Second Day of Days

I spent the second day of my weekend in LA with my family doing tourist stuff, but then it was time for an evening with Stephen and Mary Beth! The event was a performance and fundraiser for a nonprofit group called One World Stage & Screen, which provides classes, coaching, and mentorship for young actors.

Mama P and I got there just in time to go into the theater. The performance was a short two-actor play called Annapurna, by Sharr White. I wasn’t familiar with it, but I did some googling and found that it has been performed all over, including a run in LA starring Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman.


Thanks Liz for the photo!

It was a “dramatic reading” rather than a staged play, meaning Stephen and Mary Beth had their scripts throughout, and there were no props. Here is the plot: Emma (Mary Beth) comes to visit her poet ex-husband Ulysses (Stephen). She finds him living in poverty and squalor and dying of emphysema. Over the course of the play, we learn that Emma left Ulysses 20 years before, suddenly, in the middle of the night, taking their 5 year old son with her. She has just now left her second husband, a “nice” guy who has just beat her up, partly because she couldn’t get over Ulysses. We learn that Ulysses was a heavy drinker all through their marriage and afterwards (but has now given it up). The son, now 25, has just discovered that Ulysses was writing to him over the 20 years and plans to come see him. That’s why Emma is here. She also heard that he was dying, and wants to “see him out,” as she says. By the end of the play, we hear what drove her away that night 20 years ago, and we see that their bond has not broken in spite of it all.

The play was a good choice for Stephen and Mary Beth. Ulysses is dying, bitter, concealing old hurts, but still has a raffish charm. Emma is bitter too, blaming him for the past, and yet still drawn to him in spite of herself. I enjoyed the play on its own merits, and it was thrilling to see Stephen and Mary Beth live, working their magic, playing off of one another. However, my mind also drifted several times to Steve and Kayla, since there were some interesting parallels. First, since I feel that Kayla’s point of view gets short shrift these days, it was nice to see both of these characters able to express their hurt and bitterness. When Emma talked about being married to her “nice” second husband and how there were always three in the bed, made me think of Kayla’s marriage to Jack, and the way he snapped too. All in all, it was a Steve and Kayla story if Steve were a little less redeemable and Kayla a little more bitter.

It also made me think of how Steve and Kayla might have turned out if Steve had succeeded in pushing her away permanently, and they met again 20 years later. How would their lives have turned out? Would Kayla marry and have a (long-term) loveless marriage, and Steve slide into despair and self-destruction? I found that very intriguing to imagine as I watched this story unfold.

After the play, there was a reception. On the way there I saw Kate Mansi, on her way out. Later I also saw Christopher Sean. There were rumors that James Lastovic was going to be there, but I never saw him. At the reception we chatted with friends, including Erica and Lysie from Daytime Royalty, who pumped me for information on Greg’s event the day before. Then Erica discreetly pointed out that Matt Ashford was standing right behind me, talking to Mary Beth’s family. Like all actors, Matt looks super skinny in person, and he was wearing a suit jacket and pants with a t-shirt, and had a bulky fanny pack around his waist. It was a … unique look.

I was super excited to be so close to Matt, but I didn’t want to be an annoying intrusive fan and interrupt his conversation. Mama P had no such compunction, and she went over and grabbed him and said she wanted a picture of him with her daughter. (Thanks, Mama P!) Matt said, “Oh, why don’t we step over here?” and before I knew it I was on the red carpet with Matt and ten or more people were taking our picture.

Matt, trying to make small talk, asked me how I enjoyed the performance and I stammered something and said, “I’m sorry, I’m a little starstruck.” He laughed and put his arm around me and my mom took this picture. What a sweetheart!


Afterwards I jumping up and down with excitement and everyone was teasing me about it. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to talk to or take a picture with Stephen and Mary Beth at the event (you could pay extra for a photo, and we didn’t spring for it). But I do have to say one of my most thrilling moments was right after I stepped away from Matt. Stephen spotted him and came up to give Matt a big hug. Seeing the Johnson brothers hugging might have been the highlight of the whole trip. I only wish I had been quick enough to take a picture.

The next day we were on the plane home. How soon til the next Day of Days??

EDIT: Jess, who was taking pictures for DR, just tweeted a few more pictures of Matt and Mama P and me. How did I not notice that Matt is wearing a James Joyce Ulysses shirt? Did he do that in honor of Stephen’s character? And just the fact that he owns a t-shirt for a classic novel seems so … Jack. Awesome.



25 thoughts on “Second Day of Days

  1. Thanks MP…for all the people on line that I have seen mention that they went to the play, your review is actually the first I have seen of what the night was like and what the play was about. Seriously, from across the seas, THANK YOU! I appreciate you taking the time to share with those who could not possibly be there. It makes me a little less sad to have missed out.

  2. Thanks for the awesome recap!! How cool to be able to see them live—their chemistry and how well they play off each other must really shine ! As for Matt Ashford–I have a personal story to share. I was NEVER a Jack fan——but I did like Matt. In a TV Guide piece, years ago (1988), he made a comment that I found off-putting & I wrote him a letter regarding it. A few weeks later, I received a 4 page hand-written note with an explanation of what he had said —– an awesome gesture, and, needless to say, I still have the note !! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Super cool LJ! I’d love to know the details (and see the note haha!)

      Thank you so much Mary for sharing and actually telling us about the reading. I bet it was amazing seeing those 2 in action.

      • So Mary, referring to something from your previous write-up; I checked my sister’s DVR—Bo died on the episode that aired November 20, 2015 ! Do you think the poor guy will even get a mention ? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  3. Thanks for Sharing your “Day of Days” trip, it sounds you two had a wonderful time.

    I’m glad Stephen and Mary Beth are such good friends in real life.
    Some “Super Couples” do have good relationship and even friendship off screen – but it is heartwarming to see those two have a real bond, and if I’m not mistaken, it is quite rare in the industry.

    Matt talking to MB’s family and hugging Stephen while wearing a Ulysses shirt – totally gave me a Johnson family heart- wrenching vibe. I’m really happy to see that after almost 30 years, there are still feelings of closeness and support.

    Matt sporting a fanny pack reminded me that a few years ago we decided to hide my dad’s. Just saying I think it was a good call from our side ๐Ÿ™‚

    • It is nice that Stephen and Mary Beth get along so well. It’s not necessary for two people to get along to make a great supercouple, but I’m sure it helps. Besides, it makes it fun to go to fan events with them. ๐Ÿ™‚

      The fanny pack was something else! Matt appears to be a bit eccentric, like Jack! It’s so cute.

  4. Thanks for the recap. I would have loved to see the play, especially after reading Mary Beth’s blog about it this morning. I started reading some reviews about the play and now I’m off to the library to see if by some luck they have a copy of the script so I can read it. Won’t be like seeing it in person, but better than nothing.

  5. If you do find the play, keep in mind that Stephen and Mary Beth didn’t do the whole play. They had it edited down because of time constraints. So the staged reading was just a portion of it. Not that it matters because I think the whole play is good, just wanted to let you know. ๐Ÿ™‚

    The whole weekend was fun and I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with MP and Mama Pickford on Saturday. Stephen and Mary Beth’s performance on Sunday was magical. Some really amazing moments of connection and some powerhouse moments from both of them.

  6. OK, Stephen, MaryBeth and Matt! I love that picture of the two of you. You look so adorably excited! He’s looking great too! Why won’t they bring Jack back!? Perfect opportunity with the new Spectator story.

    Loved your comments about the performance. What a treat to see them do something different like that together. Have they ever done Love Letters? Seems like a perfect fit for them.

  7. Awesome! I wish you had gotten a pic of Stephen and Matt together and of course I would like to have seen you get Matt to sit in your lap for a pic (like I did when I was a teen). It seems like your Mom could have figured a way to make that happen…LOL. I would also like to have seen the fanny pack. I’m so jealous but I am glad you and your Mom had such a good time.

  8. It was a magical weekend. The lines don’t feel so long when you have good company to share the time with. Thank you, “Mary Pickford” and Erica! The evening with Greg Vaughan was such fun – he can relate to everybody. The play performed by Mary Beth and Steven had me laughing but mostly crying. And seeing Matt Ashford at the after party made it even more special!

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