Legendary star of stage and screen Julie Andrews has touched down in Australia ahead of the national tour of An Evening with Julie Andrews. AussieTheatre welcomed the icon to Sydney at a press conference at the Rocks yesterday alongside NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and producers John Frost and Phil Bathols.
Starting in Brisbane then touring to Perth, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne, this marks Andrews’ first trip down under and in spite of a busy touring schedule, she’s looking forward to seeing some sight-seeing, including a ferry ride around Sydney Harbour.
Andrews says she’s thrilled to have the opportunity to share her story with Australia audiences.
“It’s really a sort of intimate conversation,” she said. “It’s about my life and how I began and how I toured. I’m going to be showing a lot of footage and a lot of stuff that people perhaps haven’t seen. Some of it’s very funny, I think. There’ll be a Q&A at the end of the evening, which I always enjoy. There’s quite a lot of film footage along the way and a lot of music. I won’t be singing, as you all know, but I will be telling about it.”
An Evening with Julie Andrews is hosted by Nicholas Hammond, the American-born Australian actor who got his start playing Friedrich von Trapp opposite Julie Andrews in the film The Sound of Music. You can read AussieTheatre’s interview with Hammond about his career and the tour here.
As Andrews suffered severe vocal cord damage 15 years ago, following a botched operation to remove non-cancerous nodules, the evening will not feature live singing from Andrews.
On discovering that she had lost her ability to sing, Andrews said: “I think I was in denial for about a year, thinking I just wasn’t healing as fast as I should. When it became quite obvious that I wasn’t, then I had to deal with it. To be honest with you, it was very tough.”
Andrews has not been slowed down by losing one of her most defining features – her crystalline soprano. Instead, she threw herself into other projects including acting roles, directing, producing and even writing with her daughter Emma. She says writing helped her to heal.
“I began to enjoy it,” Andrews said. “I was bemoaning my fate one day and saying ‘God, how I miss it’ and she looked at me and said ‘Mum, you just found a different way of using your voice’ and it was phenomenal and it was as if a weight fell of my shoulders.”
The Australian tour is a brand new project and a new show for the woman who in spite of her setbacks remains one of the busiest and most well-respected and well-loved stars in show business.
An Evening with Julie Andrews opens in Brisbane on Saturday 18 May before touring to Perth, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne.
More information and tickets are available at julieandrewslive.com