'The Young and the Restless' Tricia Cast Returns for the Show's 12,000th Episode

Photo: Elaine Lee

Tricia Cast is back. The Daytime Emmy-winning actress, who debuted as the infamously ambitious Nina Webster on The Young and the Restless in 1986, whet appetites on the soap with a brief cameo earlier this month (after her son Chance, played by Donny Boaz, was shot). It turns out this was only an appetizer.

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Cast, who left the show in 2001, not only appears on November 27's encore episode of the show's 1991 masquerade ball, she comes back to Genoa City for the wedding of Chance (temporarily played by Justin Gaston, as Boaz was diagnosed with COVID) and Abby Newman (Melissa Ordway). The wedding is being aired on an extraordinary day: December 1, the CBS soap’s 12,000th episode.

TV Insider caught up with the star to chat about her return.

How did Nina’s return come about?

Tricia Cast: Greg Salmon [the show’s casting associate] reached out. He asked if I’d be interested in doing a handful of shows. I said I’d love to. It happened quickly.

Have you kept up on the show?

I cut the cord. But I got up to speed by asking Lauralee [Bell, who plays Christine] a lot of questions. Fortunately, it wasn’t that hard. I mean, Nina’s, Nina. Give me the words and I’ll do it. It’s like riding a bike.

The Young and the Restless, 12,000th episode

'Y&R's 12,000th episode

Except that the “Chances” keep getting taller.

I don’t know why they do that to me. I have to carry around my own apple box.

Nina’s son seems to age in real time.

Yes. The last one [before I left in 2001] was Penn Badgley. All the "little Phillips" were talented kids.

So we have to talk about the Phillip III twist. He died on-screen in 1989, appeared as a ghost in 2004, and then popped back up alive in 2009, explaining that he’d faked his death so he could live openly as a gay man in Australia. What did you think of all that?

I was just so glad that they found a way for Thom [Bierdz] to come back. There’s no easy way to do it, but they came up with a great storyline. I think they did a really good job.

Nina was such a force to be reckoned with that she prompted bitter enemies Katherine [Jeanne Cooper] and Jill [Jess Walton] to team up against her. That's a lot of power!

It was all so much fun. The words and the scenes were always so delicious. It was a filet mignon of stories. I prepared. I knew the words and I knew what I was going to do, but I didn’t know exactly how it was going to come out until I was on the stage with Jeanne and Jess. They always made me better.

The writers were fantastic, too. Back in the day, Nina and Victoria [then Heather Tom] sparred expertly over Ryan [Scott Reeves]. In real-life, of course, zingers come to us in the car on the way home.

That’s so true. In real-life you say to yourself, "If I had thought of saying that I would have." The writing was so brilliant, so meaty, so fun, and accurate to the emotions that the characters were feeling. It was a way of exorcising demons.

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So you left the show in 2001. Having started out as a child actor, were you tired of working?  

I fell in love and married [musician Bat McGrath, who died in 2019]. He was a songwriter in Nashville. I figured, "Well, let’s go live there for a while." I had been working since I was 12. We kind of ran away together. It was pure, young impulsive love. We were of course much older, but we felt that way. We grabbed hands and ran away. [She tears up]

I’m so sorry for your loss.

I’m OK. [Marrying him] was the best thing I ever did. He was a good, good man.

Things have changed due to COVID since you were last on the show. How are you adjusting?

It’s not too bad. We all follow the safety protocols. It’s a community effort and everyone is really good about reminding each other. It’s a small price to pay to be able to go and play.

Are you up for more episodes if they call for more?

I believe I am. We’ll see what happens.

The Young and the Restless, Weekdays, Check Local Listings for daytime/syndicated shows, CBS