Julie Andrews Poppin’ in for the Evening

Report by Douglas Kennedy

Julie Andrews, who made movie magic as the world’s most adored refugee and best loved nanny, is heading to Brisbane as part of a five-city Australian tour.


The 77-year-old star of The Sound of Music and the Oscar-winning children’s favourite, Mary Poppins, will headline an Evening with Julie Andrews at the Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) on May 18.


Dame Julie, the multi-award icon, who no longer sings and performs, will present an evening of personal memories and insights with the help of American-born Australian actor Nicholas Hammond.


Hammond, who nowadays lives and works in Australia, played Friedrich von Trapp in the film adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical classic The Sound of Music.


The Sound of Music premiered in 1965 and earned Andrews an Oscar nomination as well as establishing her as one of the world’s great singing superstars.


Now Dame Julie comes to Australia for the first time with a swag of honours and achievements, but life wasn’t always as rosy as she confirms in her 2008 childhood autobiography Home: A Memoir of My Early Years.


When Dame Julie’s mother divorced the man she believed to be her father, and went to live with her new husband Ted Andrews, the little girl with the beautiful voice found herself in a scary place.


“We were very poor and we lived in a bad slum area of London,”  Dame Julie recalls in her book.


“That was a very black period of my life.”


Despite all the difficulties – and confusion over her parentage –  Dame Julie was blessed with a ‘pitch perfect’ voice, which prompted her music teacher to encourage her to study opera.


However, the singer never really considered such a career, although she once said of her wonderful instrument: “I had a very pure, white, thin voice, a four-octave range – dogs would come from miles around.”


Her talent catapulted her into full-fledged show business career allowing Andrews to debut in the West End in 1948, Broadway in 1954 and star on TV as Cinderella in 1957, playing to an audience of 100 million.


She’s been married twice – the second and longest time to director Blake Edwards who died in 2010 – and has five children as well as a stellar second career as a children’s book writer.


Andrews is a much loved star, whose visit will be eagerly awaited, in a year which has already seen a visit from legendary movie star Angela Lansbury.

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