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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Actress on return of 'All My Children' and her lesbian role
TELEVISION
by David-Elijah Nahmod
2013-04-24

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On April 29, the iconic daytime drama All My Children (AMC) returns in a new online format. The revived serial, which ran for an impressive 41 years on ABC, will present four 30 minute episodes a week, with a recap episode on Friday. The new episodes will be available at Hulu, Hulu Plus and iTunes. Fans of the show fought a long, hard battle to bring this miracle about.

For Eden Riegel, it's old home week. For more than a decade, the actress portrayed AMC's Bianca Montgomery, the first long-term lesbian character on daytime TV. The outing of Bianca in 2000 was considered particularly groundbreaking at the time. Bianca is the daughter of Erica Kane (Susan Lucci), the show's much married vixen and leading lady. It remains unclear if Lucci will return to the series.

When we last saw Bianca in September 2011, she was a happy lesbian mom in a new relationship with another mom. When AMC picks up, five years will have passed.

"I can't reveal too much," Riegel said in an interview with Windy City Times. "The producers want the launch to be spoiler-free." She did say that there would be "trouble in paradise," and that Bianca would be facing romantic hardships.

The actress promises that longtime AMC fans will like what they see. "We're not holding back," she said. "We're going for it! At it's heart and history it's a relationship driven show. There's an appeal these shows have that's not going away. There's a comfort to the intimate relationships that fans have with the soaps. People still crave these stories. Because the show's return is fan driven the new regime has to pay attention to the fans."

What made Bianca stand out in the annals of LGBT characters on television was her absolute loyalty to her lesbian identity, which included a healthy love life. Bianca had numerous girlfriends over the years, including an eye opening, mind opening 2006 fling with a pre-op lesbian identified transgender named Zoe (Jeffrey Carlson) who was first seen as a man named Zarf.

Though she's heterosexual, Riegel found it easy to portray Bianca's coming out, as well as the character's subsequent relationships. "I grew up with gay people who are in committed, loving relationships," she said. "These are important stories to tell."

As a child, Riegel appeared on Broadway in the musical Les Misrables. "As a 10-year-old, I attended AIDS fundraisers with drag queens where condoms were thrown into the audience," she recalled. "I thought it was so cool! I've also known people who died of AIDS."

The actress revealed that her real-life sister is a lesbian. "She doesn't advise me at all," Riegel said. "She totally gave me permission to make the role my own."

Riegel describes her initial return to the AMC canvas as a "guest story arc." She tells WCT that she's also committed to appear in a play on the West Coast; AMC tapes in Connecticut.

She hopes to continue appearing as Bianca as her schedule allows. "Bianca is an important part of my life," she said, "I like seeing the character into this new frontier."

Look for the new All My Children on Monday, April 29, at Hulu, Hulu Plus and iTunes.

More information can be found at www.soapcentral.com .


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