DIVA TALK: Chatting with Oscar Winner Julie Andrews, Co-Creator and Director of The Great American Mousical

By Andrew Gans
30 Nov 2012

Alessa Neeck in The Great American Mousical.
Photo by Diane Sobolewski

Can Andrews picture these mice dancing on Broadway? "I'm not sure yet where we're headed," she answered. "I think, perhaps, we'll hopefully, if we can, take it somewhere else after this — and I think there's every possibility that we will. Then, eventually, we'd hone it and refine it and bring it in somewhere, and then I wouldn't be unhappy if it went to regional theatre because it could be very adaptable for that. We'll see. I mean, it would be a dream come true if we did come to Broadway."

As The Great American Mousical finds its footing, Andrews will undoubtedly be at work on another children's book. In fact, her latest creation arrives in stores this week. "It's the fourth and last book of a series called 'The Little Bo.' The first was 'Little Bo.' It's a little travel series. The second was 'Little Bo in France.' Third was 'Little Bo in Italy.' And, this final one is 'Little Bo in London.' And, although each book was a complete story, an adventure, the four books, together, cover one big arc that is wound up in the last book, so I'm very thrilled that I've brought it to a conclusion."

About her process as a writer, Andrews admitted she particularly enjoys writing with her daughter, who co-wrote this last book in the "Little Bo" series. "The first two were written by me, and then she and I collaborated on the second two of this series. First of all, it's a joy to work with her. If anybody had told me when she was a little girl that we would end up facing each other as two adult women loving the collaboration, I would have been amazed, but it's a thrill for me. We really enjoy playing in that particular sandbox, if you will. It kind of takes us away from family issues or what's going on in the outer world, and we play so happily together, in terms of stories that we create, and we — to this date — I think we've done about 27 books together. It's been a joy, and I love it. We work together as much as possible. If not, I'll be on one coast, and she'll be on the other, and thank God for electronic devices such as the Internet that allow us to see each other. We get on iChat or we Skype. Usually get up at an ungodly hour because L.A. is three hours ahead of New York, so we work most mornings when we're writing together."

"Oh my! That's an almost impossible question," the stellar artist said when asked of what she is most proud when looking back at her award-winning career. "Every single thing that one does, it seems, is a learning process — performing in a musical play is a learning process, directing is a learning process, but it's all, for me, vital and interesting, and I enjoy it very much. I love working with people, and I love the fact that perhaps these days I can give back a little bit to exceptional young talent. And, there's a lot of great talent around these days, but to be able to convey to them some of the things that I've felt and seen over the years is a great pleasure for me… Each film is different. I've loved each one for a different reason: the director that I'd been working with or the location or the actor or the screenplay. It's a little bit — excuse the stupid analogy — 'If you had X number of delicious puppies in a basket, which would be your favorite?' It's hard. You love them all for different reasons."

And, one couldn't resist asking Andrews whether she would consider gracing Broadway once again, perhaps in a comedy or drama? "Well, I don't think that I would ever say no," Andrews said. "I'm very much enjoying this particular phase in my life at the moment, and I seem, oddly enough, to be busier than ever. And, I'm delighted about it, but no, of course I wouldn't throw anything out at this point."

[The Norma Terris Theatre is located at 33 North Main Street in Chester. For tickets and information, call (860) 873-8668 or visit goodspeed.org.]


Well, that's all for now. Happy diva-watching! E-mail questions or comments to agans@playbill.com.