TODAY   |  November 26, 2012

Julie Andrews directs ‘homage’ to Broadway

She’s been a Hollywood legend for decades, but now iconic actress Julie Andrews is taking her talents to a local theater in Connecticut, directing a musical based on one of her children’s books. She chats with TODAY’s Erica Hill about the show she says is “all about theater.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> a group of up and coming actors with a theater in connecticut nbc's erica hill had a chance to sit down with dame julie. erica, good morning. that must have been fun.

>> she happens to be one of the lovelyiest people on the planet, an icon of the screen and the stage. she's also a best selling author, and now she's bringing all of those passions together as her career comes full circle . the hills are alive with the sound of music

>> for over 60 years julie andrews has been entertaining audiences. first on stage and then the screen. ? but her latest role is perhaps the most exciting yet, director.

>> that's a nice idea.

>> reporter: "the great american muosical" is a labor of love, adapted from one of her children's book about some very tiny big stars with big dreams . october, october, october

>> it's really about theater and the homage to the great broadway musicals that we love, but i never ever thought of it as being something for the stage.

>> reporter: inspired at all by any little critters you ever met?

>> i was in " victor victoria " on broadway and heard a little mouse invaded the wardrobe department. suddenly a light bulb went on in my head and i said oh, my gosh what fun it would be to write about theater for children and bring it down to mouse size

>> in this production the mice who live in the theaters are the stars and while originally written for children the stage version of "mousical" has very grown-up moments created by an a- list of actors who are still in awe with a chance to work with julie andrews .

>> i walk in there. hey, you're mary poppins and i'm familiar with your work. she made an awesome cup of tea .

>> we were here and we pinch ourselves every day.

>> what she brings to the table from just, you know, the people she's worked with, the knowledge is, i mean, it's limitless.

>> andrews debuted on broadway when she was just 19. ten years later she was holding an oscar for " mary poppins ," followed by a string of stage and weather and screen roles from " victor victoria "request to "the princess diary." when you look back at your career and you say this is the moment that i knew that this was going to work.

>> when i realized that perhaps one could make just a small difference in audiences' lives and the pleasure that one can hopefully convey to them and the joy that i get in doing it, and somehow that's when it all came together for me because it is about the doing and the giving that is so rewarding.

>> that doing isn't likely to stop any time soon. andrews just released her 27th children's book co-authored with her daughter emma watson hamilton.

>> we laugh a lot when we work, and it's like playing in this delicious sandbox.

>> and, of course, there's "mousical."

>> watching this on stage and gauging audience reaction.

>> it 's wonderful to see what have you and get it on its knees, so to speak, and event think get to its sglefeet.

>> is your goal broadway ?

>> just a good show and if we're lucky enough to go to broadway or perhaps off broadway or regional theater , of course, it would be a dream come true to go to broadway .

>> doesn't hurt when you have julie andrews at the helm. if history has a say "the great american mousical" may have a chance. 19 shows that debuted eventually made it