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Trent Dawson desires ‘As World Turns’ contract

By Nancy M. Reichardt United Feature Syndicate

NEW YORK -- Trent Dawson was called “Shakespeare Guy” before he got the role of Henry Coleman on “As the World Turns.” He got his title because most of his acting credits were in Shakespearean productions. In his “ATWT” role, which had been slated for a couple of weeks, Dawson felt the stint was a test for handling the rigors of daytime.

Dawson has been on the show for almost two years. As time went on, “As the World Turns” discovered the chemistry and the flair for comedy he shared with Terri Conn (Katie Frasier). And although the sleazy Henry seemed unredeemable, the character has been resurrected for his most recent caper — being stranded on a desert island.

Comedy on daytime is rare and often falls flat, but Henry and Katie have struck a chord. Their parts are played in very broad strokes as Dawson puts it, “I am not sure if ‘As the World Turns’ knows what over the top is.”

The actor thinks the writers have more fun writing scenes for the couple than he has playing them. At the studio, they are very open about how the material causes laughing fits.

“Frankly,” he says, “I think Hogan (Schefer, the headwriter) has a special place in his heart for Henry.”

Dawson never had a contract with the show. The position suited him at the time because he was free to work in the theater. He even commuted to “ATWT” while he starred in two productions. Now the actor would like to have a contract because of job security. He has gotten a lot of airtime with his involvement in this island caper.

“When the writers told me about it, they said I might have to strip down to my skivvies,” he says with a boisterous laugh. “So, I hired a personal trainer. I was so happy to get out of those suits. Katie and Henry took a martini shaker and some junk food for this outing, not their clothes.

“Doing the plane crash was a riot,” he adds. “We were in a cockpit on a hydraulic lift with smoke everywhere. It was like a ride at the state fair.”

Henry appeared in drag again while on the island. What are his actions telling viewers about his sexuality?

“For a while I did not know,” Dawson replied. “So I asked Chris (Goutman, executive producer), and he said to keep playing it ambiguously.

“I decided that Henry would sleep with anyone if it got him money,” Dawson said as he let out another hearty laugh. “So I started playing sexual subtext with everyone, much to the dismay of Jon Hensley (Holden Snyder). But we will nail down on this trip that Henry is definitely heterosexual, despite having to kiss a guy while he was in drag.”

In real life, the Louisiana-born Dawson has become what he calls a “gym rat” because of the new aspect of the role. Despite his classical training, he says if he has a drink or talks to his dad, his Southern accent comes back “in a heartbeat.”


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