INTERVIEW

Kristina Wagner On Her GH Return

“How about that,” smiles Kristina Wagner of her return to GH, which kicked off earlier this month.

The actress, who began her Port Charles career in 1984, has come and gone from the show multiple times in her career. “When you’re an actor on GENERAL HOSPITAL, you’re an actor on GENERAL HOSPITAL till death do you part,” she says. But when the pandemic hit in early 2020, “I wasn’t too anxious to come in at different times; I wasn’t too anxious to see if this was going to be a risk for me. They wanted to include me in Peter and Maxie’s wedding, but I was a little hesitant, which is why that didn’t happen.”

She did pop back in for Felicia to attend Sean’s memorial service in 2021 (“I was glad that they honored that relationship”), and toward the end of the year, when Executive Producer Frank Valentini reached out to her manager to inquire about her interest in returning, the timing was perfect. “My personal life has been really busy, but I have this new space where I need to kind of occupy my mind with other things,” she explains. “And this [comeback] is a perfect avenue for that. I’m really thrilled about it. I’m actually really excited about just having some creativity in my life again, and being back into this environment has been riveting. This show is a well-oiled machine and we’re moving at light speed. It’s a very different environment to work in than what I’m used to — and it’s hard! It’s very challenging but I’m up for the challenge and I’m thrilled to be there.”

Since going back to work, Wagner has been impressed with the Covid safety measures the show has undertaken. “They’ve adapted to the issue very well,” she praises. “I think there’s a lot of money spent on the protocols; we test [multiple] times a week, and in the makeup room, everything is spread out. I kind of like the privacy of that because when we get our hair and makeup done now, it gives you a chance to just be quiet and sit and study.”

She had warm reunions with her co-stars upon her return to the studio. “That first initial meeting, when you see them in the parking lot, or walking down the hall by the dressing rooms, everybody’s voices raise a couple of octaves,” she chuckles. “You get excited, but then it’s like, ‘Dang it, back to business! You’d better stay focused because we’re about to jump on that treadmill!’ There’s really no time for joking around. But I am so happy to be with all those actors that I’ve known and loved for many years. They’re my family, even if I don’t spend time with them away from the show.”

Having been out of the Port Charles loop for a bit, Wagner had some catching up to do. “Being away from the show for so long, I don’t know who some of the characters are, or what’s going on with the characters I do know. What I have found is that if you have a question about anything — you know, ‘What’s this thing with Maxie and Peter about?’ or, ‘Who is this guy from ONE LIFE TO LIVE [playing]?’ — you can just type it in on Google and it is amazing! As I’m studying my scripts, I’ve got my computer right next to me asking questions and I have had all my questions answered. I told my mom that, too, because she kind of took a hiatus for a while; of course, she wants to watch it now. I said, ‘Mom, just Google your questions!’ ”

Though Wagner had been on recurring status since reprising Felicia in 2012, this time around, she’s back on contract. “There’s a lot of opportunity,” she notes. “And I like what we’re doing now; I like how they’ve just sort of, like, put me on the canvas and it’s created a lot of color for the story that’s currently going on. I think the fans are going to like it. I think this is going to be fun!”

Wagner is touched by how warmly viewers have welcomed her back. “It’s profound,” she says. “You know, I always thought, ‘Why do they like me so much?’ The fans have always rooted for Felicia, they’ve always wanted her to be on the canvas and have story and drama and they always seemed charmed by her. It’s just like some kind of unthinkable magic! I’m just beside myself about it. I think it’s absolutely wonderful and I hope that we can deliver and please the fans, especially the long-standing fans. It’s different now, but we’ll find the magic in a different way and let it unfold in a different way.”

Moving forward as Felicia, the actress is game for anything — well, almost anything. “No twin sisters!” she winks. “I’m really not up for that challenge. I don’t want to be an Alex or an Anna!”

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