GH's Kelly Monaco On Cloud Nine

“It’s been amazing,” raves the actress. “I’m in heaven right now.” She should be. Besides cozying up on-screen to Australian hunk Ingo Rademacher (Jax), Monaco has been sharing scenes with a few other top-notch men. “They’ve got me working with the big-time ballers, here,” she marvels about her star-studded cast. “I was doing scenes with Anthony Geary [Luke] the other day — we kind of become partners in crime for a minute — and I’m standing there thinking, ‘Dude, this is Tony Geary! Luke and Laura! [laughs]’ I was, like, eight years old when I watched that. How cool is that? And
, Sonny]. How long have I been saying that I wanted to work with him? And now I’m being thrown into scenes with him.”Monaco isn’t the only one elated about her new role: ABC is flying high. “I know that the network is happy, which makes me happy,” she smiles. “It’s fun. I’m trying hard, man!” Her hard work was evident in recent, well-done emotional scenes during which Monaco portrayed Sam’s vulnerable side as opposed to her staunch independence as she broke down in front of Jax, who blamed her for his father’s death. “That was good stuff,” Monaco recalls. “It’s all about development; it’s all coming together.”And she isn’t just talking about herself. Monaco is thrilled at the success many of her PC co-stars have had. “Everyone’s moving into other phases,” she enthuses. “It’s so exciting seeing everybody doing other things.” Especially gratifying has been watching her former co-star, Michael Easton (ex-Caleb, PC) on ONE LIFE TO LIVE as John. Until reuniting at ABC’s Super Soap Weekend in Orlando a few weeks back, Monaco hadn’t seen Easton since their last day at PC. “Seeing Michael … it was just great,” she says. “We talked for about an hour before we got pulled away from each other to do our work. It was overwhelming, though. It made us realize how much we really miss each other’s work and each other’s company.”Of course, Monaco also misses former on-screen rival and off-screen best friend, Erin Hershey Presley (ex-Alison), who is a contender for a co-host spot on THE VIEW. “I am so excited for her!” declares Monaco, who reveals that they talk at least once a day. “We got really sad on the phone, though,” she suddenly admits. “I said, ‘Erin, do you realize you’re moving to New York?’ She was, like, ‘No, no no! Don’t say that!’ And I said, ‘No! Do you realize you are freakin’ moving to New York! I am going to miss you so much!’ And, again, she was, like, ‘Don’t go there yet!’ In my eyes, she is there.”Monaco is still amazed at her luck, landing this gig even before PORT CHARLES went off the air. “I’m so glad that this is the soap that I chose,” she shares. “I am getting to play off of everybody, and it only enhances my performance; this was my destiny.” The actress adds that since she stepped foot on set, she hasn’t stopped learning. “I’m a sponge,” she deadpans. “I hate to say that because it’s so cliche, but I’m really feel like I’m absorbing so much there.”