Since bursting onto the daytime scene in Fall 2004, actor Tom Pelphrey has quickly become a fan favorite. He's certainly one of the most popular actors to appear on Guiding Light in the last decade with his charismatic portrayal of the troubled Jonathan Randall, the abandoned son of GL heroine Reva Shayne and Prince Richard Winslow of the fictional island of San Cristobel.
Jonathan's story was as follows: During one of Reva's periodic bouts with soap opera amnesia, she ended up on the tropical island of San Cristobel, met and fell in love with the Prince, and conceived her fourth child, Jonathan. Jonathan was first seen on the show in 1999, as an 8 to 9 year old boy, after Reva married her truelove Josh Lewis for the second time. They honeymooned in San Cristobel and Reva's life there as Princess Catherine came to light. She began to remember that she had to put Jonathan in hiding in order to protect him from Prince Richard's evil brother, Edmund, who wanted the throne for himself.
Cut to five years later in 2004, and Jonathan arrives in Springfield in his early 20s (it's a soap opera thing), hell-bent on revenge because the house that Reva kept Jonathan hidden away in came furnished with an abusive adoptive father. Coming into town without revealing who he really was, Jonathan seduced and bedded his half first cousin, the virginal Tammy, then revealed to her that he was really her relative.
Eventually, the feelings Jonathan had for Tammy turned to love, and they began a controversial relationship that had both its fans and, due to its underlying subject matter, its detractors. Given that this was a soap opera, and that Pelphrey and Stephanie Gatschet, who portrayed Tammy, had undeniable chemistry, much of the audience was able to set aside the incest angle in their minds while watching this love story unfold. To its credit, Guiding Light did not ignore the fact that they were cousins and viewers got to see the two young lovers process through those issues and decide that what they felt for each other was worth staying together for in spite of what some of the wagging tongues in Springfield, Guiding Light's fictional locale, may have thought.
For this role, Pelphrey was nominated for a Daytime Emmy each and every time he was eligible during his stint on the show. He received four consecutive nominations from 2005 to 2008, winning twice in 2006 and 2008.
Following his time on Guiding Light, Tom headed out to Los Angeles seeking work. He guest starred on Numbers and Ghost Whisperer, among other things. Now, Tom is back in New York, having landed the role of "Mick" on As the World Turns. He is currently filming and will begin airing in November.
We sat down with Tom and his friends who have formed a non-profit theatrical group, The Apothecary Theatre Company, in which Tom will participate alongside his television role. Next Saturday, Apothecary will be hosting a fundraiser that should be of great interest not only to Tom's fans, but to soap opera fans in general.
The fundraiser takes place October 10, 7:00 PM, at the New York Downtown Marriott (located at 85 West Street at Albany Street). Joining Tom for a staged reading of the Don Nigro play, Grotesque Lovesongs, will be Guiding Light stars Kim Zimmer, Grant Aleksander, and Bonnie Dennison. Kevin Kittle directs.
Tickets should still be available to the event, so if you're in the New York area on Saturday, October 10, this sounds like a great way to spend an evening. Ticket price includes admission to the reading, two drinks, food, and a raffle ticket to win various prizes. Funds raised by this event will go toward financing Apothecary's original production of In God's Hat, starring Tom Pelphrey, which is set to open in July 2010.
What follows is our full, unedited, exclusive interview with Tom, which was conducted on Tuesday, September 29, 2009. Tom knew that his Guiding Light fans wanted to hear his thoughts on his time there, and he was gracious enough to answer tons of our questions covering such topics as how he got hired at GL, Kim Zimmer's reaction to his original audition, his thoughts on the Jonathan/Tammy storyline, his time out in LA, who is acting idols are, his thoughts on Guiding Light's new production model, how he felt Jonathan's story ended up, and more.
This interview is a full 26 minutes long and was conducted in sort of an Inside the Actor's Studio or Dick Cavett Show manner where we allow the guest to dig a little more deeply and thoughtfully and really uncover what they love about the craft of acting. We hope you enjoy it, and feel free to post your comments below, and remember to check out the Apothecary website, not just for the tickets to the fundraiser, but also for a special preview clip of Tom acting in In God's Hat.
Coming up very soon will be part 2 of our interview where Tom is joined by three members of the Apothecary Theatre Company to discuss the group's founding and their various past and future projects, so please keep checking back.
And now, without further ado, US Townhall RealStoriesTM presents: Tom Pelphrey-The Guiding Light Exit Interview.
As a bonus, here's a quick audio clip extracted from the Apothecary Theatre Company interview where Tom previews his upcoming stint on As the World Turns: