TV's longest-running soap opera will celebrate its 52nd year by airing live on ABC

Credit: Greg Zabilski/ABC/Getty

Who needs live musicals like Peter Pan when you’ve got the good people of Port Charles instead?

On May 15 and 18, General Hospital will go old-school by airing live from Los Angeles, PEOPLE has learned. The stunt is a continuation of the soap’s anniversary celebration this season: on April 1, TV’s longest-running daytime drama turned 52.

“Taking such an iconic show as General Hospital live for two days is both exhilarating and risky,” said executive producer and head writer Frank Valentini. “I am enormously proud of our cast, crew and staff for all their tireless dedication and hard work that will be leading up to this daytime television event. It’s live television and absolutely anything can happen, but that is what’s fun about this, and we’re absolutely up to the challenge.”

Just like what happened when NBC aired its live performances of Peter Pan and The Sound of Music, fans will be encouraged to join in on the GH live conversation by using #GHlive on Twitter.

Back in the day, daytime dramas used to air live when they originated in New York City. In fact, most of the early soap stars were theater actors, so performing sudsy material on daytime TV wasn’t much of a stretch.

By the time new soaps started bubbling up in Los Angeles, producers realized it was much cheaper to tape the serials than perform them live. All the shows were taping their stories by 1975.

General Hospital, which has won a record 11 Emmys as daytime’s best drama, just picked up another 28 nominations for the 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, which will air on Pop on April 26 at 8 p.m. ET.