Magazine article Variety

Music Pros Help Kids Learn about the Arts

Magazine article Variety

Music Pros Help Kids Learn about the Arts

Article excerpt

JULIE ANDREWS HAS come a long way since the botched surgery that stole her four-octave range two decades ago. The latest chapter of her spectacular comeback is "Julie's Greenroom," a new Netflix series for kids about the performing arts in which the 81-year-old legend sings with her guests on several songs.

Andrews created the series with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, and Judy Rothman Rofé. When writer-director Joey Mazzarino, who was at the helm for 10 of the show's 13 episodes, came to the production, his first call was to his former "Sesame Street" colleague Bill Sherman, music director for the past eight years on the PBS children's-programming staple. Sherman signed on as music director for "Greenroom" and produced all of the songs.

He, in turn, brought in Ryan Shore to compose the underscore. Shore's background includes kids shows such as "Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero" and "Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery." Says Sherman: "We developed the sound of the show along with Julie, Emma, and everyone else."

Each episode explores a different aspect of the arts, from writing and acting to costumes and improv, and each features a guest star who interacts with theater-director Ms. Julie (Andrews), her assistant Gus (Guillian Yao Gioiello), and the Greenies (played by a new batch of Muppets from the Henson Co.).

"We were constantly having discussions over lyrical content," Sherman says, as well as the tone of the music. "Does it sound like radio or a theater piece? These days, theater music can sound like anything, so the idea was just make it as 'hooky' and singalong as possible, so that if kids heard it once, they could sing it back. That's our goal with 'Sesame Street' too."

Sherman recruited a team of songwriters including New York-based singer-performer Shaina Taub, who penned the series theme song "Mash-Up." Says Taub, "I believe the best way to write for young people is to write as you would for anyone - as truthfully and open-hearted as possible. Kids are smart and they can tell right away when you're talking down to them. I try to never dumb anything down for a young audience."

Taub set out to write an upbeat, joyful anthem to encompass all the arts, as well as a sense of inclusive, collaborative -> - creativity. …

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