free Tide stain sticks! Woo hoo!)

After our Nascar visit, we headed over to King’s Dominion for a welcome reception. All the actors from GL were there (eleven of us in all, I think). Our executive producer, Ellen Wheeler, was there with her family. All the GL and CBS publicists, some press, and a few fans were also there. The park was closed to the public, so we had the place all to ourselves. There was an awesome buffet dinner outside of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, and a few of the rides were opened for us to ride. It was the coolest thing. Like little kids, we all ran from ride to ride, enjoying the fact that there were no lines and that we could ride the rides over and over again. David Andrew Macdonald (Edmund on the show) was the funniest and most surprising of all, running full speed from coaster to coaster, fighting people for a seat in the front row! It was a great kick-off evening. Everyone had a lot of fun.

Saturday was the “big event.” "Guiding Light Superstar Saturday at King’s Dominion." We (all the actors and other GL folks) were bused to the park on Saturday morning. When we got there, we were told that there were already huge lines of people who were eager to meet us. We were taken to the Caprice Lounge, our home base for the day. Each of the actors was assigned to a park “ambassador," who was going to take care of us throughout the day, making sure we were always where we needed to be and that we were taken care of. These ambassadors were all extremely nice to us, making sure that we stayed happy all day (at one point, someone mentioned that a cheeseburger would taste great, and a few of the ambassadors went for takeout! They were so sweet!)

We actors were separated into three groups. Throughout the day we moved from one event to the next with our groups. My group included Kim Zimmer, Robert Newman, Tom Pelphrey, and me. The first thing we did was an autograph session. I was absolutely floored by the number of fans that had turned out to see us. It’s truly a pleasure to meet fans of the show, to thank them for watching and to hear their feedback. So we autographed headshots and took pictures with fans and stuff. I did so much smiling that my cheeks began to hurt! Lol.

Our group got a short break after that. We went back to the lounge and had a little something to eat. At first we felt bad that we were taking a break while there were so many fans still waiting in line for autographs, but as the long day wore on, we realized how necessary the little breaks really were. After the break, we went to a theatre for a Q&A session, hosted by a local news anchorwoman, Cheryl Miller, from WTVR-TV. The Q&A was fun. It was a nice chance to hear from the fans and to joke around and spill “dirt” about the show. The second autograph session followed, which was even wilder than the first. People said they’d waited up to five hours in line, which really shows the dedication of many of these fans. It’s amazing. Then one final Q&A before the last break.

All of the actors got together for this break before the final event, which was a karaoke contest. Before we went out for the karaoke, we were told that there were 3,000 fans gathered to enjoy it. A security guard made us all be quiet and listen to specific instruction for getting to the stage. He told us that they’d take us out in groups of two or three, surrounded by guards and ambassadors, so that we’d make it safely to the stage. I couldn’t believe it. I felt like some kind of star or something! (I’m still not used to this stuff. I don’t think one could ever get used to it!)

The crowd was so great! It felt really good to look out from the stage, and to know that everyone was there cheering for "Guiding Light." The karaoke was a lot of fun. Each of the actors sang a song with two pre-selected fans. I, and two fans, sang “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles. I think we somehow ended up winning the thing- lol. Despite the fact that I can’t sing to save my life, karaoke was a blast. It was the perfect way to cap off the day. After seven hours of this event, we all kind of expected to be exhausted or cranky or something. But because the day was so well planned, we all agreed that it was total fun. The event was wildly successful, which is good news for "Guiding Light," and which made us (and the fans, I hope) very happy.

After the event, we went back to our hotel and got ready to head out for the evening. Richard Mensing, vice-president of CBS Daytime, (and a Richmond native), took us all to dinner in downtown Richmond. What a good time we had! We were, all together, a group of eighteen. The dinner was delicious, and the company was, of course, superb. With the many changes that have recently taken place at "Guiding Light" (the move to a new studio and the loss of many actors, crew members, and executives), many of us feel like things are going to be completely different from here on out. Ricky-Paull Goldin gave a very nice toast, saying, “Here’s to a new beginning for our show,” etc. etc... It made us all feel really good, like we should look ahead with excitement. We’d had a fun day, and were excited to start our first week in a new studio. It was perfect.

I flew home Sunday afternoon with Scott, Bradley, and Ricky-Paull. Ricky and I read home décor magazines and slept until we were all back in NYC. The end.

10 Comments:

Blogger MommyCeratops said...

Thanks for the recap of Saturday. I really wanted to make it, but I couldn't. I hope you do it again next year at Kings Island in Cincinnatti so I can go ;)

It sounded like a great event that the fans enjoyed as well as the stars!

Keep up the good work Stephanie! You have done some incredible acting the past few weeks!

Good luck in your new studio and I am looking forward to the start of new beginings with GL! I am looking forward to hearing about it.
I love reading your blogs so thanks for updating and sharing your point of view with us. It is great to hear anything you want to share.
Take care!!

((hugs))
Kim
kreino@insightbb.com

September 13, 2005 at 5:36 AM  
Blogger A Girl's Gotta said...

I was there and had so much fun! Thanks for coming! You seemed like a really sweet, down-to-earth girl. It was great to meet all of you. I live in downtown Richmond - I wish I'd known you were going out to eat, I would have interrupted your dinner and asked for more photos! (Just kidding!)

Thanks again for making our day! You can see some of my photos here: Superstar Saturday

September 13, 2005 at 6:51 AM  
Blogger Lynnette said...

Glad the day was such a success Stephanie! I agree, you all need to come to King's Island next ~ I'll be there if you do!

I hope the new studio is working out well. I think GL has some great storylines going right now, mainly yours ;-) and it is an exciting time to be a Guiding Light fan!

See you in October!

p.s. - Did you see Dale Earnhardt Jr. while at the track? :-)

September 13, 2005 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger Mini_MT said...

Stephanie,

I'm so glad you had a great time in Richmond. It sounds like it was a lot of fun. I wish I could have been there. It would be great if you came to Cincinnati!! I would without a doubt be there.

Can't wait until October! See you then!

Keep up the great work on GL!

September 14, 2005 at 7:03 PM  
Blogger Mini_MT said...

Stephanie,

I'm glad you had a great time in Richmond. It sounds like it was a lot of fun! I wish I could have been there. It would be awesome if you came to Cincinnati next year. I would without a dout be there.

Good luck in the new studio! Keep up the great work on GL!

Can't wait until October! See you then!

September 14, 2005 at 7:06 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

Hi Stephanie,

I really wanted to attend the King's Dominion event but couldn't make it :-( Thanks for the summary of the day. It really sounded like a good time.

I'm also from Philly so it's nice to see a hometown girl on my favorite soap! I'm from NE Philly and was wondering what part of town you grew up in?

Keep up the great work and good luck on GL!

Gayle
Krazy4MJJ@comcast.net

September 15, 2005 at 11:17 AM  
Blogger Mel said...

Stephanie!!! I was at the Flea Market and was asking to take a photo with you? Did you know that? I was BEGGING and I wanted one with Scott Bailey also.

I'm the one that asked why doesn't Sandy tell you the truth!

I missed you...and nobody would get you for me..I'm sad!

Mel 8(

My e-mail is ER24601@aol.com

I REALLY wanted another kiss from Scott Bailey. I got one last year.

September 25, 2005 at 5:37 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Hey Steph! King's Dominion was a blast! I can't believe how many people were there! I pretty much stayed back out of the way and watched everything. I loved listening in on the Q&A sessions...and the karaoke was absolutely hilarious and fun! You did a great job! You sure looked like you were having a great time!

I hope this becomes an annual event. Richmond is just over two hours from me, and my cousin lives there with her new husband. So it made for a great way to visit them and come to the event all in one wonderful weekend!

Thanks for coming! See ya in three weeks!

September 26, 2005 at 6:44 AM  
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