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Bay Street Theatre Celebrates 15 Years at Rainbow Room March 6

By Robert Simonson
Feb 9, 2006

Julie Andrews and Alec Baldwin will host a March 6 benefit gala honoring the 15th anniversary of Long Island's Bay Street Theatre. The bash will take place at Manhattan's Rainbow Room at 6:30 PM.

The evening will include entertainment by the performers Christine Ebersole, Bebe Neuwirth, Tony Roberts, B.D. Wong, David Larsen, Debra Monk, Jon Robin Baitz, Kate Burton, Charles Busch, Julie Halston, Edward Hibbert, Danny Gerroll and Patricia Kalember. All have worked at the Bay Street in the past.

Tickets for the Gala are $1,000 and $500 each with tables available at $10,000 and $5,000. For further information or to purchase tickets, call (631) 725-0818 or email to

Over the last decade and a half, Bay Street has produced such works as Baitz’ Three Hotels, Nobody Don’t Like Yogi with Ben Gazzara, Andrews’ production of The Boy Friend, Hedda Gabler starring Kate Burton, Love, Janis, Noel & Gertie starring Twiggy, and premieres by Terrence McNally, Joe Pintauro and Lanford Wilson.


Broadway Review on stage Feb. 18

Feb 8, 2006

A tribute to Broadway's Grand Dames, honoring Ethel Merman, Julie Andrews, Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli and Mary Martin will be coming to Chillicothe next weekend.

This Broadway style revue will feature five great singers and four musicians, and will bring these Legendary Ladies to life on stage at the Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 7 pm.

These Legendary Ladies all had a song that propelled them to stardom. This evening will be a tribute to those moments in musical history. Five singers and their backup band, will entertain the audience with a tour of Broadway's best. . . . .


Julie Andrews directs 'The Boy Friend'

Jan 18, 2006

TORONTO - In a nice bit of theatrical alchemy, veteran musical theatre star Julie Andrews has taken a two-bit musical and polished it up so that it shines -- well -- like a newly-minted quarter.

The musical in question is Sandy Wilson's The Boy Friend, a show in which the 70-year-old Andrews starred as a 19-year-old ingenue back when the world was young. Half a century later, a touring production under Andrews' direction opened at the Royal Alexandra Theatre on Tuesday, where it plays through Feb. 18.

As musicals go, this one frankly doesn't go very far, mired as it is in the far more innocent offerings of the mid-1920s -- the very musicals Wilson was sending up with this silly, good-hearted valentine.

Set in a tony school for girls located somewhere on the coast of France, The Boy Friend is primarily concerned with an innocent flirtation between Polly, a lovely young student of the posh Villa Caprice, and Tony, the delivery boy who arrives to deliver her costume for the evening's masked ball.

Happily, Wilson has packed the script with enough extraneous silliness that it really doesn't seem to matter much that, individual talents notwithstanding, Jessica Grove (as Polly) and Sean Palmer (as Tony) don't seem to generate enough sexual energy to light a single bulb in the theatre's marquee.

To make up for it, Andrews uses the high-energy choreography of John DeLuca, cartoon sets created by Tony Walton (who also collaborated with Rachel Navarro on the costumes) and a cast at least as competent and enthusiastic as you're likely to find in the best of summer stock.

In these hands, Wilson's exuberant score fairly sparkles, particularly in numbers such as Won't You Charleston With Me?, Nicer In Nice and the oft-repeated I Could Be Happy With You.

In fact, the skill of performers, the calibre of Rick Faugno, Nancy Hess, Kirsten Wyatt, Drew Eshelman and Darcy Pulliam does much to mitigate a story that has grown creaky (and, on occasion, creepy) with age.

In the 1950s, the whole notion of an old man trying to get it on with a bunch of young school girls obviously seemed a lot more innocent than it does 50 years later.

That said, one can only wonder what a '50s audience might have made of DeLuca's take on Carnival Tango, a lame attempt to inject some contemporary sexual heat into the proceedings that fits in about as well as a tutu on a linebacker.

In the end, it all comes together in an undeniably pleasant, if largely forgettable, evening -- not as good, perhaps, as Stratford's 1995 revival, but still good enough to take the chill off a soggy night in January.

Source: Toronto Sun -

Julie Andrews singing out the orders

Jan 16, 2006

Julie Andrews sounds as if she would be a pretty decent boss.

But the legendary actress admitted this week that she was forced to adjust her attitude upon becoming a director.

"Being the place where the buck stops is the toughest part," said Andrews, who currently is directing The Boy Friend at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. The show opened in previews last week.

"As a performer, I'm part of the team," Andrews added. "And now, suddenly, I'm the one who makes the final decision.

"Having said that, I want to stress that theatre and film are collaborative efforts. But ultimately, when somebody says, 'What do we do about such-and-such?' you have to sit down and make a choice. It hasn't come down to that very often -- thank God."

The 70-year-old Andrews has set many standards of excellence in the entertainment world through the years, perhaps most notably with her movie roles in The Sound Of Music, Mary Poppins and Victor/Victoria. But way back in 1954, when The Boy Friend made its Broadway debut, the star was a 19-year-old ingenue who coincidentally was making her own Broadway debut. Her name? Julie Andrews.

The Boy Friend is a spoof of 1920s musical comedies and includes the songs Won't You Charleston With Me? and It's Never Too Late To Fall In Love.

Obviously, Andrews knows The Boy Friend backwards and forwards. Of course, that could be a detriment if it were handled in an inappropriate way. Actors-turned-directors sometimes fight the urge to bellow, "I could do that when I was playing the part -- so why can't you?"

"I may have inadvertently behaved like that -- I hope not," Andrews said. "But I've been very lucky in that I've been around a long, long time and worked with so many extraordinary directors.

"There is a way to draw something out of your actors and see what they have to offer. And then to help them in the kindest possible way, because most people on stage are somewhat insecure, at the beginning particularly."

Andrews says she loves directing, although she paused when asked if it's something she wants to do on a regular basis.

"I'm not sure," she said. "I'll let you know. It's sort of, 'To be continued.'

"I do have certain instincts or beliefs about musical theatre, wanting to see it promoted and loving it when it works. That part I am sure about. But it has been an incredible time commitment, so thank goodness I've loved it so much."

Andrews said the people she is working with have made it easy. This company of The Boy Friend began its current run last July in Connecticut.

"I guess I looked for what these performers were bringing to it themselves and shaped it with what I hoped would help the piece," Andrews said. "And I am so in love with this company. They have become like family and I adore them. They are young, vital, professional and they sing and dance brilliantly.

"I am stunned by their talent."

Coming from Julie Andrews, that's saying something.


Runs until Feb. 18

Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto

Source: Toronto Sun -

Theatre Review: ''The Boy Friend,'' in Wilmington, Captivates
October 4, 2005

By KYW's Bob Nelson

One of our favorite personalities of stage and film has returned to the scene of her initial triumph.

Julie Andrews was just 19 in 1954 when she opened on Broadway in Sandy Wilson's "The Boy Friend," the so-called "new musical of the 1920s." This saucy, tune-filled satire of jazz-age silliness launched her career as a major star.

Julie is returning to us now to direct an impressive, reworked version of the show, which its backers have now launched on limited national tour at Wilmington's DuPont Theatre -- although I promise if you miss seeing it there (which would be a mistake) it will end up on Broadway again, where it belongs.

While changes have been made in the original, Jessica Grave assumes Julie's role and, while she may lack Andrews' bell-like voice, she can sing and dance up a storm.

And some other members of the cast have been given knocked-out star turns of their own.

With Tony Walton's new sets and costumes and John DeLuca's electric choreography coupled with Wilson's toe-tapping tunes, the 1920s has never been more appealing.

"The Boy Friend" is back -- and about time!

Source: KYW News Radio Philadelphia

Julie Andrews In Our Area
October 1, 2005

By KYW's John McDevitt

It's a full circle for Julie Andrews, as she puts on her directors cap for a musical she once stared in back in 1954. We sat down to chat with Julie Andrews about the national tour of "The Boyfriend."

When Julie Andrews was 19, she made her Broadway debut staring in "The Boyfriend" now she is launching her behind the scenes role as the director of the touring musical. "The Boyfriend kicked off in Wilmington at the Dupont Theater Friday night and runs through October 9th.

"How does this differ how does directing differ from being in front of the camera?"

"well very much in deed because of course when when I'm in front of the camera or in the theater, I'm really just concentrating on my own performance. And this is the whole pitcure it's not just about me in fact its not about me much about them."

And Ms. Andrews 70th birthday is today. I asked her if there's a big celebration in the works. "There's an awful lot of whispering going on behind my back. I can't tell you what, because I don't know."

Source: KYW News Radio Philadelphia

September 18, 2005

By John Clark

One of the most famous shots in film history occurs at the beginning of Robert Wise's "The Sound of Music." In it, Julie Andrews, wearing a pixie haircut and beatific smile, spins around a tidy alpine field trilling the title song as the camera deliriously swoops in on her.

The scene sets the tone for all that follows, an ode to joy marred only by the advent of World War II. Andrews stars as Maria, an aspiring young nun who doesn't seem to have what it takes, so she's farmed out to the home of widowed Capt. Georg Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) to take care of his seven unruly kids. She pacifies them with her four-octave voice and her ability to find the lyrical in the everyday ("These are a few of my favorite things"). Inevitably, she wins the heart of the chilly captain and drops her nun's habit to marry him. The kids become a singing troupe, although the curtain is abruptly brought down on their act when war intervenes. Incredibly, all of this was based on a true story.

The 40th anniversary edition DVD, featuring commentary by Andrews, Plummer and Wise, will be released Nov. 15 and can be ordered in advance.

Andrews may have seemed like a fresh-scrubbed newcomer when "The Sound of Music" was released in 1965, but she had spent the previous decade as a star onstage in both London and New York. She warmed up in London music halls as a child and teenager before making her Broadway debut in "The Boy Friend" (1954). Two years later she originated the role of Eliza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady," though when the film version was made she famously lost the part to Audrey Hepburn. In a bit of poetic justice, Andrews did "Mary Poppins" instead and won an Oscar competing against Hepburn. She subsequently appeared in musicals, dramas and comedies, notably "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and "Victor/Victoria" (directed by her husband, Blake Edwards), and is now an occasional screen presence ("The Princess Diaries") and author of children's books.

Q: What comes to mind when you see "The Sound of Music" now?

A: Aside from the movie itself, the extras on the DVD are great. Rehearsal footage that I never knew was being shot, footage of us recording at the prerecord long before we began filming. It's great because I never knew it existed.

Q: You did all of the singing before the shoot?

A: Yes, you always do that with movie musicals. You prerecord and then you lip-synch to playback.

Q: At that point were you pretty comfortable in front of a camera?

A: It was the third movie I'd ever made, but I was in awfully good hands. Robert Wise is a consummate director who has stayed a friend over these many years. He's kind and gentle. I learned a great deal while filming. So yes and no is the answer to that question.

Q: I seem to recall that shooting that legendary opening shot was difficult.

A: A helicopter swoops down through the trees and onto the field. When we rehearsed the shot, the helicopter would take off and the wash from it would knock me down.

Q: How much research did you do about the family?

A: I'd seen the Broadway musical. The musical was based on a book, which became a German movie, which then became a vehicle (by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II) for Mary Martin. I basically worked from the script that was taken from the musical.

Q: I guess you could feel that not many people had seen the musical so you didn't have to worry about comparisons.

A: Perhaps she (Martin) wasn't the right age at that time (to play the role onscreen), I don't know quite what. I know I wasn't the first person considered for it. They considered Audrey Hepburn and Doris Day and Grace Kelly. Disney was very kind and allowed them to see footage of "Mary Poppins."

Q: So that hadn't been released yet.

A: I did three films in a row, "Poppins," "The Americanization of Emily" and then "Sound of Music," none of which were released.

Q: Did you feel trapped by the image created by this film?

A: Some people suggested that I was, but I was very fortunate to play other roles. "The Americanization of Emily" and "Torn Curtain" and things like that.

Q: There weren't many movie musical successes after that. Did you feel like you arrived too late?

A: I felt I could have done more. I enjoyed them.

Q: One more thing. I always thought Christopher Plummer was an interesting choice for this movie and gave an interesting performance. Can you tell me why I think that?

A: I think I can. We were all concerned that the movie would be too saccharine. We wanted to add as much astringency to the film as possible, and Chris did that. He was the glue. His contribution to the film was enormous.

Q: I agree.

A: I'm glad you do.

John Clark is a Chronicle correspondent.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

DVD release!
Singing Princess will be released on August 9th. For more information go to
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Goodspeed Raises Over $285,000 at Gala Honoring Julie Andrews
June 16, 2005
- Largest fundraiser in Goodspeed history -
- Over 390 supporters attend -

“It’s such a joy for me to be here and be associated with this wonderful, very special theatre,” said the legendary Julie Andrews, as she was honored at a Gala evening in front of her adoring supporters. “And, there is nothing like musical theatre.”

More than 390 Goodspeed Musicals patrons helped raise over $285,000 for the Goodspeed Opera House Foundation at the Gala event on Saturday, June 11, 2005. Speaking to them she said: “Thank you for being the pillar of the arts, and especially musical theatre. You do make a difference, a very big one in the lives of others.” The 2005 Goodspeed Gala was sponsored by The Hartford.

Emmy and Tony Award-winner Christopher Plummer proudly paid tribute to his co-star and longtime friend through a poem he wrote for her: “Now we know, the world knows, even galaxies afar / That Julie is truly a star / But more importantly that she’s a lady with exceptional heart / Which keeps shining through her life and her art / And I’m honored to know her.”

Entertainment for the Gala evening was performed by Rachel York (Lincoln Center’s Dessa Rose, Broadway’s Sly Fox, The Scarlet Pimpernel, City of Angels, Les Miserables) with accompaniment by David Kirshenbaum. She dedicated “Old Friend” from Merrily We Roll Again to her Victor / Victoria co-star Andrews and then followed up with a rendition of “It's a Jolly Holiday with Mary” from “Mary Poppins” but changed the lyrics to “It's a Jolly Holiday with Julie.”

York said smiling: “You are a light to this world. You’ve always been a major inspiration to me. Whether it be marveling at your magical performances on screen as a child, or knowing and caring for you up close and personal as an adult. Never in my wildest dreams, did I ever expect to share the stage with Julie Andrews, much less a dressing room.”

Previous Goodspeed Award recipients include Ira Gershwin, Tommy Tune, Susan Stroman and Gerald Schoenfeld. Proceeds from the Gala will support Goodspeed Musicals and its Max Showalter Center for Education in the Musical Theater.

At the event, Ms. Andrews received the Goodspeed Award for Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theatre, which was given to her by Ramani Ayer, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Hartford.

“Investing in the arts, culture and the humanities is a primary goal at The Hartford,” Ayer said. “We are proud to support an institution like Goodspeed Musicals as an important way to help keep our communities growing and vibrant.”

One of the most beloved performers in the world, Julie Andrews made her Broadway debut at age 19 in The Boy Friend. Historic performances followed in the original productions of My Fair Lady and Camelot with Ms. Andrews then winning an Academy Award for Best Actress in her first film playing the title role in “Mary Poppins.” Soon after came the lead in “The Sound of Music,” one of the most successful motion pictures of all time. The role garnered Ms. Andrews her second Academy Award nomination and paved the way for a lifelong friendship with co-star Christopher Plummer. Her next project will be directing Goodspeed’s production of Sandy Wilson’s The Boy Friend, July 8 – Sept. 18 at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Conn., which will then embark on a tour across the U.S. and Canada.

Christopher Plummer will forever be remembered as Captain von Trapp from “The Sound of Music,” (1965) a film in which he co-starred with Julie Andrews. In 1954, he made his Broadway debut with The Starcross Story. His Broadway credits also include The Good Doctor, Othello, Macbeth and King Lear. He was recognized with two Tony Awards for his performances in Cyrano and Barrymore. Mr. Plummer made his film debut in “Wind Across the Everglades” in 1958 and followed that with “Stage Struck” the same year. In total Mr. Plummer has been associated with over 100 films in his career.

The Chairmen for this event were John Barlow and Scott Rudin. Goodspeed Members Lucille and Dave Viola Sr., of Madison, Connecticut, served as Vice Chairs.

The Gala was staged at The Chauncey Stillman Production Center on the Goodspeed Campus in East Haddam, Connecticut.

As part of the special evening, a Silent Auction was held. Auction items included a presentation of a bouquet of roses to Julie Andrews, a walk on role in Goodspeed’s production of Sandy Wilson’s The Boy Friend, landscaping by designer Louis Raymond and a painting by Sol Lewitt.

Goodspeed Musicals is dedicated to the preservation and advancement of musical theatre, producing six musicals each season at the historic Goodspeed Opera House and The Norma Terris Theatre, opened in Chester, Conn., in 1984 for the development of new musicals. In addition to its onstage productions, Goodspeed also maintains The Scherer Library of Musical Theatre and The Max Showalter Center for Education in the Musical Theater. Goodspeed gratefully acknowledges the support of media sponsor WFSB Channel 3, Hoffman Enterprises East Hartford and New London and American Airlines, official airline of Goodspeed Musicals.


Beth Wik or Dan McMahon at 860.873.8664, ext. 366 or 324 /


Goodspeed's Tribute to Julie Andrews
14 Jun 05

By Jan Nargi

Picture 1
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Goodspeed Musicals of East Haddam, Connecticut paid tribute to the one and only Dame Julie Andrews on Saturday, June 11 by presenting her with The Goodspeed Award for Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theatre . Close friends and colleagues Christopher Plummer and Rachel York were the special guests honoring Ms. Andrews at the gala reception and ceremony.

Plummer, two-time Tony Award winner and Andrews' co-star in the beloved film "The Sound of Music," read his very personal "Ode to Julie" that regaled the 400-plus patrons in attendance with clever rhymes about his unrequited love for her and his losing the role of Lancelot to an unknown named Robert Goulet. York, accompanied on the piano by composer David Kirschenbaum, sang Sondheim's "Old Friend" and then put her own special twist on "Jolly Holiday with Julie" by affectionately impersonating her mentor and co-star of "Putting It Together" and "Victor/Victoria."

Andrews graciously accepted her award by acknowledging the important contributions that Goodspeed Musicals has made to Broadway and the rest of the musical theater world by developing new works and reviving classics for new generations. Next on the Goodspeed schedule is the Andrews' directed revival of "The Boy Friend," the musical that launched her American Broadway career when she was just 19. The show will run on the Goodspeed mainstage from July 8 through September 18, then embark on a 21-week tour across the U.S. and Canada.

In closing, Andrews demonstrated her trademark cheeky humor by making one simple request of those in attendance. "During the next few weeks, if you see me on your roads, and I'm driving a bit too slowly, please," she cajoled. "Do me a favor. Lay off the damn horn."

Source: --> see also:

Julie Andrews Honored At Goodspeed With Rhyme, Song
13 Jun 05



Everyone had effusive words of praise for Julie Andrews at the Goodspeed Gala honoring her Saturday night. Christopher Plummer, however, took it one step further. He put his accolades and comic recollections of his "Sound of Music" co-star into a rhyming ode.

Plummer's tribute was part of an evening during which Goodspeed Musicals gave Andrews the Goodspeed Award for Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theatre. His poem's clever couplets drew lots of laughter from the 400 people at the gala, including Andrews.

Plummer recalled that, back in the 1950s, Andrews' performance on Broadway as Eliza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady" was impressing everyone, including Plummer himself. Director Moss Hart was looking for an actor to take over for Rex Harrison in the Henry Higgins role. He suggested Plummer as a potential replacement.

"But he had to hear me sing first, and that was not treat/For the sound I made resembled a rhinoceros in heat... " Plummer recited from the text he said he wrote in the car on the way to the gala. "Though Mr. Hart liked my Higgins, and that's the truth/I didn't get it simply because of my youth."

Plummer didn't meet Andrews then. A few years later, another possible role in another musical starring Andrews gave him yet another glimmer of hope.

"Suddenly, Moss Hart was directing 'Camelot'/And he thought I'd make a good Lancelot/So I sang for him again, the poor, long-suffering soul./That's why Robert Goulet got the role.

"Well, that just about reached the very end of my tether/Until you know what finally brought us together?/To play opposite Guenevere and Eliza would have been such fun./What did I get instead? For God's sake, a nun.

"But this nun was different, she was hysterically funny./Her irreverent humor was right on the money./When she sang, her golden voice brought the evening's hush./But sometimes, her language could make a stevedore blush."

On a serious note, Plummer described Andrews as "a lady with an exceptional heart/Which keeps shining through her life and her art."

Andrews is in East Haddam to direct "The Boy Friend." After a run at Goodspeed, from July 8 to Sept. 18, the show will go on the road for 21 weeks. Andrews starred in the original version of the musical on Broadway, in 1954. It was the show that brought her to America.

"There is nothing like musical theater. I was lucky enough to begin my career in this glorious sandbox," she said.

Before the gala began, Andrews noted that the Goodspeed award "comes from people who know musical theater and appreciate musical theater. When it comes from somebody like that, it's always very meaningful."

Another of Andrews' former co-stars took the stage as well. Rachel York, who performed with Andrews in Broadway's "Victor/Victoria," sang Andrews' praises, literally. She sang "It's a holly holiday with Mary" from "Mary Poppins" but changed the lyrics to "It's a jolly holiday with Julie."

The gala was held in the Goodspeed's paint shop, which was transformed into an elegant dinner room, with delicate strings of small white lights and swags of gossamer fabric. Photos of Andrews in some of her most famous roles were projected onto the walls. Among the guests in attendance were Morley Safer of "60 Minutes," U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, and Andrews' daughter, Emma Walton, and her family.

Source: --> see also:

DVD release!
Americanization of Emily will be released on May 10th. For more information go to
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Guess Who's Coming to Julie's? June 11 Goodspeed Bash for Andrews Snags Old Friends
Kenneth Jones
07 April 2005

Christopher Plummer and Rachel York are on the guest list for the June 11 gala where Goodspeed Musicals will fete the legendary actress Julie Andrews.

Plummer was Andrews' co-star in the film, "The Sound of Music" and a live TV version of "On Golden Pond," and York appeared with Andrews in Broadway's Victor/Victoria.

At the grand party in East Haddam, CT, Andrews will receive The Goodspeed Award for Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theatre "in honor of her extraordinary career." The bash is a real behind-the-scenes affair held in the dressed-up paint shop on the Goodspeed campus.

Goodspeed Musicals is the Connecticut-based not-for-profit theatre company devoted to the heritage of musical theatre and the fostering of new works, at both the Goodspeed Opera House and the Norma Terris Theatre.

Previous Goodspeed award recipients include Ira Gershwin, Tommy Tune, Susan Stroman and Gerald Schoenfeld. Proceeds from the gala will support Goodspeed Musicals and its Max Showalter Center for Education in the Musical Theater.

Julie Andrews is a Broadway and Hollywood legend for her performances in Broadway's My Fair Lady and Camelot, and for her film roles of Maria in "The Sound of Music" and the title character in "Mary Poppins." She played the title roles in the film "Victor/Victoria" (and later starred in the Broadway musical version), and recently appeared in "The Princess Diaries," and its sequel, "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement."

Her next project will be directing Goodspeed's production of Sandy Wilson's The Boy Friend, July 8-Sept. 18 at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT. It will then embark on a national tour.

The chairmen for this gala event are Broadway press agent John Barlow and film and stage producer Scott Rudin. Barlow began his career over 20 years ago as a press intern with Goodspeed. Goodspeed members Lucille and Dave Viola Sr., of Madison, serve as vice chairs.

For gala ticket information, please telephone Theresa Kidd, Director of Individual Giving, at (860) 873-8664, ext. 317.

Goodspeed Musicals produces six musicals each season at the historic Goodspeed Opera House and The Norma Terris Theatre, which opened in Chester, CT in 1984 for the development of new musicals.

In addition to its onstage productions, Goodspeed also maintains The Scherer Library of Musical Theatre.

Michael P. Price is executive director of Goodspeed Musicals.



Book release!
Julie's book 'Dragon:Hound of Honor' has been released as a paperback. For more information go to Latest Releases

Go up to: News April 2005

Julie Andrews 'having a ball' directing musical
29 Mar 05

More than 50 years after making her Broadway debut in The Boy Friend, stage legend Julie Andrews says she's having "great fun" directing a new version of the show that will arrive in the city next year.

"This is very stimulating," said Andrews, immaculately turned out in a crisp grey suit as she sat down Tuesday to talk about the production.

"I really felt that every instinct I ever had about the theatre was being employed when I was directing and I had such a good time."

Andrews was approached about The Boy Friend two years ago by her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, a co-founder of the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbour, N.Y.

"I'd been considering directing and I really needed some encouragement and this was exactly what I wanted - an environment where I could practise," said the 69-year-old, who has also written a series of children's books with Hamilton.

"Ultimately, I had a ball."

That production led to the upcoming North American tour, which will stop in Toronto in January and February 2006.

About a dozen cities have been booked so far, said Andrews.

When the actress talks about The Boy Friend - a whimsical send-up of rollicking musical comedies of the 1920s - her affection for the production is clearly apparent.

In her famously precise English accent, she calls the show a "little piece of lace" with "lovely music."

"It's the first thing that I ever did on Broadway and, I, of course, have a very emotional and professional attachment to it," she said.

Directing, was a welcome new challenge, Andrews added.

"It's one thing to be alone in an individual role on one side of the footlights and then suddenly be on the other side of the footlights looking at the whole."

Andrews, of course, is known to movie audiences around the world for her soaring four-octave voice, which helped bring to life iconic screen roles like Mary Poppins and Maria in The Sound of Music.

On Broadway, she has wowed audiences in Camelot, My Fair Lady and Victor/Victoria, a stage version of the 1982 film in which she also starred.

But in 1997, her singing voice was ruined after surgery to remove non-cancerous nodules from her throat. Five years ago, she reached an undisclosed settlement in her malpractice lawsuit against the doctors and hospital.

In recent years, Andrews' career has taken a slightly different turn. She was the voice of the queen in Shrek 2 and has also appeared in films such as The Princess Diaries (she was also in a sequel, which included a limited singing scene).

On Tuesday, Andrews suggested her newfound career as a director has been a welcome return to her musical roots.

"Since I'm not singing these days, this is lovely," she said.

"It's such a joy to see the new talent that's coming along. I had my wonderful moment with it and now it's somebody else's chance to do it."

The Toronto stop of The Boy Friend is a boon for Mirvish productions, which has announced a 2005-06 lineup that also includes the much-hyped musical version of Lord of the Rings as well as the Broadway smash Movin' Out, based on the songs of piano man Billy Joel.

Source: CTV News Toronto see also / Toronto's News --> video link in
Multimedia section

Toronto Will See Julie Andrews-Directed Tour of 'Boyfriend'
29 Mar 05

By Kenneth Jones, Robert Simonson

The new production of The Boyfriend, directed by Julie Andrews, will play a Toronto engagement as part of a North American tour that will follow its summer 2005 start at Goodspeed Opera House.

Andrews, the original Broadway star of Sandy Wilson's spoof of 1920s musicals, will be on the Goodspeed campus in East Haddam, CT, this summer to helm the production.

This is her second crack at staging the show: Audiences were delighted by her 2003 revival at Bay Street Theatre on Long Island. Goodspeed picked up the ball and is presenting the show July 8-Sept. 18, followed by a tour sponsored by Target. John DeLuca choreographs. Book, music and lyrics are by Sandy Wilson.

Toronto dates for January and February 2006 will be announced, according to the Royal Alexandra Theatre. No casting has been mentioned for Connecticut or the subsequent tour.

When the Sandy Wilson work played Long Island's Bay Street in August 2003, there was some talk that it would find its way to Broadway.

Andrews, of course, Broadway-debuted in the original 1954 production of the musical. In the Bay Street mounting, Meredith Patterson played Andrews' role (Polly) with Sean Palmer as her star-struck love interest. Veanne Cox portrayed the French maid, Byron Jennings was a proper Englishman, Nancy Hess was Madame Dubonnet, Tony Roberts was the lecherous Lord and Delphi Harrington played his aristocratic wife.

The company also included Paul Alexander, Justin Bohon, Joyce Chittick, Andrea Chamberlain, Jenny Fellner, Rick Faugno, Mark Price, Annie Ramsey and Neal Shrader.

The Boy Friend at Bay Street marked Andrews' debut as a director. Bay Street is run, in part, by Emma Walton, Andrews' daughter.

The Bay Street creative team for the musical included Larry Grossman (musical direction), John DeLuca (choreography), Tony Walton (sets), Walton and Rachel Gruer (costumes) and Eric Schlobohm (lights).

Goodspeed bills the show this way: " The Boy Friend is a jazzy, romantic spoof of 1920s musical comedy. Amidst happy flappers and perfect young ladies, romance blooms on the French Riviera as an English heiress suddenly falls for the delivery boy and professes her love at the Grand Ball. A family favorite, this joyful comedy sparkles and will leave you floating on air?

The score includes "Won't You Charleston with Me?," "It's Never Too Late to Fall in Love" and more.



Julie Andrews to host the brand new fireworks show!
19 Mar 05

By Carla Cosper

Exploding over Sleeping Beauty's Castle on May 5th will be the specially created "Remember Dreams Come True" fireworks spectacular! This 17 minute creation begins with an introduction by Julie Andrews of "Mary Poppins" fame followed by the sounds of "Star Light, Star Bright" and "Wish Upon A Star". The new show begins with the wishes of several Disney characters including Cinderella, Pinocchio and Aladdin ·told through incredible special effects, music scores and breathtaking fireworks.

Tinker Bell makes a grand entrance utilizing a new and improved cable system. In years past, Tinker Bell was pushed off of the Matterhorn using gravity, in order to glide through the skies above the castle. The new cable system allows Tinker Bell to fly back & forth, and remain stationary over the castle. She will disappear magically among 8,000 watts of light! Tinker Bells dramatic new flight will introduce act two, Walt Disney's dream of Disneyland, explained in Walt's own works using archival audio tracks. Guests will suddenly hear "All Aboard" as the "E" ticket rides are featured in this segment. The "Tiki Room", "Indiana Jones", "Haunted Mansion" and the "Pirates of the Caribbean" are just a few of the attractions featured in the skies above Disneyland.

Julie Andrews then speaks about Disneyland, 50 years later and Tinker Bell reappears above the castle just before the full finale!

The "Remember Dreams Come True" fireworks will be launched from additional locations to provide the guests a great view from various locations. It is my recommendation that if you are able to view this firework show on more than one occasion, to experience it from various areas around the park. In front of the "Toon Town" entrance, by the Rivers of America and of course in front of "Sleeping Beauty's Castle" and along Main Street.


Julie Andrews Makes Stage Appearance at Mary Poppins
By James Inverne
18 Mar 2005

The screen Mary Poppins met her onstage double March 17 when Julie Andrews visited the London stage version at the Prince Edward Theatre.

Seated in a box during the show, Ms. Andrews formally bestowed her approval by taking to the stage during the curtain calls and making a speech praising the cast.

According to the Evening Standard newspaper, Laura Michelle Kelly, who plays Mary in the Cameron Mackintosh-Disney Theatricals co-production, was tearful during Andrews’ speech. “It’s always harder when your hero is watching,” she told the newspaper. “Doing the show tonight, I could feel her over my shoulder, and I was thinking all the time, ‘I got that bit from her.’”

Andrews appeared delighted with the show, not least the moment when Kelly flew over her head into the auditorium. “Can you imagine the joy and memories that this has brought back to me?” Andrews said during her speech, turning to the cast to add, “Now the future lies in your hands. You have got to carry the torch from now on. Come to Broadway. Wow them all. I will be waiting.”

Andrews, whose first lead role (in Humpty Dumpty) was at the Prince Edward, now lives between America and Switzerland. She may be able to see another of her classic screen roles on stage before too long — if plans for a West End revival of The Sound Of Music progress.

For more information on Mary Poppins, call (0)870 850 9191.


Andrews Pops In To Poppins
03 Mar 2005

For the first time ever, on March 17, there will be two Mary Poppins(es) in the same room, as Julie Andrews makes a special visit to see 2005 Best Actress In A Musical Olivier Award-winner Laura Michelle Kelly in the musical about the magical nanny. Andrews will be attending a gala performance from which the proceeds will be donated to ARK, Operation USA and LAMDA.

Julie Andrews famously played the practically perfect childminder in the 1964 Disney musical, opposite the legendarily-accented Dick Van Dyke, winning a Best Actress Oscar for her effort. The movie musical about a dysfunctional family, a flying nanny and her multi-jobbing friend, has thrilled many a child, and adult, since, with its collection of songs including A Spoonful Of Sugar, Chim Chim Cheroo and the fantastically spelt Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Though the stage musical is partly based on the film, and includes the famous ditties, the books of P.L. Travers were also used by writer Julian Fellowes to create the production. Song writers George Stiles and Anthony Drewe were also employed to provide additional songs for the Disney and Cameron Mackintosh produced stage version. Choreographers Matthew Bourne – who also co-directs with Richard Eyre – and Stephen Mear picked up and Olivier Award for their outstanding dance routines, of which one in particular defies the laws of physics.

Tickets for the gala performance have been distributed through the organisations that will benefit: ARK, which provides aid to children worldwide, particularly ‘after the cameras leave’; Operation USA, the American aid charity of which Julie Andrews is a trustee; and LAMDA, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Tickets may become available at the Prince Edward Box Office from March 9.

If you want a more ‘hands on’ approach to the Poppins phenomenon and happen to be a child who can sing, dance and act, you could end up on stage with Ms Kelly, Gavin Lee, David Haig and Linzi Hately, as the show is recruiting new stars to play Jane and Michael Banks. The producers are looking for well-spoken children whose voices have not broken and who do not have fixed braces.

To be a little more specific, Michael – a noisy, mischievous, troublesome little boy – should not be more than 4’6” and look 8-10 years old. Jane – a thoughtless, short-tempered and untidy young lady – should not be taller than 4’10” and look 10-12 years old. If you, or your child, fit that description and would like to be in a West End show, email for more information, or send a passport-size photo and contact details to Joanne Hawes, Cameron Mackintosh Limited, 1 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3RA.


Prince Edward Theatre
28 Old Compton Street
London W1D4HS
020 7437 2024

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