Monday, February 22, 2016

'The Young and the Restless' Got the Brass Ring with Jason Thompson

The Young and the Restless Got the Brass Ring with Jason Thompson
By Carolyn LeVine Topol
Jason Thompson
Having watched Jason Thompson in the role of Dr. Patrick Drake on ABC’s General Hospital for several years, it was satisfying to see Patrick, Robin, and Emma (played by Kimberly McCullough and Brooklyn Rae Silzer) ride off to a happily-ever-after together to complete their story arc.

Although the departure was bittersweet, knowing these three would no longer be in Port Charles, the farewell was tempered with good news for all the Jason Thompson fans. I, for one, was thrilled to learn he was about to take a giant step into a front-burner storyline on CBS’s The Young and the Restless.

Bravo to The Young and the Restless team for having the foresight to cast Jason Thompson as Billy Abbott. From the moment he appeared as hospitalized, comatose Billy, JT owned the character. In a series of scenes where Billy observes each member of his family preparing to mourn his imminent death, Jason seamlessly made us forget he had not played Billy from the character’s inception.

Jason Thompson and Amelia Heinle as Billy and Victoria on The Young and the Restless

The familial chemistry between Jason and the Abbott family, including Billy’s young children, was instant — the recast was seamless. Even more apparent was the instant chemistry between Jason Thompson and Amelia Heinle, who plays Victoria Newman, Billy Abbott’s fiancée. Jason’s entry into the role of Billy, appears to have brought about a renewed energy and brightness in all the scenes between these two on-screen lovers.

Recasts are an ongoing, accepted practice on all soap operas. They are a natural part of the genre. Some recasts work and some do not. In this case, the recast of Billy Abbott, with actor Jason Thompson, was the perfect match of actor and role. Without missing a beat, Jason took ownership of the character as if he had been portraying Billy for years — let’s hope he does!

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