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Michael Damian On His Y&R Return

Although he’s been back several times to reprise Danny Romalotti in recent years, Michael Damian reports that this latest return is very different. “I’m usually brought in for anniversaries or parties or big events like that, so this is the first time in a long while that it’s just Danny visiting Genoa City for no other reason than to see his family,” says the actor/singer. “Last time, I had scenes with Lauralee [Bell, Christine] where Danny and Cricket talked about old times but it was a little awkward for them. She was still with Paul, and Danny could tell she was a little uncomfortable talking to him. Then she gave him a ride to the airport and we never knew what they talked about during that drive. So Josh [Griffith, co-executive producer/head writer] created a nice little setup to come back to.”

As usual, returning to Y&R came down to timing for Damian, who has been a busy movie producer and director for years. “When I’m in the middle of making a movie, I’m usually in another country so it’s pretty hard for me to get away,” he explains. “I was in Paris and New York all this summer finishing up with directing PARIS CHRISTMAS WALTZ, and now that we’re in post-production, I have a lot more flexibility. So I had a nice block of time to devote to Y&R.”

News of Danny’s return brought about a positive fan response. “I’ve gotten a tremendous reaction on social media,” marvels Damian. “The fans have been posting some clips from the past that I’d forgotten all about, like when Danny just finishes making the bed and Cricket comes out wearing sexy lingerie, or when they were in the kitchen cooking Italian food for a dinner party. The fans are really excited about this, which is very touching to me.”

Before Damian taped any scenes with Bell, he first worked with Michael Graziadei (Daniel) and Michelle Stafford (Phyllis). “I just love those two and it’s always very special for me to be reunited with them,” he enthuses. “It’s always fun with Michelle and I love our little banter every time. And Michael Graziadei, that’s my boy. I’ve loved him since we first started working together years ago. I have to say that the Danny/Phyllis/Daniel scenes are pretty exceptional right out of the gate.”
Danny may be a popular musician, but Damian isn’t sure yet how much singing the Y&R audience will be hearing from him. “The show asked me to brush up on my piano, so I’ve been practicing a lot,” he chuckles. But he’s on board for crooning, too. “Are you kidding? I’m ready to go!”

Damian is especially looking forward to kicking off this latest chapter with Danny and Christine. “I think the fans are really going to enjoy this,” he smiles. “The writers are keeping it real with all of that history and the great story that can go along with it. The fans have been on this roller-coaster ride with Danny and Cricket for a long time so I think they’ll be treated to some good story. And things have been really fun and harmonious behind the camera since I got here. The people have been wonderful and the scripts are excellent. I think this time we’ll be getting back to Danny and Cricket having fun, but of course there’s the Cricket/Phyllis dynamic with Phyllis still calling her The Bug [laughs].” Plus, he adds, “Phyllis is not going to like Danny and Cricket [spending time with each other], and Phyllis is in rehabilitation mode where she’s trying to be a good person now and I’m like, ‘Okay, let’s see it.’ It’s very interesting dynamics. Phyllis is like, ‘Oh, my God, you’re still not over her!’ So, it’s kind of fun.”

And when this current story arc is finished, Damian assures he’ll always be up for more appearances. “Y&R is my other family,” he affirms. “It’s the home that I love visiting whenever I can.”

But for now, he’s just excited about what’s coming up. “I think there’s a lot of story that’s going to unfold,” he hints. “Believe me, I’ve been reading all the texts and tweets from the fans and they’re asking a lot of questions and they’ve been waiting a long time for this. So they’ve been the most patient. God, I love them.”