The incomparable Julie Andrews is full of entertaining encounters and stories from a life most of us could only dream of, from experiences with Walt Disney to Anne Hathaway, Andrews extensive career is definitely one to be admired.
Today, Theatre People attended the Media Conference for this incredibly talented, and surprisingly witty woman, ahead of her national Australian tour of An Evening with Julie Andrews. Against the stunning backdrop of Sydney Harbour, Australia welcomed Julie Andrews for the first time. At the press conference today, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell formally greeted Ms Andrews, in a perfect setting held at the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and opposite our iconic Sydney Opera House.
As many know, Andrews underwent throat surgery to remove non-cancerous nodules around 15 years ago, and unfortunately has not recovered. She expressed the difficulty she faced as an incapacitated vocal performer, and how after discussions with her daughter, Emma, she came to the decision to 'use her voice in a different way'. Ms Andrews is extremely looking forward to touring Australia for An Evening with Julie Andrews, which she describes as an ‘intimate conversation’ that takes audiences on an incredible journey through her incredible life and career. From her London stage debut at the age of 12 to her defining roles in Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Victor/Victoria and The Princess Diaries, Julie Andrews' life story will unfold in a frank and funny evening of personal memories and insights spanning six decades. Coupled with promises of ‘lots of entertaining footage of ‘stuff’ people have never seen’, each evening will conclude with a Q&A style session (her favourite).
The event will be hosted by Nicholas Hammond, the American-born Australian actor who played Friedrich von Trapp opposite Andrews in The Sound of Music. Hammond described Andrews in the Sound of Music days as being an extremely dedicated actress; always on time; always knowing her lines, to which Ms Andrews responded with one of her favourite quotes:
“Discipline gives me the foundation to fly”
As another way to use her voice, Andrews has been busy co-writing a number of children’s books, with daughter Emma, and describes this as her favourite pursuit. The pair are enjoying great receptivity to their new franchise of books called The Very Fairy Princess. The initial release ascended rapidly to #1 after its May 2010 release on the New York Times Bestseller list and enjoyed top 10 status for over 10 weeks. It was followed in May 2011 with The Very Fairy Princess Takes the Stage which reached #1 status as well, and currently, The Very Fairy Princess – Here Comes the Flower Girl has enjoyed top 10 status for several weeks. At the time of printing this bio, the next installment of the franchise, The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart was released in time for Valentine’s Day 2013. Inspired by the success of The Very Fairy Princess franchise, Ms Andrews in partnership with the Walt Disney Company and Target created National Princess Week to celebrate the inner sparkle and individuality of children everywhere. As auch an influential and iconic role model to children, over the past six decades, Andrews’ advice to today’s young people is; to “Follow your dreams, but do your homework”.
Recently, Julie adapted for the stage a brand new musical based on her best-selling children’s book The Great American Mousical which she also directed. The project opened at the Norma Terris Theatre at Goodspeed Musicals in Connecticut this past October and received a spectacular reception.
On current Musical Theatre, Andrews’ identified her favourites as classics like Gypsy; Guys & Dolls; Westside Story; and My Fair Lady. She also mentioned her intent to see ‘The Book of Mormon’ at some point in the near future.
With such an impressive career behind her, we asked Ms Andrews ‘what’s next?’ to which she expressed her great desire to ‘Direct' more in the future.
Julie Andrews has been a beloved and much-honored star of stage, screen, television and recordings for more than half a century. This is her first time in Australia, and is an amazing opportunity for a personal audience with this multi-award winning treasure of musical stage and screen. Ms Andrews looks forward to sharing tales of her life and career on stage with us during this national tour.
‘An Evening with Julie Andrews’ plays Brisbane (May 18), Perth (May 21), Sydney (May 24 & 25), Adelaide (May 28) and Melbourne (May 31).
NOTE: Julie Andrews' Australian appearances do not feature live singing, but feature a live "interview-style" retrospective of her extraordinary career.
Produced by John Frost and Phil Bathols