Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: GH’s Brandon Barash

Joe and Brandon Barash

The author with Brandon Barash

One of the best parts of being an entertainment writer is getting to meet the entertainers when they are just being people. In this case, I had an opportunity to meet Brandon Barash, who plays Johnny Zacchara on GENERAL HOSPITAL. He helps GH sell the soap, but this was a more personal encounter. Soap Opera Digest‘s Vera Hadzi-Antich and I were invited to a special dinner honoring Barash’s appointment as the national celebrity ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Even better, the dinner was held at Levant East, a splendid restaurant in the Hotel Rivington, on the trendy Lower East Side of Manhattan.

In addition to a great meal in a hip nightspot (the food really was terrific!), I got to just hang with Barash, who is very open and approachable. In fact, the real Brandon reminded me of the way Johnny is when he is with Olivia – easy-going and fun. The real guy is not an angry young man at all. Before the event got under way, Brandon did a couple of interviews, and was wandering the room like anyone else when I approached him. Dressed neatly but casually in a sweater and loose tie, Brandon was quick with a handshake and happy to make small talk about being on the East Coast. When I suggested that we get our “work stuff” – the official WEEKLY interview – out of the way before dinner, he instantly clicked into business mode. He was still his gregarious self, but focused on the pretend world of Johnny, Olivia, Sonny and GH. Vera interviewed him first, on video for the SOAP OPERA WEEKLY/Soap Opera Digest Web site (See that here) while I held the light for the camera. Then Brandon sat for me. He had to address a lot of the same questions, but I tried to frame the queries a bit differently, and his responses covered the same ground, but without repeating a lot of the same phrasing. That’s a skill, folks. You should think about how many times the stars have to answer basically the same questions over and over; it can be quite a struggle to keep things interesting. With such a lively subject, our conversation quickly took on a life of its own, and I got some really interesting insights, which you will see in an upcoming issue of WEEKLY. After we finished the interview, Brandon posed so I could shoot a number of digital photos for the magazine, our Web site, and the e-mail newsletter. Then Vera snapped the image that accompanies this piece.
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