Jay’s Guide to Recasting ATWT’s Lily While Smelling Like a Rose
By Jamey Giddens on March 06, 2008
Recasting a beloved soap character is never easy. Especially when much of the show’s current story and rich history revolves around the character in question. That being said, when a soap faces the dilemma of having to replace a wildly popular actress like Martha Byrne (Lily Snyder), the powers that be have to tread very carefully.
Sure daytime is full of examples of successful recasts. Peter Bergman took over for the legendary Terry Lester on Y&R and made the role of Jack Abbott his own. Ditto Bergman’s co-star Jess Walton who made fans ask “Brenda who?” when she inherited the role of man-eater Jill Foster Abbott from Brenda Dickson. But for every Trevor St. John (who successfully replaced Roger Howarth as Todd on OLTL) there’s a Christina Chambers (the recent painful-to-behold incarnation of Susan Haskell’s signature role Marty Saybrooke also on OLTL). So if ATWT does decide to temp fate and recast Lily, here are a few prospective actresses I’d like them to give a look-see:
Woefully underused during her stint as the third Billie Reed on Days of Our Lives, Julie Pinson is just waiting for someone to give her a role worthy of her impressive chops. Y&R teased us with Shiloh, the blink-and-you-missed her music producer character Pinson played for a few months in early 2004.And although Days brought her on to tremendous hype, they never figured out what to do with her. Salem’s loss could be Oakdale’s gain. I predict Pinson would have ready chemistry with Jon Hensley’s Holden, not to mention Lily’s sensitive gay teen son Luke. Pinson has the same luxurious chocolate mane and voluptuous features possessed by Byrne and her time as Port Charles’ Eve proves she can serve as a soap’s leading lady.
Although she has garnered a modest amount of primetime success (guest spots on Cashmere Mafia and Sex and the City) since appearing as the ultimate ingénue Trisha Alden on Loving, Noelle Beck’s career definitely wouldn’t be hurt by a high profile return to daytime. Like Lily, Trisha Alden was a poor-little-rich girl who fell for a boy from the wrong side of the tracks (in Trisha’s case it was Trucker McKenzie-gotta love soap names!) A brunette beauty like Byrne, perhaps Beck cold draw fans of Loving, the lush-yet-low rated Agnes Nixon/Douglas Marland romantic drama, over to ATWT.
Noelle Beck’s Loving co-star Lisa Peluso has been sorely missed from daytime since her brief crossover to ATWT in ’99 as Another World vixen Lila Cory Winthrop and even shorter stint as a mob moll on OLTL in '01. And while I usually detest seeing actors play multiple, unconnected roles on the same soap, Lila never became an integral part of the Oakdale scene, so it won’t be as jarring as say watching all the GH Carly’s roaming about Port Charles trying to play pool with Jason and/or screw Sonny. Peluso carried Loving for years before ABC decided to have the show’s matriarch kill off most of the denizens of Corinth, only to transport the happy survivors to loft-style apartments in NYC on The City. Peluso could ramp up Lily’s more conniving side, with her Maggie the Cat sultriness. Byrne manages to bring out Lily’s cattiness from time to time, but for the most part Lily has pretty much been pigeonholed as the town’s most fertile saint during Byrne’s run. With Peluso in the role, Lily could get in touch with her inner bee youch. You hear that Emily?
If Proctor and Gamble wants to cast closer to home, why not put poor Crystal Chappell out of her (and our) misery over at GL, and bring her over to ATWT as Lily? For Chappell fans who only know her as uber bitch Olivia Spencer Lewis Spaulding Spaulding Lewis on GL, trust me, she gives good heroine. If you don’t believe me, go watch her You Tube clips as the best soap heroine of the 90’s-Dr. Carly Manning aka Katerina Von Leuschner-on Days. Chappell’s Carly was a storybook princess come-to-life. A principled doctor, who was secretly the heiress to a glamorous European fortune, that she gave up for daily servings of Grandpa Shawn's clam chowder in Salem. Although the Days writers seem to forget Bo had another great love besides Hope or Billie, we Bo and Carly (Barly?) fans know the truth. Chappell’s Carly did the impossible; she helped us and Bo get over Fancy Face long before Lisa Rinna and her pouty lips sauntered into town! I get chills just thinking of what an actress of Chappell’s caliber could do in Oakdale. I would pay money to see her go up against Lily’s equally trouble-plagued cousin-in-law Carly.
Whoever they decide to cast as Lily, if in fact they do decide to recast the role, is going to have some big Manolos to fill. Martha Byrne has given one of the most fierce and realistic portrayals in daytime history as Lily. Long time ATWT fans watched her grow up in the role, and if she wasn’t mother to half the under twenty cast, the smart thing would probably be to send Lily out of town, but sometimes that isn’t plausible storywise. And heaven forbid they presume her dead! So if there has to be a new Lily, let’s just hope the soap gods come into agreement like they did when Jensen Buchanan replaced Anne Heche on AW and not like when Stephanie Cameron replaced Missy Reeves on Days!