An Evening with Julie Andrews
What is it about a ‘Star’ that can bring over 1800 people from diverse backgrounds and various age groups, into one venue, in one evening, with rapport bursting at the seams and ending with a standing ovation? In a word, I think it’s about being relatable… (oxford dictionary) “to understand, to empathize with, to feel a connection with”.
Julie Andrews personifies oxford’s definition, filling Adelaide’s Festival Theatre with the presence, grace, charm, poise and humour of a true veteran. A career almost as long as life itself, Julie began performing at nine years of age, alongside her Mother and Step Father, in Vaudeville, learning about life on stage and developing aptitude for the rhythm and soul of the Arts.
This evening, Julie Andrews was welcomed to the stage by Nicholas Hammond, who, 50 years earlier, played alongside her, as Friedrich in ‘The Sound of Music.’
During the first half of the evening, Julie Andrews provided an intimate retrospective of her life, her loves and her career, woven together with beautiful stories of her travels, pursuits and adventures. The resounding lesson to those following the same career path, was to do the homework and be ever ready for those moments in life, that can happen in an instant and transport you to the next place or person that aligns you with purpose.
Julie shared generously about the three major building blocks of her career and spoke openly of the love, respect and admiration for her late husband, Blake Edwards, who passed away two and a half years ago. Married for forty one years, Julie carries him with her, in her heart, wherever she goes.
Comforted by the philosophy that ‘nothing in life is wasted’, Julie overviewed the many aspects of her career and how each part of our lives add to a continuum that make us the unique individuals we are.
The second half of the evening was dedicated to Nicholas Hammond in conversation with Julie, answering questions from the audience and discussing memories, music and photographs that took us behind the scenes and into the life of this legendary performer. One of the stories that stood out to me, was the family-like bonds that have formed over a thirty-five year period between Julie and her Personal Manager, Hairdresser and Stylist, highlighting the true value of service.
Julia spoke freely about making the most of what we have; of facing the adversity of a throat operation gone wrong; of the initial denial and subsequent opportunity to use her voice in another way as she ventured into writing children’s books with her daughter, Emma. That chapter reflected a quote from the musical, ‘The Sound of Music’, “When the Lord closes a door somewhere He opens a window.”
To be asked to sing along to one of her favourite songs, ‘Edelweiss’, with Julie Andrews and Nicholas Hammond, was a fitting crescendo to an evening elevated in reflections of all the riches that this life brings.
© Patricia Herreen 2013