Long-time The Young and the Restless fans are in for a special treat this holiday season as Michael Damian returns to the soap as Danny Romalotti after almost 10 years! In addition to sharing scenes with his ex-wife Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) and son Daniel (Michael Graziadei), look for Michael to reunite onscreen with two of his leading ladies from the ‘80s – Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren) and Beth Maitland (Traci).
The TV Watercooler was fortunate to speak with Michael, Tracey, and Beth to get a preview of their reunion, the high ‘80s hair, and the wishes their characters may have for the New Year.
Thank you for joining me! The Young and the Restless celebrates 50 years in March 2023 while Tracey and Beth are celebrating their 40th anniversaries on the show this year! Time flies…
Beth: Yes, it does! It just seems like yesterday… We love getting together whenever we can. It’s too rare, but we fall right back into sync.
Tracey: So true. It’s like no time has gone!
What was it like for the three of you to reunite on set after so long?
Tracey: I mean, literally, it was like no time had gone past! We saw each other and that was it. We started yammering away, singing, having fun, and laughing! It was just amazing.
Beth: I think it’s a compliment to the relationship that was set up so many years ago. We had so much fun together back in the day and still have so much respect and love for each other that even when times change, time moves forward, and lives go on, we go different ways…
Michael said something about it like being a high school reunion or something, but I think it’s even better than that because [our friendship] was based on a foundation of absolute love and respect for each other that transcends time.
We laughed and laughed. We interrupted people and we even made people mad because we were having more fun than they were!
Tracey: Beth and I are always in contact. Michael and I will always talk over Instagram and send each other notes. It’s not like there have been 40 years of nothing, we all do stay in contact, but to have us in a room together, that was magic.
Michael: Absolutely! Well said. I concur with the ladies. It was too much fun. We forgot we were working! We actually paid them to be all together, which is pretty unusual! [Everyone laughs]
The Young and the Restless doesn’t get paid by the actors but we…
Tracey: Coughed it up!
Michael: Yeah, we did!
The fans are definitely looking forward to it. Michael, it’s been almost 10 years since Danny was on the show for Katherine Chancellor’s memorial service. How did this return come about?
The show reached out to me and said that it’s their big 50 and that they were bringing back my son Daniel [played by Michael Graziadei] and wanted to know if I was available to come back to Genoa City and have some fun – do some episodes with Beth Maitland (Traci), Tracey Bregman (Lauren), Michael Graziadei (Daniel), Michelle Stafford (Phyllis), and Christian LeBlanc (Michael), and who could say “no” to that?
It was perfect timing, and I was really excited about not just coming back but I really enjoyed the scripts that they sent. I thought the dialogue was excellent.
Would you say girls that the dialogue in the scenes that we had was pretty fun and well-written?
Tracey: So much fun!
Beth: My only complaint was that it was too short!
Tracey: I’m on that complaint with you, yes!
Michael: I don’t want to give away too many secrets, but there was a little bit of tête-à-tête between the two of your characters and I had to break you up! I guess maybe they didn’t want too much brawling in our first episode together, right?
Tracey: They didn’t want us rolling over all the tables. There was a little homage to the past!
Michael: Yes, some fun needling.
Beth: There was some fun all the way around. Even with that small cut, I just still think it was just too short! I needed about six more episodes of build-up! It warmed my little sentimental heart!
Michael: Aww, mine too! You’ve got a big heart, though.
Tracey: Yeah, I was going to say, don’t bump that beautiful heart!
Beth: Listen to us, we’re like a mutual admiration society.
Michael: I know! It’s fun!
That’s sweet because the fans also regard Traci as not just the heart of the Abbott family, but the show now.
Beth: Thank you. I love having aged into that spot and I love that I’m still there to provide it. It is my great pleasure every day that I get to show up and bring a little bit of stability and maybe a little bit of conscience to an otherwise wacky soap opera.
Michael, what can you speak about how Danny’s relationships are like with Phyllis and Daniel when he returns to Genoa City?
Well, there are some big surprises with what I find out from my son. There are some things that Phyllis and Danny both find out together, and we’re both surprised by some of the things that have transpired.
So, there’s that conflict and trying to figure out what’s going on in his life. It’s great. It’s centered around Christmas and New Year’s. It’s holiday time, so there’s a lot of excitement in Genoa City.
There’s this New Year’s Eve event, which is awesome, and that’s when I run into the girls, and we have a great time!
There are some surprises that happen after that, which I can’t give away! I think that the audience is going to be pleased!
I’m extra excited about what we all did, and it was really touching, and it’s really hard to keep myself from tearing but, but there was a lot of emotion, a lot of heart, and a lot of warmth in the scenes that we had together.
Beth: That was kind of the culmination for all of us, I think, is the gift that this is for the fans. The only reason that we’re still here is because people are still watching.
Michael Damian taught me the most, out of any other human on earth, to honour and respect the fans. Watching him interact with people, treating every individual like they were special because they are. He taught me everything there is to know about how to honour, cherish, and treasure the people that keep us spinning.
Our little reunion, for all three of us, is a gift from us and from the show, for the 50th for our proud history and the legacy that we wish to leave. It was just much fun to be able to give that to the fans!
Will Danny see Cricket (aka Christine; Lauralee Bell)?
Michael: If I was betting on this, I would probably bet in favour of it! I do live in Las Vegas, but I don’t really gamble! If I were gambling in the casino, I’d definitely roll the dice on a Danny and Cricket encounter.
You know, I just think it’s probably inevitable! If not, we’ll just do it offline in the hallways at CBS and I’ll post it!
Throw Phyllis into that scene and have her call her “The Bug,” and I’m sure it’ll go viral for the fans.
That’s great! I love it. I forgot about “The Bug!”
Beth, what can you tease about the Abbott family Christmas this year? Diane and Tucker are back, which complicates things.
Beth: Oh, my goodness! It’s a typical Abbott Christmas where we all have good intentions and everything starts on the right foot and I don’t know…things in Genoa City just spiral out of control! [Laughs]
Tracey, fans want more of the Baldwin-Fisher family and even something for Michael and Lauren. Can you please let us know if there’s anything coming up for you guys?
Tracey: We will see a lot of the Baldwin-Fishers in January. Stay Tuned!
Michael: Can I bring up a story idea that I just want to talk about for a moment? My wife Janeen has brought this up. Way back, Lauren gave Danny a gift, but it was really from Traci during Christmas. Janeen is wondering if Danny ever found out that the present was really from Traci and not Lauren. Does this ring a bell?
Tracey: Even if we did an entire storyline around this, I still don’t remember it!
Michael: If we could dig that up, along with our “Against All Odds” music video, I’ll pay the show again to come back on! I really will! Mrs. Chancellor paid for that music video!
If they still need some big reveals for the anniversary show, this could be one of them! Traci will finally get the man!
It’s about time that Traci found some love. They teased something with Cane a few years back which didn’t pan out. The fans want to see Traci get her “Happily Ever After?” Is Danny still single? If Christine is still with Paul, who we haven’t seen in years, maybe the Rock Star could finally reunite with the President of his Fan Club.
Michael: We were married!
Until that college professor…
Beth: I’ll never live that down!
Michael: I lived in her bedroom!
Beth: Yes, that’s when we were married. I was your first wife! You saved me from humiliation and family ruin. You and Cricket saved me from killing myself.
Michael: Yeah, it was a pretty heavy storyline. A lot of emotion and depth. I’ll never forget John Abbott (Jerry Douglas) going “Danny, are you happy?” And I’m going “Oh yeah, Mr. Abbott, I’m good.”
Beth: “I’m sleeping on the bench at the foot of the bed, I’m all good!” I don’t know if you remember this Michael, but I had this little bedroom set and there was a twin bed that you’re jumping on your pajamas were around your ankles!
Tracey: Wow! How did I miss this episode?
Beth: He was covering, don’t worry! That must have been one of the funniest moments! Do you remember this?
Michael: Yes! I also remember that my hair couldn’t fit into the set. It stuck out over the edge of the set!
Tracey: Yeah, we needed the entire set for our hair.
Michael: That’s when Bill Bell called me up to his office and said, “Michael, could you please do me a favour?” “Yeah, what is it, Mr. Bell?” I replied. “Could you just get a haircut?” I was like “Oh, is it too long?” And he said, “Yeah when you’re doing scenes with Traci and Lauren, you guys can’t even fit into a close-up because the hair is so big!” I was like, “Why don’t the girls cut their hair?”
Beth: To circle back to your question, there’s nothing that I’d like more. I think to also honour the fans that have watched for so long and been through so much with Traci, who is not a typical soap opera character but is a typical human. I think that at this stage in life with all the things Traci has faced, there would be nothing more satisfying and rewarding than for Traci to find happiness.
She’s found a way to make happiness alone, and she’s busy pouring out her love, heart, and support to her family and friends. It would be so great for Traci to have a romance. I think it would be an amazing story!
Tracey: We all want to see that!
Michael: Yeah, me too!
Beth: [Laughs] I don’t know… Michael, what are you doing for the next few months?
Michael: Yeah, I’m just hanging out on the snow…
Beth: You know, you could edit from your dressing room!
Michael: I told them I could pop into Y&R. Right now, I’m in post-production until about the end of May on this film, so I’ll let them know that I’m available to pop in and out over the next few months!
Congratulations on your success. You produced Netflix’s recent hit, Falling for Christmas, which was also directed by your wife, Janeen Damian and stars Lindsay Lohan. Thank you for bringing us the Lohanaissance!
Michael: Oh, thank you!
Tracey: That was such a great movie! If you haven’t seen it, please watch it because it is so good. Janeen did a great job directing.
What would be your character’s wish for the new year or what would you wish for your character in the new year?
Tracey: I think that Lauren’s would be to have more time with her family, the Baldwin-Fishers, because we did put the fun in dysfunction! We’d love to be together and show that!
Beth: I think for Traci, as is usual, I think her wish for everyone is to spread kindness. To take a moment and not react but pay it forward with a little understanding. I think it would make the world a better place, if everyone just breathed first before responding and remembered not to do damage, and to only do good.
Michael: I would say, for Danny, it would be for his son Daniel to find happiness in his personal life… And that Paul Williams slips on a sheet of ice! [Laughs]
The Young and the Restless airs weekdays on Global and CBS. Canadians can catch up with episodes on demand, the Global TV app, STACKTV, and at GlobalTV.com.