The final half of the fifth season of the digital drama Anacostia is shaping up to be can't-miss streaming TV due to some wow-worthy casting additions led by former All My Children and General Hospital star Jennifer Bassey (ex-Marian Colby; ex-Quinn Danvers).
The veteran actress has joined the Anthony Anderson and Martha Byrne (ex-Lily/Rose, As the World Turns)-helmed production as Beverly Newman, a woman who reemerges after decades of life in hiding to reveal a secret set to turn the life of Eva Montgomery (Elizabeth Hubbard, ex-Lucinda, As the World Turns) on its head. Beverly will be introduced in the final episodes of season five via an emotionally raw set of scenes (with Indie Soap Awards-winner Pasha Diallo) that will reveal both the tortured history of the character and her shocking connection to multiple characters already on the canvas.
Bassey's appearance -- which will continue into the show's sixth season -- will coincide with the show reaching a milestone fifty episodes and is the result of a bit of matchmaking made in soap heaven: after an unrelated conversation with Robin Strasser (ex-Dorian Lord, One Life to Live; ex-Hecuba, Passions; ex-Rachel Matthews, Another World), Anacostia co-executive producer Benjamin Bryant received an "inspired e-mail" from the daytime legend with a simple two-word subject: Jennifer Bassey.
"Robin is a true creative and she's quickly become one of my favorite people to go to for unfiltered feedback on new ideas," notes Bryant in an official press release. "We'd recently talked about the importance of strong and consequential female characters on soaps, and this new character Anthony was creating was part of that. Two days later, I received an e-mail that making a direct (and airtight!) case why Jennifer was perfect for Anthony's vision. A few delightful phone calls later, Jennifer was part of the Anacostia family. It's such a wonderful memory for me, because it speaks to how connected and supportive the daytime family is and always will be."
Anacostia creator and head writer Anthony Anderson enthused, "On this show, we're tremendous fans of authentic instincts and co-creativity with our artists, and Jennifer got that immediately. It's been a pleasure developing this character and story with Jennifer, hearing her ideas and interpretations, and seeing how she brings that shared vision to life. What she is set to do at the end of this season and the start of next is epic, and longtime fans of hers will not be disappointed."
Bryant agrees, sharing, "So many characters are introduced slowly, giving both the actor and the audience time to get a sense of the character and canvas. This is the opposite of that! Anthony [Anderson, Anacostia creator] throws her right in, like a firecracker ready to shake and light up the canvas. It was wonderful watching Jennifer work! The character was so vivid from her very first line reading. I think it's very fitting that she'll be such a pivotal part of our 50th episode...and she's only getting started!"
Says Bassey, "I am such a fan of this group of creative and entrepreneurial people and I truly thank Robin for connecting us! Anacostia really runs on heart, and that was apparent from my first call with Benjamin, and only reinforced when I read the beautiful words Anthony Anderson wrote. He's a fabulous writer with a clear and creative vision for this show. The entire production team is so innovative, doing more with less, and they make a marvelously talented team, all working so hard to create this very special show down in Washington D.C. I've had just a wonderful experience so far and look forward to what we can do in the future!"
In addition to Bassey, Anacostia has cast Dee Freeman (Pretty) and Judi Blair (If Loving You Is Wrong) for the second half of its fifth season. Fans can meet Bassey, Freeman, and Blair's new characters -- and the intense soap drama they bring along with them -- when Anacostia returns to conclude season five during a special "Six Days of Anacostia" Christmas week event beginning December 26 on the series' official YouTube channel.
If you just can't wait to unwrap the fifth season of Anacostia, you can check out the official trailer below.
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