Already have an account?
Get back to the


Exclusive: GENERAL HOSPITAL's Steve Burton Opens Up About His Jason Comeback


Disney/Christine Bartolucci

GH announced Steve Burton’s return as Jason during its prime-time special in January, kicking off a countdown to his comeback that ends on March 4, when Jason makes his first on-air appearance. The actor opened up to Digest about slipping back into Jason’s shoes and his own evolution since he last aired in 2021, saying, “I’m super-grateful for the opportunity to come back and share myself as a new person.”


Soap Opera Digest: When you shot the teaser for your return for the prime-time special, that was your first time back in the studio in several years. What was that experience like?

Steve Burton: You know, I wasn’t sure what it would be like, but honestly, it’s somewhere where there’s so much history in my life and that’s always felt like home. Obviously, I had to leave and all those things, but I’ve changed a lot in those two years myself. They tried to keep it on the down-low, which didn’t really work. The cast, the crew, hair and makeup, wardrobe — everybody knew I had to be there. The crew didn’t know, actually. So walked on stage, and it was super-cool. It was just so warm and welcoming and people were very excited. It started at the gate when the security [guard], Emma, who’s been there forever, ran out and gave me a huge hug. It was so sweet, you know? It really made me happy.

Digest: What were your reunions like with Laura Wright (Carly) and Kelly Monaco (Sam)?

Burton: Yeah, that was cool! I didn’t even know what I was shooting. I didn’t even know I had that line [“Happy anniversary, GENERAL HOSPITAL. Stay tuned — big things are coming to Port Charles”]. I really knew nothing. One of the producers, who’s a good friend of mine and a really great guy, he just kind of hung out with me. He was like, “Hey, let’s just hang out in the dressing room.” And I said, “Do I have lines?” He goes, “I think, let me check.” Laura did come in prior and she was super-excited. I didn’t see Kelly until [we were] on stage, which was cool, and it was just great. It was fun to shoot. The crew was like, “What the heck is going on here?!” It was exciting. You know, I was there for so long. I grew up there. Family is going to be family. You’re going to have disagreements, you’re going to have things happen in life, and hopefully we all move forward from it and grow from it.

Digest: There was a huge reaction in the soap world when that aired and people knew that Jason Morgan was a-comin’. What did that mean to you, to know that the character still evokes that kind of response?

Burton: I literally got goosebumps when you said it, just because it was a great idea for Frank [Valentini, executive producer] to do that [announcement in the prime-time special]. I think it was a huge surprise for everybody and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Jane Elliot [Tracy] and I were talking in the makeup room. She goes, “Can you believe they still call me?” And I go, “Can you believe I’m 53 and they’re still calling me?!” We’re so grateful, you know? It’s pretty cool. To be able to have a character like that, look, as an actor, it’s always great to go to different things. That’s why we become actors. But when you fall into a character that you can have fun [with], do what you love to do, performance-wise, get to do the stunts, be involved in cool story, be involved with great actors — it’s really just a dream character for me.

Digest: And hey, who wouldn’t love to come to work and put on a black T-shirt?

Burton: I don’t even have to put it on — it’s on! I carry three in my backpack, new fresh ones, all the time. So I’m ready wherever I am. And now, especially, with the comeback, there’s no hiding in public anymore. With people, it can be out of sight, out of mind a little bit, maybe someone will recognize me [when I’m out and about] but now that [my return] has been in the press and everything, it’s, “Here comes the guy with the spiky hair and black T-shirt. That could be Jason. Oh, it is!” There’s no hiding, but people have just been so gracious, [saying] “I can’t wait until March 4th” and all this. It’s very sweet.

Digest: Did GH’s wardrobe director, Shawn Reeves, hook you up with new T-shirts or did your old ones just get taken out of storage?

Burton: I’m sure he bought some new ones. I found a particular long-sleeve black T-hirt I like, so he bought some of those for me because it still is winter-ish. I don’t see really much more of a change in my wardrobe, so to speak. Listen, they save so much money with my wardrobe! I probably have the cheapest wardrobe in daytime history for a contract player. There’s no doubt, because half the time, the T-shirts are mine!

Digest: Because you’d shot that bit for the prime-time special, you’d gotten that first trip back to the studio out of the way, but what was it like going to work on your first real day back playing Jason?

Burton: For me, I’m a creature of habit, so I did not change one thing. The first day I came in, I was the first one in the parking lot at 4:45 a.m. I’m in the gym, I shower, I do my same thing I did every time I was there. I just wanted to make it the same for me. But it was great. It was great being back. It was great being back in the building early and alone, getting a workout in, feeling good, getting ready for the day. You know, it’s just a great way to prepare and I was excited. I was excited to be back. With everything that’s happened in my life in the past couple of years and all the growth and work I try to do every day, I just feel like it’s brought my acting …. I don’t know, my acting is more focused, if that’s even a thing. So I’m excited and it’s been amazing so far, being back for the two weeks that I worked.

Digest: You mentioned intersecting with Jane Elliot in the makeup room. What are some of the other backstage reunions that stick out to you?

Burton: It’s so funny because I guess Chad Duell [Michael] and Josh Swickard [Chase] are like my two sons, apparently. They’re such great guys and such kids at heart, still, and I see them as kids even though they’re, I don’t know, 30-something. We just had Josh on our podcast over at Daily Drama. Big Labrador Retriever, like every time I come in the building he’s like [adopts excited tone], “Hey, Steve! Hey Steve!'” Maurice [Benard, Sonny] came in my first day and it was amazing. You see people [sporadically] because obviously everyone doesn’t work at the same time all the time, but I saw Finola [Hughes, Anna] and Young Willow, as I call her Katey [MacMullen]. There’s a lot of people but I don’t want to spoil anything [about who I’ve worked with]. It’s been awesome to see everyone. It was so good to see Jane, obviously, because she started before me but I’ve worked with her since 1991. We’re like, “Man, this is crazy. We’re still doing this!” She’s awesome.


Disney/Eric McCandless

Reunion Tour: Burton reunited with Laura Wright (Carly, l.) and Kelly Monaco (Sam) when he shot the teaser of Jason’s return for the show’s prime-time special.

Digest: Has it been fun for you to kind of see all the speculation among fans about what Jason’s storyline will be?

Burton: Yes, I love the speculation. I love how invested people are in this and they’ll be dying on their sword that they’re right! I happened to talk to a fan and she was like, “So, this is what it is. You’re doing this, then this happens.” I go, “Hey, guess what? None of that is right! So, watch March 4th!”

Digest: When the circumstances of Jason’s return were being figured out, were you curious about what they had in mind? Did that matter to you?

Burton: Listen, I’ve never been a guy to dictate story. I’ve never been somebody going, “Hey, I can’t or won’t do this.” If there was anything I needed, it was always on the day [that particular episode was shot], like, “Hey,  this is not really working, can we change something?” [During that process] there was a head writer switch. So apparently there was a whole different story planned and then the head writer switch happened and then they kind of rebooted [the story arc]. I know Patrick [Mulcahey, one of the new head writers] a little bit, but I really know Elizabeth Korte [who was promoted to co-head writer]. There’s no one in the building that loves that show, knows the history of the character, and is invested in it 100 percent than Elizabeth. There has never been a more deserved promotion, ever. Once I know that she was [one of the head writers], I was like, “Oh, this is gonna be good! I cannot wait.” And it has been exactly that. Everything has been amazing.

Digest: There have been a lot of scenes recently with Danny, and people talking about how much Danny is like his father. With both Jake and Danny being teenagers now, does it interest you to get to explore Jason as a father more this time around?

Burton: Yeah, it does. I was actually talking to Bradford [Anderson, Spinelli] about this. When you have teen actors or teen characters, then you start having a point of view. When a kid is eight or nine, there’s really no point of view. But these kids are each going to have their own point of view of who I am, what the relationship is, and we get to work on that and build on that. So, yes, I am excited to work with both of them.

Digest: A hot topic among fans is who might stir up romantic feelings in Jason this time around. Jason has had several really successful pairings, and there’s a lot of chatter among the different fan bases for your different couplings, wondering if this is their time. Is that part of the fun of this return for you?

Burton: It is! Some of those fan wars got pretty nasty, you know, and obviously none of us wanted that, but it was what it was. I think so much time has passed now. I’m hoping that, you know, maybe the show can kind of tease it and see what happens. I don’t know what the plan is, but again, I’m just gonna do whatever the head writers write and we’ll see where it takes us. I mean, from what I heard, Britt’s dead, so I guess that’s over.

Digest: Well, from what I heard, Jason was, too!

Burton: That’s true. A couple of times!

Digest: You said that you feel like your acting is more focused now. Can you explain what feels different to you now about the way you’re working and playing Jason?

Burton: Without getting too into the weeds about the personal work [I’ve done], I feel that when you come to a place when you have internal peace, which is really what everybody wants, right? It’s not even to be happy, it’s really to be loved and to have internal peace, and not let everything external dictate the internal. I always tell people, because I coach, “If the external is jacked up and the internal is jacked up, you’re jacked. But if the external is crazy and the internal is okay, you’re gonna be okay.” I’ve done this work over the years and I’m at peace. I’m at the most peace I’ve been in my life, the happiest I’ve been in my life, the most secure I’ve been in my life. And I’m not talking about [secure] financially, I’m just talking about as a human being and it just gives you this power and focus that you didn’t have before and you can’t really understand it until you do it, until you put the work in and you go, “Oh, I get to control so much. I control what I do. I control my day. I control my habits. I could set myself up for success.” So it’s all bleeding into my life in every category now with business, with acting, with relationships, with my kids, all this stuff. I’m just so in the zone. And that’s the other thing, too — when you’re acting, if you’re a creative person, you really have a chance to get into a state that most people won’t experience often. And that’s being in flow state. If you’re a writer, if you’re a painter, if you’re a musician, if you’re an actor, if you’re doing something creative or maybe you’re just cleaning the house with music on and all of a sudden an hour goes by and you’re like, “Wow, where did that hour go?” That’s what I get to do in a lot of areas of my life, but I get to do it on stage. I just have such a great appreciation of being able to go up there and do what I love to a different way now, through a different vessel, being a completely different person after three years. And that’s what’s amazing to me. I just feel like the self-control and the discipline [I’ve gained] has allowed me to become a better actor. I’m way more in tune with my emotions than I’ve ever been in my life, also. I’m not gonna leave anything on the table in my life anymore. I always say, “We have one life, don’t settle.” And that goes across the board. With acting, I’m just gonna leave it all on the table and hey, if it’s awesome, it’s awesome. And if it happens not to be that day, then it’s not. But I always wanna go the extra mile in anything I do. I’m just gonna give it 110% every day. That’s why I do what I do daily and I don’t miss a day because really you’re training for life, and life is gonna throw things at you. You’re gonna go through adversity. It’s always about how you handle it.

Digest: Soaps are unique in that actors do have the ability to leave and come back from a different vantage point.

Burton: Yeah. I think leaving is the best thing people can do. It’s always in the best way or whatever it may be, but the circumstances don’t matter. It forces you to grow as a person. There’s no doubt about it. You’re out of your comfort zone. When you’re uncomfortable, you’re going to grow. And a lot of times when you leave a very comfortable job, where they hand you everything and it’s very easy and people get very complacent, it’s not a great state to live in. In life, when you’re forced into being uncomfortable, you’re like, “Oh, wait, there’s a whole other world out here. Now I have to figure out how I’m gonna survive out here,” you know? And it changes the game. GH will always be my home. I’ve left a few times. I left in 2012, which was the big one, and the last one, and it completely changed me as a human being every every time I left and I’m so grateful for that and I’m super-grateful for the opportunity to come back and share myself as a new person, also. [Some people may think] “Oh, he’s coming back again. Who gives a rat’s ass at this point?” You know, “What’s different?” Well, a lot is different this time. I’m different. The writing is different. The show is different. And it’s going to be great.

Digest: What do you want to say to your fans now that the countdown to your return is all but over?

Burton: Obviously, always, I want to say thank you for your support over the years. It’s an exciting time for me in my life. It’s exciting time to be back on GENERAL HOSPITAL and I can truly say that they’re not gonna be disappointed by this story. And that’s a big thing to say because a lot of times you can’t! And  a lot of times you don’t know! But from what I’ve shot, the scenes I’ve shot already, no they’re not gonna be disappointed. So I’m excited. I’m super-excited to see what the response is going to be.

For a photo history of Jason Morgan, click here, and check out Burton’s Daily Drama podcast with Bradford Anderson (Spinelli) here.