Julie Andrews to return to London stage
Thu, Nov 26, 2009

LONDON (AFP) - Julie Andrews, the star of "Mary Poppins" and "The Sound of Music", is returning to the London stage for the first time in 30 years with a one-off show in May, the organisers announced Wednesday.

The 74-year-old Oscar winner and five other performers will wend their way through some of the greatest musical theatre songs of the last 50 years, many of which Andrews made famous.

She will also narrate "Simeon's Gift", the best-selling children's book she wrote with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton.

Andrews' singing voice was severely damaged 12 years ago during an operation to remove non-cancerous nodules on her vocal chords -- a blow she described at the time as "devastating".

She sued the New York surgeons who treated her and won 600,000 pounds (one million dollars, 660,000 euros) in an out-of-court settlement.

"Julie cannot sing as she once did," her manager Steve Sauer told The Times newspaper on Wednesday.

"Fortunately she has subsequently been able to regain some of the notes she was once well known for. The show will be a beautifully woven blend of her singing along with her guest stars."

The actress has won a legion of fans over the years, with stage performances such as "My Fair Lady" and legendary film roles including as the magical British nanny "Mary Poppins" for which she won an Oscar in 1965.

She was introduced to a new generation as the queen of the fictitious country of Genovia in "The Princess Diaries" and voiced Queen Lillian alongside Cameron Diaz in the "Shrek" films.

"To perform once again in my homeland on the London stage will be a wonderful moment -- it is where it all began for me, and I am so excited to be able to share a brand new work with audiences," Andrews said Wednesday.

"An Evening With Julie Andrews", backed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, takes place at the O2 Arena in London on May 8, 2010.

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