A spoonful of sugar isn’t doing anything for Julie Andrews’ four-octave range. Instead, the actress is finding a new voice through writing children’s books and directing theater, reports the AP.
The Academy Award and Tony Award-winning actress said that she underwent a surgery in 1997 to remove non-cancerous throat nodules and that her voice never recovered. “The operation that I had left me without a voice and without a certain piece of my vocal chords,” she said.
The Sound of Music star said that she can still speak “pretty well” and can nail a few bass notes, “So if you wanted a rendition of `Old Man River’ you might get it, but I’m not singing as much these days.”
The 77-year-old actress has sung since the 1997 surgery, including a performance in 2004’s The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement and at a 2012 London concert, but Mary Poppins says that these were “speak-singing” performances and that her singing days are mostly behind her. She talked about her discovery of a new voice through authoring children’s books and directing theater.
Her latest children’s book, Little Bo in London: The Ultimate Adventure of Bonnie Boadicea, is the fourth and final entry in a series about a magical ship’s cat that travels around the world. This is the 27th book that she has co-written with daughter Emma Walton Hamilton.
She’s directing a musical theater adaptation of another of her books as well. The Great American Mousical is about a group of thespian mice who live underneath the floors of a famous Broadway theater. It’s being performed at the Goodspeed Theatre in Connecticut through Sunday. Andrews thinks the show would “do very well on Broadway” and has her eyes on directing and producing shows there one day.
Though the loss of her voice may ring somewhat tragic, Andrews is somewhat grateful for it because it pushed her to find a new path and a new voice. Paraphrasing The Sound of Music‘s Maria von Trapp, she said: “When one door closes another window opens.”