Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Emmy Winner Martha Byrne Takes on Two New Roles: NBC Crisis and Spokesperson for CASA for Children

Watch Martha Byrne on Crisis April 6th, also appearing at Casino Night for Bergen CASA April 8th. Tickets still available.
Martha Byrne is Spokesperson for Bergen CASA
If you’re a fan of TV, have watched NBC in the past month, or been on YouTube, you’ve probably seen the suspenseful promo for NBC’s newest crime thriller Crisis, starring Dermot Mulroney, Gillian Anderson, Rachel Taylor and Lance Gross.
In those intriguing commercials one may see a very compelling scene of a woman with a row of bombs strapped to her waist, standing in the lobby of the CIA, hysterical, about to push the button on the detonator in her right hand. She emits a terrifying, “Help me”. Here's the link:
Will she activate the detonator?
The woman with the suicide vest is Emmy Winner Martha Byrne. Generations of viewers may recognize Martha for her role as Lily Walsh Snyder on As the World Turns for two decades. Since departing the show this Jersey Girl has continued to keep busy in the field of entertainment, producing her own web drama (Emmy-nominated Gotham, available on Vimeo), played the evil Andrea Floyd on General Hospital, wrote scripts for Bold and the Beautiful, starred in the yet to be released film, Preying for Mercy and built a talent agency in NJ. Performing being Martha’s first passion, she auditions as much as possible.  

“This role on Crisis was all about timing,” she said. “There is no such thing as a coincidence. I’m a firm believer in that. People come in and out of your life for a reason. Sometimes you understand why in the moment, and other times you don’t realize it until many years later.”
She states, “Fred Keller, someone I worked with as a child and directed #Crisis, called me and said there was a role I was right for on the show and I should have my manager submit me. After putting myself on tape and waiting to be approved by the production company,  (20th Century Fox) and #NBC, I found out I got the role of Marie. So I flew out to Chicago this past winter several times for filming. If you can believe it, it was colder than Jersey”.
Martha plays Marie Wirth, the wife of Congressman. The premise of the show is an evil mastermind (Dermot Mulroney), has kidnapped a bunch of students on a bus on their way to a field trip. The students are from an elite school in Washington DC that the President’s son attends as do children of other VIP’s in the DC area. Some critics have called it very “24-like”.
“I’ve done a lot on intense scenes in my life,” she said, talking about this role, "But getting into character, getting into the mind of that mom, with bombs strapped to my body, well, that was not just challenging but chilling.”
The promo and premise for the show is, “What would you for your children?” In the series, the kidnappers make outrageous and deadly demands on the parents and sometimes - just sometimes as we are starting to see - the parents actually get their kids back. Keep in mind the demands are not easy, and parents are pushed to the brink to fulfill them. Hence we see in the promo that Martha is willing to blow up herself and innocent people to get her daughter back. (For recaps of the show visit: and check out the Crisis page)
Ironically, as a mother of three, Martha knows that parents would do whatever they can to protect their children. Though the show is for entertainment, she finds crossover in that parents really do anything for their kids.  She says, “I’m fortunate that I had two great parents that were always there for me and supported me in whatever I did. All parents make sacrifices for their children, sometimes those sacrifices are more extreme than others.” She continues, “And it isn’t always a parent who sacrifices something for a child, it can be someone outside the family unit that can be a child’s greatest hero.”  
"I’ve been thinking for some time that I’d like to help children who don’t have parents or are victims of family tragedies and struggles. I’ve been on the Professional Advisory Board for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital for over 10 years and love my work with the organization. I continue to be an advocate for the children of St. Jude every day. Children are our most innocent and the future of humanity. I wanted to expand my support to children who are in foster care. I’d heard too many stories of children who slipped through the cracks of the system. It was breaking my heart"
Theresa Kehoe, Bergen CASA program director
and Spokesperson Martha Byrne
"Someone I know who was fostered told me about CASA for Children. It’s a little-known national organization that has chapters all over the US, usually on a state and county level, that provides one-one-one advocates for each child in the foster care system to help insure that they are getting everything they deserve. They legally advocate for the child as well as giving emotional support. They are the voice of each child. These kids have a social worker, but that social worker may have dozens of children to place, so these advocates are really the only ONE person who is dedicated to them.”
Kyle Dubiel and Max Mucha make a last minute check
“I went on the Internet and called my local office, CASA for Children of Bergen County, and asked about becoming an advocate. The training process was not too bad, but there was a one year commitment and I knew with my work I would just feel terrible if I was not there for the child when they needed me, so I figured I would put that on hold for awhile.”

“Then, and this goes back to nothing ever being a coincidence, a friend who volunteers  for Bergen CASA asked me if I could help out by becoming their spokesperson. She said that the organization in Bergen needs awareness and also that she didn’t think CASA had any current spokespeople anywhere. “I jumped at the chance. That would be perfect,” I said. “Just tell me what you need me to do.”

Martha’s first project for CASA for Children of Bergen County was filming a public service announcement for their annual fundraiser, Casino Night, which is being held for the third year at Season’s in Washington Township, NJ, on April 8th. The video was filmed by two Mahwah high school film students, Kyle Dubiel and Max Mucha. “They were great,” said Martha. “They came to my house and were so professional. It was a fun project for all of us.” View the video here:

Martha said that the video was already featured on In the Spotlight on News12NJ, courtesy of Della Crews.
“So come over to Casino Night", Martha added, "and if you can consider helping out your local CASA in some way. There are so many ways to help this organization and children in foster care in general.”
Tickets are still available for Casino Night for CASA for Children of Bergen County. The event runs from 6:00-10:00 at Season’s in Washington Township. Donations for baskets and sponsors are welcome. For more info visit:
For more information on Martha and Crisis please Like/Visit her on Facebook at:

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