There is no shortage of artists in Julie Andrews’s family. The Mary Poppins star is quick to point this out when we meet her and daughter Emma Walton Hamilton to chat about Julie’s Greenroom, the children’s show they created together.
Julie’s mother was a concert pianist and her stepfather was a tenor. “That’s where I began, I was exposed to that,” she says. “Both of us have been steeped in it,” adds Emma, whose father is production designer and director Tony Walton.
With that in mind, Julie, 81, says she’d always hoped to be part of a show that encouraged children to take up music, dance or drama. “Raising my own kids, I saw what was there on Saturday mornings,” she says. “It was mostly cartoons that were rather violent, or they go straight to MTV.” By creating Julie’s Greenroom – on which Julie plays performing arts teacher to a class of puppets – with her daughter, her dream has become reality.
She admits that inspiration for the look of the set or storyline tended to strike unexpectedly. “Most often when you’re on a tea break, you come back and you’re like, ‘I’ve got it!’”
Julie and Emma have already seen success as co-authors of more than 30 children’s books and were thrilled to take on a new challenge. “This has been a learning curve for us,” says Julie. “We do have different strengths. It’s lucky that we love working together.” Emma agrees, telling us, “I am happy to report that she is every bit as good an egg as you’d hope she’d be.”
Julie’s daughter explains that her illustrious career isn’t the only reason she’s motivated by her mother. “What really has been the most inspiring for me is her being a generous, dedicated mom and person. Her Christmas list is 600 names because everybody who means something to her gets a card.” Julie chimes in: “It matters to do things well, doesn’t it, darling? If you’re doing it, you might as well give it the best shot you can.”