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CONNECT THE WORLD

Interview with Julie Andrews

Aired April 2, 2010 - 16:49:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She's an Academy Award winning actress and singer, star of "The Sound of Music," one of the most popular films of all time and the highest grossing movie of its day. Dame Julie Andrews is a face and a voice with whom we've all grown up.

(MUSIC)

FOSTER: Starting out on the vaudeville stage, she was discovered as a child to have an incredibly rare range -- able to sing four octaves, as she proved in "Mary Poppins," her silver screen debut.

(MUSIC)

FOSTER: Sadly, an operation on her vocal cords left her voice badly damaged in 1998. No longer able to take singing roles, Andrews went on to star in "The Princess Diaries," proving that even without her singing ability, she's one of the most loved actresses of her generation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE PRINCESS DIARIES," COURTESY WALT DISNEY)

JULIE ANDREWS, SINGER & ACTRESS: Oh, what was that shadow?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Whilst authoring children's book, "Simeon's Gift," Andrews has worked hard to recover her famous voice and will return to the stage after 30 years absence, with a comeback musical performs next year.

(MUSIC)

FOSTER: A pearly queen and best loved singing nun, Dame Julie Andrews is our Connector of the Day.

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEO TAPE)

FOSTER: And she's been one of our favorite Connectors of the Day. And now, Julie Andrews is just a couple of months away from the London stage comeback. She was here all those decades ago for the very first time.

Here's when I sat down with her for an encore presentation right now. The moment I sat with Julie Andrews and asked her how she thinks her throat surgery actually will affect her -- her performance coming up.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDREWS: I think everybody knows that I had throat surgery about 14 years ago now and that it was botched and that I don't think -- I certainly hope people aren't expecting me to sing the way I used to. I will -- I will dabble at it a bit. I will sing some things in a kind of sing-speak voice. I'll be weaving throughout the whole evening. Audiences will not be shortchanged in that respect. But I won't be belting out the ballads the way I used to.

FOSTER: Viewers have sent in so many questions for you.

Reese simply asks: "What are a few of your favorite things?"

ANDREWS: Oh, my.

FOSTER: That's very broad.

ANDREWS: Not in any particular order, my grandchildren, music; of course; my garden, my brand new puppy that I was just given for my birthday by my lovely spouse; art; you name it. I could go on forever.

But that's just a few of them.

FOSTER: Lots of things?

ANDREWS: Yes, lots of favorite things.

FOSTER: Ling Cepedes loves "The Sound of Music," especially the part where Maria and Captain Von Trapp were singing, "Something Good." Please do tell us, what's the naughtiest thing you did as a kid?"

ANDREWS: The naughtiest thing I did as a kid?

FOSTER: Yes.

ANDREWS: God. I think -- well, I don't smoke, but I did stop when I was seven because...

FOSTER: That's pretty naughty.

ANDREWS: Yes, it is pretty naughty. We had a very silly lady that babysat for us and I would say to her, can I have one?

If I go and get you a packet of Woodbines down the road, can I have one?

And she'd say, well, fine, but don't tell your parents.

And then my parents decided that I ought to have my throat examined because I was singing at such an early age. And this good lady panicked and said, oh, your throat is going to be all black.

FOSTER: From the smoke?

ANDREWS: Yes. They couldn't pry my mouth open to look inside. But, no, I'm teasing. It is the only time I ever smoked. But it was naughty.

FOSTER: OK. And Betty Braithwaite wants to know: "Of all the songs you've recorded in the past and all the songs you plan to sing in may, which has had the most personal meaning to you?"

ANDREWS: Oddly enough, it's a song from "The Sound of Music," which is "Edelweiss." It is deeply moving to me. And we actually do it in the -- in the concert. It is a glorious orchestration. It's one of the great Rogers and melodies that just seamlessly weave in and out over certain notes. And it really speaks to anyone's homeland. It isn't just Austrian or -- or whatever you might feel, it's really, you know -- it's about how you feel about your home and your country. And it is -- for me, it's very moving.

FOSTER: Are you fond (ph) of more than music?

Do you listen to the radio and try to...

ANDREWS: I like -- I actually love classical music very much. I'm not very good with rap and things like that. It's not -- words matter to me. And I think as long as a song has beautiful lyrics, I'm so happy. But I'm not very good at singing songs that -- that have a just silly vowels and nothing else and not much substance, in that respect. I'd say almost that words come first, melody second.

Having said that, I love the melodies.

FOSTER: And coming back to the West End, you're a living legend here, even though you're not based here anymore, but people are so excited about your big...

ANDREWS: I am still alive, aren't I?

FOSTER: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

FOSTER: What -- what are your thoughts when you see the young people coming through that system, because they will be looking to you for inspiration?

ANDREWS: I think it's harder for them.

FOSTER: But it's quite different for them now.

ANDREWS: It is hard for them because it's all to do with the reality shows today. They -- in other words, instead of coming up slowly through the system, everybody just is blasted onto the public -- into the public arena. And they don't have that much time to hone their craft, I think. And I think it must be very daunting.

FOSTER: Do you think the public has suffered a bit because of that?

ANDREWS: I don't know if the public suffers. They get all the pleasure and the joy of seeing these lovely performers. But I think perhaps the performers suffer a bit if they are thrust forward too fast. If they haven't had time to catch up. And the danger is that they'll be finished before they've barely started and that's a shame.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

FOSTER: Amaze.

Julie Andrews.

Well, Monday's Connector actually came through that reality television system that Julie Andrews was talking there. She's a relative newcomer to the entertainment industry, but Jennifer Hudson really has already made a huge impact.

(MUSIC)

FOSTER: After getting her break on reality TV show "American Idol," she starred in the film adaptation of "Dreamgirls," a role that won her a best supporting actress Oscar.

So here's your chance to ask Jennifer about her meteoric rise to stardom, her singing career or on her new health regime, in fact.

Send in your questions along with your location, at CNN.com/connect.

END