Julie Andrews, (yes that Julie Andrews) is on her way to becoming your kids’ version of Mr. Rogers as she stars and hosts the new Netflix original, Julie’s Greenroom. In tandem with the Jim Henson Company, the series features colorful puppets who are students of “Miss Julie.” Each episode focuses on a particular art (singing, dancing, acting, etc) and brings in a special guest star (such as musician Josh Groban, or current SNL thespian Alec Baldwin) to showcase it.
Netflix’s first live-action, original preschool series is strangely relevant right now, considering the facts the federally-funded arts in the U.S. is in serious jeopardy. In fact, Andrews and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, executive producer on the series, discussed the importance of children having an art outlet in a recent CNN op-ed.
“The timing has never been more right,” Andrews tells Fatherly. “I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. We hope the children will love sitting with their friends and watching it. But hopefully, moms, grandmas, fathers, all parents of all types will enjoy it too because we try to write on 2 levels.”
“The hope is that we send the message that the arts are for everyone,” adds Hamilton. Whether you end up being on stage, backstage, or just an art appreciator and in the audience, there’s room for all of it.” The arts might be for everyone, but is this show a perfect fit for you and your kid?
This show’s formula has every ingredient for a perfect preschooler series: colorful puppets (they’re called “Greenies”), dancing, singing, and a theater mascot that’s a duck. It’s Sesame Street meets Fame. Plus, Julie Andrews’s teacher role is pretty much what she’s born to do.
But the show’s real appeal is how it’ll turn your kid into an art student. Now they can use theater terms like, “stage left” and “ghost light” in a totally unpretentious-sounding way.
If you love Mary Poppins, then seeing Julie Andrews back in the teacher/caretaker role will give you some Magical World Of Disney flashbacks. Not to mention, the show is filled with guest stars adults know: Sara Bareilles, Tituss Burgess (The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Carol Burnett, Ellie Kemper, Idina Menzel, ballerina Tiler Peck, David Hyde Pierce, and the cast of Stomp.
Common Sense’s Take
Common Sense Media is the leading nonprofit source helping parents make movie and TV choices for their children. Their review says Greenroom is a real treat. They say the show, “posits to viewers that performance art owes its cultural richness to a general climate of acceptance and inclusivity.”
And they dig the characters. “The 5 Greenies exhibit cultural and gender diversity … as well as varying levels of physical ability and emotional maturity, but every character has something valuable to contribute to the project as a whole.” Plus, they gave the show 5 stars. Out of 5 stars.
If your kid has shown any potential interest in writing, singing dancing, or getting their stagehand card, this is an exciting development. Plus, it’s a nice companion to the always educational Sesame Street. If you have a preschooler and a Netflix subscription (which is redundant, because you have a preschooler), then this show is a must-stream.
Julie’s Greenroom is currently streaming on Netflix