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'The Young and the Restless': Phyllis Summers prepares to rise from her bed

Tognoni has the chops to make Phyllis her own, but it won't be easy.
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Michelle Stafford defined 'Phyllis Summers'. Some feel that daytime drama queen set a permanent mold. But, fans of 'The Young and the Restless' understand that a variety of actors can be tapped to fill any role.

Gina Tognoni agreed with the above assessment. That's why she's soon planning to push through a coma and rise from Red's bed.

Some people growl whenever anyone is hired to play a part that a well-liked soap star formerly held. That's to be expected, as emotional attachments to certain personalities lie at the heart of this genre.

Stafford openly acknowledged that she wanted to explore other career options when she chose to leave YR last year. She believed that 'Phyllis' had gone as far as she could go.

Some roles can become stale, though no one who's honest could claim that Stafford ever looked expended. She's a terrific actor who once upon a time turned an intended side-character into a major role through sheer will. The personal pyrotechnics she created with 'Danny Romalotti' (Michael Damian) and 'Christine Blair' (Lauralee Bell) were incredibly delicious.

ABC smartly secured Stafford's services for 'General Hospital'. 'Nina Clay's' early returns have been solid, which isn't surprising because great talent sells.

Tognoni is a soap veteran, having worked as 'Kelly Cramer' on the beloved 'One Life to Live' and as 'Dinah Marler' on the historic 'Guiding Light'. The two-time Emmy winner has the chops to make 'Phyllis' her own. But, it won't be easy as Sandra Nelson, who played 'Phyllis' in the late 1990s, would attest.

YR's top bosses, along with devoted fans, will be closely watching when Tognoni wakes up and eventually puts on Stafford's stilettos. How well they'll fit is the question.

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