Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Julie Andrews, Lady Gaga and The Sound of Music - A Glorious Celebration

Salzburg, Austria
This month, The Sound of Music celebrates the 50th anniversary of the film's release and Julie Andrews is top news. The big stories began with Lady Gaga’s grand appearance on the 2015 Academy Awards. For months, she had rehearsed songs from the much loved film. That night, dressed in a dazzling white ball gown, Lady Gaga stunned and then thrilled the audience with her superb, heartfelt tribute to Julie Andrews and The Sound of Music. As the audience responded with a standing ovation, nothing could have topped that moment except the presence of the original star, Julie – which is exactly what happened. Ms. Andrews appeared on stage and embraced Lady Gaga. Thrills and tears.

This week, fans waited impatiently for Diane Sawyers’ ABC special, “The Untold Story of ‘The Sound of Music.’ In the special, Diane visits Salzburg, Austria where she meets Julie Andrews, and together the pair travel to many of the film's sites, where Julie recalls events that took place during filming. Christopher Plummer is also interviewed and many, many rare pictures and film clips are shown. There is also a visit to the real von Trapp home, not used in the film.

Watching Julie Andrews and listening to her behind the scenes stories is sure to bring back fond memories of our own. Each person who has seen the film has their own very personal memories of where they were in their life when they first saw the film. Those of us who love it remember as well how it inspired us and affected our lives. Without a doubt, it is one of the most loved films ever, and a large part of this is due to the greatness of Julie Andrews’ performance. She brought passion, insecurity, humor and love to her portrayal of Maria, as well as that glorious voice, which touched us all.

I have my own memories of seeing the film for the first time. My grandmother and Great Aunt Dora took me to see "The Sound of Music" shortly after it opened. I was eleven years old at the time, and Aunt Dora, who had seen the Broadway production, thought I should see it. Of course, like most kids, I longed to be one of the children in the film, but being from a theatrical family, I also dreamed, not just of living the story, but of working with a group of children like those in the film and a singer like Julie. But who is like Julie? No, of course, I dreamed of working with Julie herself, humbly. And for the first time in my life, I thought about singing, not just as a child or a popular singer, but as a singer who could do something much finer, like Julie Andrews.

Only seven years after the release of “The Sound of Music,” I had the opportunity to watch Julie Andrews at work in-person, and I took advantage of it that opportunity as my blog tells. Now, seeing the clips of the film and Julie at that time makes my memories real. Indeed, it is time to tell the rest of my story, and in the next few weeks, I will.

To learn more about ABC’s Special, visit:

(c) 2015 Michelle Russell

All photos and links here for entertainment purposes only.

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