Attention soap fans: Get yourself to New York City on March 21. Seriously. That's when All My Children's Cameron Mathison hosts the sixth annual ABC daytime benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
The event, which has raised more than $1.5 million for the organization, features stars of One Life to Live, General Hospital and All My Children singing Broadway's greatest hits. The L.A.-based Mathison, 40, a married father of two, gives UsMagazine.com the lowdown:
UsMagazine.com: As host of the event, what are your big responsibilities?
Cameron Mathison: I've got the easy job. I'm just guiding. There's a lot of serious talent going to be on that stage and I just get to look good.
Us: Are you going to sing and dance too? You are a Dancing With the Stars alum, after all.
CM: I like to say that I obviously can be taught to dance, which I didn't think was possible. But I do not think I can ever be taught to sing. So I will spare the people who come to the event. But I did dance with Susan Lucci one year!
Us: What can attendees expect to see at the event, other than yourself?
CM: What we're trying to do -- and when I say we, I mean the performers -- will take some of the Broadway hits and try to change the lyrics of the songs to adapt to different storylines that happened throughout the year on different shows. For instance, Bobbie Eakes is going to take on "He Vas My Boyfriend" from Young Frankenstein and change the verses to talk about an evil ex-boyfriend, Dr. David, from All My Children.
Us: Why is this cause important to you?
CM: Obviously, AIDS has affected the the Broadway community and the entertainment community enormously. I just love the fact that this event has been so well received. I've learn a lot about it just through five years of hosting. And the more I learn and the more lives we can help and touch and sometimes save, the more invested I become. It's been a very rewarding experience.
Us: Let's hear your thoughts on the new Dancing With the Stars season. Good cast, eh?
CM: It's a really good mix. It's very wise that the producers made the cast a little bit smaller again. 16 last season was too much. People didn't get invested.
Us: What's your advice to the contestants who don't have performing experience?
CM: Honestly, especially before the first week, rehearse in front of an audience. Get used to it. When you come out live in front of 22 million people, it can get pretty freaky. I know you're not really supposed to do that, but the more you can do it, in front of family, in front of your peers, the more you'll be comfortable. Also, do whatever you can to stay in L.A. and focus. I tried to work in New York and do 110 pages of dialogue a week while I was on the show, and it just killed me. I could tell the other contestants were having more fun.
Us: Who do you think will win?
CM: I'm going to say my buddy Aiden Turner, who's on All My Children with me, will be in the thick of it. Gotta support him! And he's British and a good-looking cat, which women love, so that will help him. But Evan Lysacek will really pull through. His job is to perform a trained-routine under pressure! The rest of us are faking it.
-- By Mara Reinstein for UsMagazine.com