The legendary Julie Andrews, known by children as Mary Poppins, features and produces a Netflix pre-school series that stars great artists. The show is not only entertaining to our little ones, but it focuses on performing arts which is an aspect of education most pre-schools are embracing.
Julie’s Greenroom stars Andrews and a cast of new puppets from Henson’s puppets. This was a great move as the Jim Henson Company holds the record for producing some of the best puppet shows, such as The Muppets, which has managed to produce over 13 episodes over time.
With the help of her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, and Judy Rothman-Rofé, Andrews plays the director of the Wellspring Center, Miss Julie. The theater and its Greenroom host a diverse group of puppets (The Greenies) who come to learn every day. With her assistant, Gus, she teaches ‘The Greenies’ art workshops.
On the show, we see a team of high-profile guests such as Joshua Bell, Titus Burgess, Robert Fairchild, and Alec Baldwin, among others. Andrews fits her role as she has had experience with kids from her numerous children’s books with her daughter.
In addition, the star is an Oscar-winning actress who featured her acting with kids in her early film roles. This background experience is no wonder she ventured out to start her show.
During an interview with USA TODAY, Andrews explains how her connection with children was inspired by the early movies she acted in. She says everything “sorts of evolved” to her passion for communicating with children.
Each episode features a guest performer and a presentation of a particular art being celebrated in the show such as music, mime, dance, improv, voice, and circus arts.
Unfortunately, Andrews, whose singing voice was ruined during a surgery she went through in the 90s, does not do significant performances such as music. However, we see her doing some vaudevillian stuff as well as group numbers and duets. Gillian and Idina do the music performances.
Julie’s Greenroom room being featured on Netflix is a perfect fit for preschool programming. Andy Yeatman, a director of children’s content, acknowledged how featuring a star such as Andrews in the program was a “coup.” Netflix has featured other great preschool shows over the years such as Kazoops, Cirque du Soleil -Luna Petunia in late 2016, and the Magic School Bus 360° in 2017, among others.
Such art programs are a huge benefit to kids, especially now during the pandemic period that has seen schools cut funding for specific programs such as arts. With such programs being aired on Netflix, children can grow interested in art and can be part of an audience or even become artists themselves.
Andrews praised puppeteers who have managed to rise over the years in the industry, like Sesame Street and Avenue Q. She says how “it’s been heavenly” being part of that amazing team of puppeteers. She says, “They are incredibly talented people…I don’t believe that I’m talking to puppets.”