Monday, December 29, 2008

Eight: Home A Memoir of My Early Years - Julie Andrews

Home walks the reader through Julie Andrews' life from her first voice lesson, to various musical revues, to her first Broadway show and up to the filming of Mary Poppins. Born in Walton, England, Julie's life was full of music from the start. Her mother was a pianist and performer from an early age. She met Julie's step father - Ted Andrews - while performing for the troops during World War II. Ted was Julie's first voice teacher and eventually studied with Madame Lilian Stiles-Allen in Yorkshire.

Julie's first stage performance was in 1947 in London within a musical revue called Starlight Roof. Over the next few years she continues to perform and study voice. Her parents' careers start to falter and Julie decides that she will be the main income for her family. In June 1950, Julie becomes the resident singer on a BBC weekly radio show called Educating Archie. In 1953, she is offered the title role in the Pantomime Cinderella in London.

On September 30, 1954, Julie's Broadway career started with a role in The Boyfriend. After auditioning for Richard Rogers, she takes a leading role in My Fair Lady. From March 1956 - February 1958, she continues to perform the role of Eliza Doolittle and would go on to perform in the London production as well.

In March 1957, Julie takes on a title role in Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella and in December 1960 she starred in a production of Camelot as well. Julie appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show as well as had her own BBC series in 1959 called the Julie Andrews Hour. She performed a special concert at Carnegie Hall with Carol Burnett in 1962.

Although her career continued to expand after Mary Poppins, it's clear that Julie Andrews was always a performer from the start. She worked hard as a child and an adult and was luckily enough to perform with many other talented entertainers.

Andrews, Julie. Home: A Memoir of My Early Years. Hyperion (2008). 352 pages. ISBN 0786865652.
I watched The Sound of Music many times with my grandmother growing up and have always admired Julie Andrews. After reading this biography, I'm truly inspired and awed by the career that she had just in her early years. Many generations have been blessed to hear her singing. She was never afraid to try something new and threw her heart into each performance.

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