The Show Must Go On Mp3
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PRESS RELEASE – May 2006
JULIE ANDREWS’ NEW ‘VOICE’ HELPS THE SHOW GO ON
Julie Andrews took a gamble for a worthy cause with the release of her latest children’s book, “The Great American Mousical,” co-authored with her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton (HarperCollins Publishers, May 2006). The book, an affectionate tribute to Broadway from the perspective of a troupe of theater mice, premieres at #7 on the New York Times Bestseller list this week. But Andrews’ homage to Broadway extends beyond the book itself: in conjunction with the publication, she has recorded a brand new song entitled – appropriately – “The Show Must Go On!”. This recording, created to enhance reader experience of the book and to accompany a new web-game that features the ‘Mousical’ characters, marks one of the few times Andrews has sung professionally since throat surgery robbed her of her singing voice nearly a decade ago. Andrews and Hamilton are donating a portion of their sales proceeds from both the book and the song to
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Andrews says the song was “a truly collaborative effort. We had such fun working on it, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give it a try. I asked if it could be set within the few notes I can still handle and between that, a bit of digital wizardry, and a great deal of work by all involved it took on a life of its own. It was such a labor of love that it felt worth the risk of overcoming any perfectionism or fears on my part. The great surprise was how much I enjoyed myself in the process. It
was very gratifying. Though the limits of my vocal abilities truly prevent me from making a habit of this, it has been a very joyful experience.”
One of the most recognized and beloved figures in the entertainment industry, Andrews legendary career encompasses the Broadway and London stages, blockbuster Hollywood films, award-winning television shows, multiple album releases and concert tours as well as the world of children’s publishing.
A child star of the British vaudeville circuit, Andrews came to America at the age of 19 to star in The Boyfriend on Broadway. She subsequently received critical acclaim for her stage performances in My Fair Lady, Camelot and Victor/Victoria. Her many memorable film performances include Mary Poppins (which won her an Oscar for her very first motion picture appearance), The Sound of Music (the highest grossing film of all time), Thoroughly Modern Millie, 10, Victor/Victoria and more recently The Princess Diaries and Shrek films.
Andrews’ dedication to children has been steadfast throughout her career. She began writing books for young readers over thirty-five years ago, and after her singing career came to an end she found a new outlet for her creative ‘voice’ by launching her own imprint, “The Julie Andrews Collection” at HarperCollins Publishers, dedicated to publishing “quality books for young readers of all ages which nurture the imagination and celebrate the sense of wonder.” She and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, a theatre administrator, director and educator who serves as the editorial director for the imprint, have co-authored 15 books together, including “The Great American Mousical.”
Andrews’ considerable charitable work has also been consistent throughout her career, and in 2000 the title of Dame Julie Andrews was bestowed upon her by Queen Elizabeth II for lifetime achievements in the arts and humanities. Her many other honors include having served as Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and a prestigious Kennedy Center honor in the fall of 2001. She has also been a champion of literacy, serving in recent years as the key spokesperson for Target’s “Ready. Sit.Read!” campaign.
“Mom’s always been a person of great courage and commitment,” says Hamilton. “’The Show Must Go On’ could be a metaphor for her life in many ways. It’s fitting that it’s both the underlying theme of the new book and the title of the song.” The famous theater slogan also lies at the heart of the work of Broadway Cares, the charity that Andrews and Hamilton salute in “The Great American Mousical” in very literal terms. The mice in the story are rehearsing for their own benefit performance, “Broadway Airs”, in support of a similar mouse cause.
“Broadway Cares is such an exceptional organization,” says Andrews who has been a long-time supporter and has performed at benefits to aid the charity in years past. “They are known as the nation’s leading AIDS fundraising and grant making organization, but not many people know that they also support breast cancer awareness, affordable housing initiatives and so many other worthy causes. It seemed appropriate to donate some of our proceeds from the book and the song to them.”
Intended for readers age 8 and up, as well as theatre lovers of all ages, “The Great American Mousical” salutes Broadway in many other ways as well. With whimsical line drawings by the Tony® award-winning Broadway production designer Tony Walton (also Hamilton’s father, Andrews’ first husband and illustrator of the mother-daughter team’s “Dumpy the Dump Truck” series of picture books), the book features chapter headings such as “Act One”, “Scene Change” and “Intermission”, and includes all manner of theatrical characters and references (including an extensive glossary of theater terms at the back). The tale is set beneath a venerable Broadway theater, where the resident mice busily prepare for their own performance. Rehearsals are in the usual state of chaos when suddenly the theater is threatened with destruction and the leading lady disappears. Somehow, the show must go on!
The book offers young readers a peek at life backstage as well as an opportunity to learn about theater tradition and lore. Theater-savvy adults or older readers will note that all the mouse characters in the book bear names derived from wellknown Broadway musicals, and will have fun guessing which shows and numbers are being referenced throughout the story. The authors and illustrator admit that a number of the characters and illustrations were inspired by or modeled after friends or colleagues in the industry (“…some of whom may be recognizable!” adds Hamilton), but they decline to specify who’s who.
The new “The Show Must Go On!” interactive web-game and song were created by Annemarie McCoy of BarkingFish Productions especially for the Julie Andrews Collection website (www.julieandrewscollection.com). Players young and old may choose costumes, wigs, props, scenery and co-stars for Adelaide, the book’s leading lady mouse, then make her dance and sing on stage to Ms. Andrews vocal accompaniment. Theater afficionados may be especially interested to note that the scenic choices in the game are actual renderings by Tony Walton from various productions throughout his career.
The song “The Show Must Go On!” was a collaborative effort between McCoy, singer-songwriter Inda Eaton, Andrews, Hamilton and Andrews’ musical director Ian Fraser, and in addition to being heard during the game, can be purchased and downloaded as a separate MP3 from www.julieandrewscollection.com The song encapsulates the story of the book while also being an affectionate homage to – and collage of – Broadway musicals.
The Julie Andrews Collection website also features a comprehensive Teachers Guide in conjunction with the new book, which Andrews and Hamilton hope will be used by teachers, teaching artists and arts educators as both a curriculum enhancement tool in the classroom and as a means to foster arts advocacy and creative expression in young people.
“Part of the reason we wrote the book was because we are both so passionate about live theater that we want to try and help keep it alive for generations to come,” says Andrews. “The Great American Mousical” and all the books in the Julie Andrews Collection are available in stores everywhere and via both the Julie Andrews Collection and Harper Collins Children’s Books websites.
“It’s not often someone in my position is lucky enough to add a joyful second chapter to their creative life,“ Andrews says of her role as an author and editor. “The thrill of singing for me has always been about the giving, extending whatever gifts I may have to others, especially young people…perhaps brightening their day or making a difference in their lives. The wonderful work we’ve been able to share through the Collection has in many ways.