BWW Reviews: Donny & Marie Bring Their Super Vegas Show to LA for the First Time
Donny & Marie/conceived and created by Donny and Marie Osmond/choreographed by Jaymz Tuaileva/Pantages Theatre/through December 23
It's no wonder that Donny & Marie Osmond's Vegas show won the Best in Vegas 2012, having premiered there in 2008. It's a big, splashy, hi-tech evening with all kinds of fun, popular music. They are finally recreating it at the Pantages, with the inclusion of several segments of Christmas music. There are eight terrifically flashy dancers, a live orchestra - and of course, Donny & Marie, who for the past 50 years - impossible to believe - have been part of our television family. Where would our all-American musical heritage be without Andy Williams and the Osmonds? It was the early 60s when five year-old Donny, his seven brothers and little three year-old Marie bowed on The Andy Williams Show. With that in mind, concerning all those people we hold near and dear, we may have increasingly grander expectations, but ... Donny & Marie surely do not disappoint in this, their very first live show together in Los Angeles aptly titled Donny & Marie Christmas in Los Angeles. In fact, they give it everything they've got...and that's a whole lot more than most entertainers in their 50s really give.
As much as I have always loved adorable Marie and listening to her sing a variety of songs, I never knew she was operatically trained, so when, in Act II of this show, she sang Italian opera, dressed in a kimono, she knocked my socks off. What an incredible vocal range this lady has! And as for Donny, at 54, he's still handsome and screamed at - think of Tom Jones - by every female in the audience. What I had neglected to take a look at was his dancing talent. He has it in spades. At one point, when he facetiously alluded to getting all his brothers together for this show, he referred to one as Tito and said that was the Jackson Five, but dancing "YoYo", a number he had premiered on The Flip Wilson Show in the 70s, one could not help but think of the one and only King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Don Osmond can dance. With hi-tech images flashing on big background screens, showing everything from Thomas Kincaid photos of Christmas to videos of the Osmonds as kids, and the eight dancers backing up both artists, the stage seems like Grand Central Station with constant locomotion. There's never a dull moment. Donny and Marie go into the audience to mingle, kiss and hug and invite audience members onstage for fun and frolic.
Musical highlights of the evening include holiday tunes like "We Need a Little Christmas", "The Christmas Song", "Blue Christmas", "Little Drummer Boy", "Jingle Bell Rock", "All I Want for Christmas", "Little Saint Nick", "If Every Day Could Be Christmas", and the uplifting "Let There Be Peace on Earth". Their hits are also offered such as Marie's "Paper Roses", Donny's "Puppy Love", a loving tribute from Donny to Andy Williams of "Moon River" and a whole Broadway segment closing Act I and as a part of Act II. Marie essays her songs form The Sound of Music and The King and I. Donny? Tunes from Joseph and Beauty and the Beast. The two close Act I with an incredibly lovely "For Good" from Wicked. Marie does a dynamite Kander and Ebb tribute in Act II with "All That Jazz", "Cabaret" and "The World Goes Round". They also offer their recent super hit duet "A Beautiful Life".
Great set and video design from Perry "Butch" Allen and Peter Morse, beautiful costumes for Marie by Kirstin Gallo and Rachael Lauren (Marie's daughter), dynamic lighting design by Morse and Joseph Lucas Eddy, amazing choreography from Jaymz Tuaileva executed by eight great dancers...and superb musical direction from Jerry Williams! It's Vegas in LA, and nobody could do it better!
What a fabulous evening of entertainment for the holidays! Donny & Marie and their entire creative team give an audience their money's worth. Don't miss them through December 23rd only!