Mar 18, 2017

By Bob Sheppard

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While Donald Trump’s first budget previewed this week aims at cutting back funding for the arts, legendary actress, singer and director Julie Andrews has a new project that focuses on celebrating the positive effect the arts have on people and communities.

Andrews and her daughter, writer and producer Emma Walton Hamilton, have co-created a series called “Julie’s Greenroom.”    It debuted March 17th on Netflix, and is described as a series for family audiences that celebrates the arts.   The debut features the entire 13-episode first season. 

Each episode features the 81 year-old Andrews interacting with puppet characters from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.  Lisa Henson, daughter of the late Muppets creator is also a collaborator on the show.

Guest stars such as Alec Baldwin and Josh Groban are also featured in episodes as the first season explains the process of creating and presenting an original musical.   Five youngsters, called “Greenies,” are the ones being taught by Julie and her guest stars.

In a CNN interview discussing their new series, the mother-daughter duo touted the contribution the arts make towards the development of a young person, saying they’re among the most profoundly important ways to improve learning and promote success. 

They point to studies by the National Endowment for the Arts in the U.S. that state that young people who engage with the arts are twice as likely to read for pleasure, and four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement or perform community service.

They suggest that participation in the arts is the one activity that can guarantee kids would do better in school and cope well with challenges in life.

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