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Josh Kelly On Joining GH

Josh Kelly, who played Cutter Wentworth on ONE LIFE TO LIVE from 2010-11 and on the show’s web reboot in 2013, made a splashy GH debut last week in the role of Cody, an old pal of Dante’s who will spice up Britt’s life.

Kelly began thinking about a return trip to daytime after a friend of his auditioned for another character on GH last year. “He was like, ‘Dude, you should go in for this role,’ ” recalls the actor. “And I was like, ‘You know what? I miss working regularly.’ I’ve had a lot of fun doing other projects, but these last two years, I shot a pilot and then it was on hold throughout Covid — in two years, I got to do one scene, essentially. And also, I’ve had to go to Memphis or Albuquerque or Atlanta [to film on location] and I love traveling, but my home is in Los Angeles and I’ve never gotten to work here. I also missed being part of a little acting troupe family. So I actually texted [Executive Producer] Frank Valentini. I was like, ‘Hey, why am I not on GH?’ ”

Valentini, who was also his boss at OLTL, responded positively. “He was like, ‘Are you serious? You’d have to do a contract.’ And I was like, ‘Let’s do it!’ They were like, ‘We’re going to come up with a cool character for you’ — and they did!” beams Kelly. Valentini’s eagerness to work with him again “felt awesome,” he enthuses. “It meant a lot to me. I’d always felt like I wanted to do more [in daytime]. ONE LIFE TO LIVE was canceled kind of right when I was getting my legs underneath me and getting into my stride. So this, in a weird way, feels like I’m fulfilling my original contract. Frank and I, we’ve kept in touch and I’ve actually visited the set of GH a couple of times because I’ve had some friends working there, and I did some work on GREY’S ANATOMY and they shoot at the same lot. Whenever I’m over there, I always send him a text message and I’d come in and we’d talk, but the timing [to possibly join GH] has never been right. And now the timing seems kind of perfect.”

As he prepared for his first day on the job, “I was excited and nervous,” Kelly reports. “I haven’t done this much dialogue in this short of an amount of time, but that’s the challenge and it’s one of the reasons I wanted to do this. It’s a good work routine, and I think it’s good for your mind and your body. I came in for a Covid test on a Thursday, did a wardrobe fitting on a Friday and then on Monday, I was working — out of the frying pan and into the fire!”

He sums up his first few weeks on the job as “exciting  — and a little nerve-racking because it’s been 10 years since I’ve done daytime and it’s a completely different animal than single-camera and prime-time. And also, the Covid protocols really changed how I am used to working. I’m used to trying to get to know everybody, and we’re really limited with how much we can interact with each other off camera.”

Fortunately, he already had some connections in the cast. “I’ve worked with Michael Easton [Finn; ex-John, OLTL] and Roger [Howarth, Austin; ex-Todd, OLTL],” he notes. “Tanisha Harper [Jordan] and I did our very first TV show together, forever ago, and I did a Lifetime movie with Sofia Mattsson [Sasha] a couple of years ago. I’ve hung out with Chad [Duell, Michael] before through mutual friends; same with Kirsten [Storms, Maxie]. I ran into her the other day and she was like, ‘Hey, how are you? We had dinner, like, eight years ago.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I know!’ It’s really neat. It’s pretty surreal, actually, to show up at work and be like, ‘Hey, friend!’ It’s still seeping in how cool it is to know so many people.”

The actor has history not only with stars of the show, but with the show itself. “GENERAL HOSPITAL was the only soap opera that I watched when I was younger,” he explains. “My sister had control of the TV when we got home from high school, so we would watch GENERAL HOSPITAL and then I would get to watch BATMAN. The same thing kind of happened with my parents — when my dad was in the Navy, pretty much his whole squadron became addicted to the Luke and Laura saga. My family and friends are always happy for me [when I land a new job], but my sister seems to be really geeking out about this one! It’s really cool to be part of such a legacy show.”

He doesn’t take the honor lightly. “I always like to think about what ‘little kid Josh’ would think in the moment,” Kelly says. “It keeps me very happy on long days or times like last night, when I was late to a premiere for a movie that I was in because I was working on GENERAL freakin’ HOSPITAL! ‘Little kid Josh’ wouldn’t be upset about that, and so ‘big kid Josh’ wasn’t, either!”

Kelly is approaching his GH duties from that same place of appreciation. “I’m not satisfied with any of the work that I’ve done because I feel like I should be a lot better,” he muses. “But I was particularly proud of the work that I did on ONE LIFE TO LIVE. I had so much fun there and I love that it resonated with certain people. I know that some people didn’t like me and won’t like me and that’s something that as a performer, you have to accept. But I’m going to try! I’m going to try to do really well and to  entertain.”