Brytni Sarpy Talks About Moving From GH To Y&R
Brytni Sarpy, who originated the role of Luke’s niece Valerie Spencer on GH in 2015 has joined Y&R to play a new character named Elena Dawson. “She’s pretty fierce,” says the actress of her new alter. “She’s in the medical field and she comes in very protective of her uncle” — who is still a mystery — “which is what brings her on the playing field at Y&R. What I’ve read from the scenes so far, she’s very outspoken and has a mind of her own. She definitely is today’s woman.”
Although a familiar face on the ABC soap, Sarpy still went through the audition process at Y&R. “I tested with three other girls,” she shares. “Nancy Nayor does the casting at Y&R, and she was so pleasant to work with and very helpful throughout the process. I had a really good feeling about it, the energy in the building was really good and I got along great with the team over at Y&R.”
Sarpy found out later that same day that she got the role, but a night out to celebrate would have to wait. “I’m in the middle of a move right now, so you know what I did? I packed,” she says. “And for some reason that week a lot of people brought me doughnuts; that’s kind of a Brytni-ism. So, I had four drop-bys that week of doughnuts. I guess that was my celebration, lots of friggin’ doughnuts.”
Although her new gig was being kept under wraps, Sarpy wanted to inform the powers-that-be at GH that she would be leaving. “I shared the news with [Executive Producer] Frank Valentini, but what was funny, he knew before I knew,” she chuckles. “In fact, it actually came out a little more prematurely than we hoped. I was fine not telling anyone because I was still processing it all — going to a different soap and saying my good-byes to GENERAL HOSPITAL, so it was okay for me not to say anything. And I was still finishing my days at GENERAL HOSPITAL, as well, so it was an interesting transition.”
Leaving Valerie behind was tough, she relays. “I did invest some of my blood, sweat and tears into the character,” Sarpy notes. “I had been kind of creating who she was for four years, so it’s definitely been a bittersweet process. Valerie’s relationship with Kristina was developing and who knows what would’ve happened with Chase. I wish I could have at least finished out the character, but it was the timing of everything. I started filming pretty quickly after I booked Y&R, so there was not enough time to do that.”
Sarpy admits she feels a little territorial about Valerie, and if the soap decides to recast her, “I’d be a little bummed about it,” she shares. “As an actress, you create a role and it’s really hard to see someone step in those shoes. But I would be bummed, in all honesty.”
Packing up and saying good-bye to her first daytime gig was a mixed bag of emotions for Sarpy. “It was sad but also positive,” she reflects. “A lot of people at GENERAL HOSPITAL came from Y&R, so I heard nothing but good things about going to the new building. Even coming to Y&R, I already know a lot of people there already.”
Which means Sarpy’s first day at her new job went better than expected. “I thought I would have a lot of nerves, but I think because it’s such a familiar world to me, and for the most part, things are the same but different with how the environment is, it was a nice experience,” she points out. “I already know six or seven people, so I felt very comfortable walking through those doors and giving hugs to them. I know Camryn Grimes [Mariah] and she was the first person I saw. I know Jason Thompson [Billy; ex-Patrick, GH] because we used to work together. I know Noemi [Gonzalez, Mia] because we went through the BSA program together [at the University of California, Santa Barbara], so we both got our degrees together. I also know Kate Linder [Esther] and Christian LeBlanc [Michael]. It was really welcoming and nice to see people I already knew. Even going on set, there were people who recognized me as Valerie, so it was very comfortable. It was a great experience.”
Sarpy appreciates the support she got from fans during her time as Valerie. “It’s been a fun ride, it’s been a wild ride and I was so happy to be a part of it,” she enthuses. “I hope they continue following my journey with Elena; she’s going to be even more dynamic and more exciting.”
Brytni Sarpy is far from the first performer to make the leap from GH to Y&R. Here are some notable others:
Steve Burton: When the actor, who is now back on GH as Jason, exited Port Charles in 2012, he was quickly snapped up by Y&R to create the role of Dylan, which he played through 2017.
Sharon Case: The actress notched a mere three months in the role of Monica’s surprise daughter, Dawn, from 1989-90, but made her Y&R debut as Sharon in 1994 and will celebrate her 25th anniversary later this month.
Judith Chapman: Before she was Y&R’s Gloria (and now DAYS’s Diana), Chapman was GH’s Ginny from 1984-86.
Genie Francis: In between stints as GH’s signature heroine (Laura), Francis did a 2011-12 run as cunning Genevieve.
Adrianne León: In 2006, León quit her GH gig playing Ned’s daughter, Brook Lynn, to move over to Y&R as Colleen.
Leigh McCloskey: McCloskey was killed off GH as dastardly Damian in 1996 and popped up on Y&R a few months later as dastardly Kurt.
Tristan Rogers: Rogers, who’s now back on the GH canvas as Scorpio, has played Colin on and off since 2010.
Kin Shriner: The GH mainstay (Scotty) temporarily stepped into the role of Y&R’s Jeffrey in 2011.
Jason Thompson: Thompson wrapped up his 10-year stint as Patrick in January 2016, but before his final airdate, it was announced that he’d be joining Y&R as Billy.