October 1, 2010 - Happy Birthday, Julie Andrews
Born Julie Elizabeth Wells in 1935, Julie certainly has had a "colorful career' in such productions as Cinderella, Sound of Music, My Fair Lady,Mar Poppins,Camelot, the Boy Friend, and in her more recent roles as the Nanny for Eloise and The Princes Diaries.
It would be difficult to choose which of these would be my favorite. She is a very special actress.
Julie began her career as a child in England. Her parents divorced and each married again. She lived with her father and brother John, but as she showed musical talent, her father sent her to live with her mother and step-father. She describes this as a very dark" period of her life as their home was in a slum district of London. Her life was not good with her step-father but he did provide for her education at an independent arts school
Her parents were stage performers and she was added to their act. Of that she says,
"It must have been ghastly, but it seemed to go down all right." She sang both solo and in duet with her step-father with her mother on piano.
In each musical production there is probably one song that becomes a favorite. Sometimes my favorite is not the signature song, or even one of the best known. "You May Take Me To The Fair" from Camelot for the lyrics. It simply amuses me. From Mary Poppins, for the same reason, I enjoy "Let's Go Fly A Kite". In the Sound Of Music I think my favorite is "Something Good." I think it sums up the reasons for having good senior years. Nearly everyone does their best to live well, but not everyone really enjoys the later years of life. I know wonderful people who haven't found a happy old age. So,* "Perhaps I had a wicked childhood,
Perhaps I had a miserable youth, ..........
But somewhere in my wicked, miserable past
There must have been a moment of truth.........
Somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good."
Of course, the song is a love song, and Julie is singing with VonTrapp after their engagement. Julie must have sung that song straight from her heart, even though she was acting, because she did have a difficult childhood. If you read her bio on Wikipedia
I think you will agree, that song had to have special meaning for her.
The Hal Leonard Company includes many,many songs from all of the great musicals. And Joanie Manero, a Lowrey pro has created some great registrations for many of them.
If you like the fake book series, there are two that feature Broadway music. And there is a huge book of the "Best of Broadway" for around $50, but be warned, this is not E-Z Play format; all tunes are written in original keys. I recommend the more manageable fake book series.
*No, I did not have a wicked childhood, or a miserable youth. I just love the "Horatio Alger" idealism. I lived a happy privileged home in a small American town with about 3000 permanent residents which swelled to about 10, 000 in the summer. Several of my close childhood friends are still my close senior friends. Life is good.
Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing.