Mix & Mingle With Maurice!

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It's been several years since GENERAL HOSPITAL star Maurice Benard (Sonny) has made a public appearance outside of the GH Fan Club Weekend. But that's all about to change come January: Not only does the fan favorite have several events lined up, but the actor -- who has publicly confessed to a fear of flying as a result of his bipolar disorder -- is going all out by making his return to the East Coast! Soaps In Depth recently chatted with the multiple Emmy winner all about it!

Soaps In Depth: When was the last time you did a fan event on the East Coast?
Maurice Benard: It's been about eight years. I think the last time I flew was when I did THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW in 2004. I've had a problem flying, but I'm bringing my whole family and they're going to be seated with me. I think it's going to be much easier for me. I'm going to do an appearance in Hollywood, FL, and we're going to spend a couple of days in Disney World. And from there, we're going to go to New York, and I'll do my appearances there. We're going to see some Broadway plays while we're there. My daughters have a whole list!

Read more after the jump!

In Depth: After all this time, what are you most excited about for these events?
Benard: I used to love doing appearances. I love interacting with the fans. But then I couldn't fly for a long time, so I just can't wait to get back out there. I've got to be honest with you, I'm nervous to do it. I want to be great! I think I've got some nice surprises for the fans.

In Depth: Do you expect to get a lot of feedback from the fans, like you get at the GHFC Weekend?
Benard: At the weekend, right there, the fans tell me what they love about the show, what seems to be working for them and maybe what isn't. Usually some fans might like this, some others might like that. But I just like interacting with them. I get up there and do my own thing -- sometimes we're having fun, sometimes it's serious. I don't BS. I tell the truth. Well, as much as I can!

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In Depth: Do you think you'll do more appearances in the future?
Benard: Yeah, if this goes well. I think I'll start doing more of them. I like doing them, and I miss doing them. I can't wait to get back in there and meet the fans.

In Depth: Maybe you can go on the road with Port Chuck next!
Benard: Uh... I think I'll pass on that one! I think it's great what they're doing, and they're having a great time. But no, no, no, no... I only sing at home!

Benard will be visiting Florida, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut from Thursday, January 6, through Sunday, January 9, 2011. While the NJ event is sold out, tickets are still available for his other appearances. For more information, visit www.mauricebenard.tv.

Thursday, January 6
Improv Comedy Club
5700 Seminole Way, Hollywood, FL
(954) 981-5653
Showtime: 7:00 p.m.
Tickets: $100 VIP -- limited to 200 people, includes meet/greet, photo op; $65 show only includes Q&A

Friday, January 7
Treehouse Comedy Productions
Edmund Town Hall, Newtown, CT
(203) 268-5857
Showtime: 7:00 p.m.
Tickets: $150.00 VIP ticket includes photo op; $75.00 show only

Saturday, January 8
Governor's Comedy Club
90 Division Avenue, Levittown, NY
(516) 731-3358
Showtime: 10:00 a.m.
Tickets: $167.00

Saturday, January 8
Uncle Vinnie's Comedy Club
520 Arnold Avenue, Point Pleasant, NJ
(732) 899-3900
Showtime: 5:00 p.m.
Tickets: $150 + tax SOLD OUT

Sunday, January 9
The Lane Theater
168 New Dorp Lane, Staten Island, NY
(718) 667-3500
Showtime: 10:00 a.m.
Tickets: $150.00 VIP -- includes photo op; $75.00 show only

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