Wednesday , February 28 2024
This delightful children's educational arts series soundtrack should have been subtitled "Volume 1" since it does not include all the strong works from the first season of the Netflix show, but it still impresses thanks to varied instrumentation and talented guest star performances.

Music Review: Various Artists – ‘Julie’s Greenroom’ (Music from the Netflix Original Series)

Viewers of all ages can enjoy their own summer theater experience with Julie’s Greenroom, an educational series that debuted on Netflix earlier this year. This 28-song, 35-minute original Netflix series soundtrack from Varese Sarabande Records features an original score from Ryan Shore (Prime, The Girl Next Door).

Julie Andrews performs on four songs (a major feat since she lost her original singing voice in a 1997 botched surgery) with more song support from Alec Baldwin, David Hyde Pierce, Tituss Burgess, Ellie Kemper, and Carol Burnett. The Broadway songs blend well with the original songs, as all showcase the show’s singing, performing, dancing, and artwork. All 13 30-minute episodes were viewed before completing this review.

Learn about stage directions and other theater basics as Andrews (Sound of Music, Mary Poppins) combines her stage and musical talents with original puppets (a.k.a. “Greenies”) created by The Jim Henson Company. Andrews plays the director of the Wellspring Center for the Performing Arts, while Giullian Yao Gioiello (The Carrie Dairies) is Gus, Miss Julie’s assistant and graduate.

Guest stars that appeared on the show, but not on this soundtrack include Idina Menzel (“I Know That You’ll Get There Somehow”), Josh Groban (“Voice Song”), and surprisingly, Sara Bareilles (“We’re Singing a Song,” “Star Sweeper,” “Mash-Up Song”) – maybe volume two is on the way. 

The opening tracks are “Mash-Up (Theme Song),” performed by Gioiello, and “Anything Can Happen in the Theater,” which features Andrews and Gioiello. “Hugo” is the first instrumental and is named after the duck puppet character, which is voiced by Tyler Bunch.

This soundtrack settles in and focuses on each cast member and/or guest star. The “Shakespeare Shakes” features Gioiello and the Greenies. Gioiello’s calming voice balances the eccentric Greenies, sometimes jarringly so if you have not seen the show.

“Spike’s Despair” focuses on the Greenie character voiced by Frankie Cordero (as Gioiello and the main cast contribute again) and is then followed by the melancholy instrumental, “Cheering.”

“When You Act,” sung by Andrews and Baldwin, is definitely the most memorable song. The ending keeps the show’s light tone, and the acting examples in the song’s lyrics represent the show’s self-imposed responsibility and generosity in the education of the arts while still entertaining listeners.

“Fizz Breaks Joshua’s Violin” is another poignant instrumental, and then “Julie & Gus” pushes the tempo with great piano and consequently the emotions.

The playful “Yes And” concentrates on snowballing creative lyrics based on improvisational comedy with guest star Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt –also on Netflix) as a featured singer with Gioiello and the Greenies.

“Circus Day” could have been paired with the upcoming “Cirque du Soleil,” which is powerful and is followed by Gioiello’s feature song, “You Gotta Bring the Wow,” accompanied with the puppet cast. A few more instrumentals follow before Gioiello’s featured again on the percussion showcase “Snap It,” which has fun instrumentation and short length (about a minute), which keeps it from getting too repetitive.

The instrumentals “Runaway Cart” and “Costume Workshop” offer pleasant interludes, and they are followed by “Someone Else’s Shoes,” which features (you guessed it) costumes and another Schmidt guest star Tituss Burgess, along with Gioiello and the Greenies.

The upbeat “A Scarftacular Day” features some fun keyboards and is followed by two melancholy instrumentals – “Wheelchair Steed” and “Circle Up Greenies.”

“Take a Leap” teams guest star David Hyde Pierce with Andrews in one of the more complicated songs, with the Greenies providing background vocals. The playful tempo and earnest lyrics encourage and uplift when unexpected things happen – better than saying ‘the show must go on.’

“Mash-Up The Musical” is an instrumental score work. It represents the longest track at a little over six minutes and represents the Greenies’ collective work and their resulting performance.

“Anything Can Happen in the Theater (Part 2)” pairs Andrews with Carol Burnett plus Gioiello and the Greenies. It is indeed part two since it’s featured in the series finale – part one was in the first episode – and then it’s “Mash-Up (Reprise Finale)” from the Greenies to end it.

The recommended Julie’s Greenroom (Music From the Netflix Original Series) resonates beyond the short running times, which fits the target child audience perfectly, while all audiences will want to sing-along to most of the songs.

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