By Hook And By Book

GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Carolyn Hennesy (Diane) is one busy lady, as she’s currently dividing her time between Port Charles, Ancient Greece and Never Never Land. We’ll let her explain….

Soap Opera Digest: Tell us about your new play.
Carolyn Hennesy: We’re doing Peter Pan. The Santa Barbara Theatre Company has gotten the rights to the original J.M. Barrie play, the one that was done in Finding Neverland, accompanied by the original Leonard Bernstein score. The play was done on Broadway in 1950 with Boris Karloff as Hook and Jean Arthur as Peter. This is not the Mary Martin version. This is not the Disney version. It is not a musical. It is a play with music.

Digest: Who’s in the cast?
Hennesy: Robert Yacko is playing Captain Hook and Mr. Darling. I am Mrs. Darling. And a mermaid, if you can believe that [laughs]. A lovely girl, Corina Boettger, is playing Peter. And Tinkerbell, as it was 100 years ago, is the tinkle of the piano and a light flashing around the stage. Robert Yacko is a vocal wonder. He is a brilliant actor, but something we’ve almost never heard before is Hook’s soliloquy and it’s a brooding, conceited, arrogant musing from Captain James Hook and he belts this out with all the bravado. I defy anyone working on Broadway today who’d be better than Robert. He’s wonderful Captain and evil to the core.

Digest: Where is it being performed?
Hennesy: We are at the Lobero Theatre at 33 E. Canon Perdido St. in Santa Barbara. For tickets you can call (805) 966-0190. It will run from December 17-28.

Digest: Or click on the link below.
Hennesy: That, too.Digest: What’s new with Carolyn Hennesy, Author?
Hennesy: Ah, Pandy. She’s my girl.

Digest: For anyone who doesn’t know, you began writing a series of children’s books based on the adventures of Pandora. The first two are available now, Pandora Gets Jealous and Pandora Gets Vain.
Hennesy: You do that so well [laughs]. Yes, three are written, two are out. The next one, Pandora Gets Lazy, comes out in April. We are just finishing up the glossary and the acknowledgements and the dedication. There’s a very interesting Berber dialect, found the northern section of Africa, and all my books, I dedicate to [her husband] Donald [Agnelli] and I try and use the language of the country that Pandy visited in the story and on this one, there ain’t no way [laughs]. I could not find anyone to get an “I love you” for Donald in the dialect. I’ve called consulates [laughs]. Please, someone, just give me something!

Digest: Are you enjoying wearing the writer’s hat?
Hennesy: I love it. I’m working on the fourth one now, which is Pandora Gets Lust and the challenge is, how do you do lust when you’re addressing 12-year-old girls? Believe it or not, the thing I thought was going to be the most difficult has turned out to be the most fun. Lust deals with Helen of Troy and Paris. That’s the lustiest coupling of all. They have Luke and Laura beat to heck [laughs]. And it involves the wedding of Thetis, the silver-footed goddess, to a mortal man, Peleus. Now tell me, what 8-year-old girl, 12-year-old girl, 46-year-old woman doesn’t love a wedding? So, it’s quite fun. I’m having a hooting good time with it.
Digest: How has the response been to the series?
Hennesy: Amazing. There has been only one negative review, and it was so poorly worded and personal that I’m convinced an ex-boyfriend wrote it. But then, I realized none of my ex-boyfriends can read or write [laughs]. I get letters on my Web site, every day, from kids who’ve read it or their mothers, from school teachers. It’s been amazing.

Digest: When’s the book tour?
Hennesy: In April, book three will be released and book one will be in paperback, and that’s when I’ll start touring. But already, I addressed The National Conference of Teachers of English in San Antonio. I’ve done readings at UCLA. I went to a school in Compton. I always try to find a chapter that’s exciting, doesn’t give too much away and leave them wanting more.

Digest: That must be rewarding.
Hennesy: There is nothing like having a child or mother or teacher come up to you and say “I loved your book.” It is pure and utter elation. I love being able to make people laugh, cry, think. With someone else’s words, that’s fantastic. That’s what I’m trained to do. But Pandora is the reason I was put on this planet. Pandora is my legacy. Kids are not in the picture. My books are my babies and they’re going to grow up and, I think, leave a wonderful legacy. They’ll never become President of the United States but maybe they’ll empower a future President of the United States. I think my life is worthwhile now, but that would really cap it.

For more information about The Santa Barbara Theatre Company’s production of Leonard Bernstein’s Peter Pan, check out:

The Pandora series is available in all major bookstores and