Let’s start at the very beginning; actually, it’s a very good place to start. First, you need to time travel back to the mid-sixties. You couldn’t attend a cinema or drive-in without seeing something to do with Julie Andrews. Heading to a record store and the Sound of Music or Mary Poppins soundtracks were plentiful. I’ve certainly grown up with Julie Andrews, from her movies, her TV series, her TV specials; they were always watched at our house. I’ve simply lost count how many times I’ve subjected myself, my parents, my friends, my neighbors to The Sound of Music. I’ve had it on vinyl, CD, BETA, VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray, download and I’m sure a music-cassette at some point.
Earlier this year it was announced that Julie Andrews would be touring Australia. I was even more excited to find that this tour was a retrospect of Julie's life and it was to be hosted actor Nicholas Hammond (Friedrich in the Sound of Music). It was a day I will never forget. Finally I was going to get my chance to finally see Julie Andrews in person. The day tickets were made available I was experiencing internet issues – certainly not a good time to have the internet pack-up. I rang my friend to find that he had purchased two tickets to the show. Phew! Imagine my complete shock when I found out I was going to meet Julie after the show as my birthday gift for my 50th.
© Eva Rinaldi
Leading up the show the house was certainly in Julie Andrews mode, I was pumping out her movies, playing her music and occasionally sitting quietly contemplating that in a few days I was meeting Miss Andrews.
Show day arrived and I promptly arrived at the theatre and took my seat with the other VIP’s. The show was opened by Nicholas Hammond showing a Telegram from Twentieth Century Fox advising his success in landing the role in The Sound of Music and then he introduced a video montage of Julie Andrews career. After a few moments Julie arrived on stage to a standing ovation and one of the loudest applauses I have ever heard. For the next hour Julie shared her story of her life and sometimes had us laughing and sometimes wiping tears from our eyes. A beautiful segment was devoted her beloved husband, Blake Edwards. After an hour we were treated to a 20 minute interval where Julie told us she “was going to have a cup of tea, or maybe something stronger.”
After intermission Julie returned to the stage with Nicholas to answer audience questions. They regaled stories of Mary Poppins , Broadway, behind the scenes stories of Sound Of Music while showing behind the scenes footage from the movie. To see these legends of the screen together laughing and sharing stories made for such heartfelt warmth it made for an incredible evening.
The finale got a huge gasp from the audience when we were invited to sing Edelweiss with Julie and Nicholas. Nicholas’ commented that you all go home and tell your friends “you’ve sung with Julie Andrews”. With that, Julie left the stage again to huge applause and another standing ovation.
All that was left was to wait and finally meet Dame Julie Andrews. With all the confidence I could muster I walked up to Julie and just blurted out, “How are you?!” to her reply, “I’m good thank you, and you?” I thanked her for a wonderful show and congratulated her on her amazing career. She was most gracious and after a few more pleasantries she said, “Let’s get our picture taken shall we?” I now own one of my most treasured items, a photo with Julie Andrews. Me! Standing next to Julie Andrews! I’m still in shock every time I look at it. Congratulations should go to all concerned – the night was magical and I’m so pleased to say it was a night I will never forget for so many good reasons.