'Y&R's Sharon Case Talks Sharon's Cancer Battle & Reunion With Cassie

Sharon Case Young and the Restless
Q&A
CBS
CBS

From its inception, The Young and the Restless has combined dramatic storytelling with social issues to both entertain and educate its audience. The show’s current regime is tapping into this model by telling a breast cancer storyline featuring the fan-favorite character of Sharon Newman (played by Emmy winner Sharon Case).

On Friday’s episode, Sharon is reunited with her late daughter Cassie (played by Camryn Grimes, who currently plays Cassie’s twin, Mariah). But fear not — Sharon’s not going to that great soap in the sky. Instead, she’ll encounter Cassie in a dream.

How will Sharon’s illness affect her dynamic with new beau, Det. Rey Rosales (Jordi Vilasuso) and her ex, Nick Newman (Joshua Morrow). Read on to get Case’s insights.

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Stories today are told at a breakneck speed, but Sharon’s cancer story feels like a throwback to classic Y&R tales. Beats are being taken. Given your reputation for playing scenes with such thoughtful precision, you’re a perfect candidate to tell this tale.

Sharon Case: First, thank you. I was very flattered that anyone thought of me when this story came up in the writers meeting and that I’d be trusted to take it to where it needs go. And I think you’re right. A storyline like this does have a different pace. I enjoy playing that pace. I like to think a lot in my scenes. I like to take more beats. Sometimes that works more for certain storyline and, yes, this is one of them. This pacing is familiar to us. It’s the way Bill Bell wrote the show…I can jump back into that!

What research did have you done on breast cancer?

When I did the bi-polar story, I did do research because certain things I learned about it informed my choices. But in this story, the writers are writing what Sharon is feeling. It’s really dictated by the writers. My performance is following through with what’s written. I could do a lot of research, but [I don’t think] it’s going to matter. I do what the writers write. And they’re doing a great job! This story is entertaining and informative. Also, we’re all fairly informed in today’s world about certain things. There’s nothing that’s been in the scripts that I haven’t understood.

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Can you preview tomorrow’s episode that’s dedicated to Sharon? What was shooting it like?

That was fun and also it was the craziest day, ever, ever for me. It’s unusual to have a day when you’re pretty much in the entire script. What made doing this one so exhausting was the material. There are a lot of emotions and Sharon’s having a terrible nightmare. I think I did seven costumes changes that day. It was an exhausting day. It was the last day of shooting before we went on break at the end of the year. It was a great show. I really like when we do dream episodes. They’re out of the box and fun. This episode is very scary, though. I can’t wait for people to see it.

There’s a scene where Sharon encounters her late daughter, Cassie. It’s been said that people see late relatives before they themselves are about to die.  

I love Sharon seeing Cassie. That makes all kinds of sense to me as Cassie has remained close to Sharon’s heart and mind, and to Nick’s, too. If Sharon were imagining her life ending, then, yes, Cassie would be the first person who would enter her mind. People tend to think about loss and those who have passed on and maybe seeing them again. I think it’s lovely how the show has [written] Cassie into Sharon’s dream.

Cassie said on her deathbed that Nick and Sharon would have another daughter – which they did with Faith (Alyvia Alyn Lind), who’s not quite an adult but not really a child anymore either.

Cassie’s prediction was prophetic. It’s as if she had some knowledge because she was crossing [to the other side]. Faith, the daughter Cassie predicted Nick and Sharon would have, is this oracle-type character. She’s an old soul, as Cassie was. I’ve always liked that Faith connected with her grandfather Victor Newman (Eric Braeden), who is the other oracle of the show. The two of them play chess together. I find that to be just perfect.

Josh Morrow, Camryn Grimes, and Sharon Case (Tony Esparza/CBS)

Can you talk about how Sharon’s condition is affecting her relationships with both Rey and Nick?

Sharon has been adamant about not wanting people to swarm around her or help her [too much]. It’s why she’s having the dream. She really doesn’t want to be reminded every day that she’s going through chemo or that she has cancer. She doesn’t want this to take over her life, her thoughts, her relationships. She’s determined not to let that happen. It’s not that she’s unappreciative, but it’s overwhelming to deal with a diagnosis like this. In a way, this [story] has brought [Sharon and Rey] closer because Rey is always there for Sharon. However, she is not in the mood for romance right now. This has changed her focus.

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Is Sharon opening up to Nick more? A lot of fans think Sharon and Nick are the endgame as Victor and Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) are.

I think that, in times like these, the move that you make subconsciously is trying to tell you something. Sometimes, we think we know one thing. Then, the truth comes out in a hot moment of desperation. Life has a way of leading us to where we want to be. Maybe Nick is the one? Sharon’s had a lot of conversations with him about how she’s too much of a caretaker. Maybe Nick isn’t the one? Maybe what we will see is that Sharon’s going through will give her a new direction in life – whatever that may be. She’s going through discovery right now.

What do you hope the audience takes away from this story?

I love that the audience watches to see if it’s going where they think it is. They want to see if they were right or wrong. It keeps people engaged in the story. I hope that they enjoy the journey.

Young and the Restless, Weekdays, CBS