BWW Blog: Kellie Williams - My Top Five Favorite Things About JULIE'S GREENROOM
Julie Andrews' new Netflix series, Julie's Greenroom, premiered last Friday. I didn't expect to like it since it is geared toward younger audiences, but I ended up loving it! It features really catchy songs and many important lessons about all the different parts of the arts: from singing as a group and writing songs together to improv and even clowning. Here are five of my favorite things about the show:
1. Julie's modern theater posters: The greenroom itself, a waiting room near the stage, is adorably decorated. The walls are adorned with posters from musical theatre shows: modern ones like Hamilton, Wicked, Avenue Q, and Stomp, and older classics like The King and I, She Loves Me, and Anything Goes, and even the Alvin Ailey Dance Center.
2. Mashup the Musical, the show within the show: The kids write their own musical (with help from guest stars Chris Colfer and Sara Bareilles) and perform the whole show in the last episode. It centers around a magical kingdom where an ogre has taken away all the arts (which couldn't be more timely) and includes all the skills the kids learn from the guest stars throughout the episodes such as costumes, dancing, and getting into character.
3. Spike's word bank: One "greenie" (as Miss Julie calls them), Spike, has a notebook that he calls a "word bank" where he writes down all the new words (not just theatre-related ones) he learns in the greenroom. I found this to be especially cool because it's something I used to do when I was younger, and makes the show educational in more ways than one. Some of the words even show up in Mashup the Musical, teaching young audiences not just the definitions of the words but also a context to use them in.
4. Learning important lessons early on: Another character, Peri, is disappointed when she finds out that she'll be playing the ogre and not her dream role of the princess. She feels better when she learns from special guest Alec Baldwin that acting means pretending to be someone else, and the ogre can be a fun character. I was really impressed by the way the show handled the issue of being disappointed with a part in a show because it happens to everyone (as Alec and Miss Julie assure the kids), and it was cool to see the characters learn about it so early on in their theatre careers. Another valuable skill that the kids demonstrate is improvising a missed line. During the performance of Mashup the Musical, greenies Spike and Fizz forget their lines-but instead of giving up, they call on the skills guest star Ellie Kemper taught them and improvise until they are back on track in the script. This is also something that's fairly inevitable in the life of a theatre person, so it was great to see the characters demonstrate how to cope with it.
5. The incorporation of real-life arts programs: Unfortunately, Julie's Greenroom is not a real program-otherwise, I would have enrolled by now. But in addition to the amazing guest stars, each episode includes a clip featuring a real-life organization that brings the arts to kids, including Kid Pan Alley, Story Pirates, and Harlem School of the Arts.
Here's hoping for many more seasons of this amazing new show!