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BWW Interviews: DONNY OSMOND Talks Broadway, Vegas and New Christmas Tour

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Donny Osmond has been in show business most of his life. His resume includes working with industry greats like Andy Williams, Bob Hope, Bette Midler, Lucille Ball, Cher and Elvis. Donny is well known for his portrayal of Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Gaston in Beauty and the Beast and countless television appearances over the years. His sister, Marie has been fortunate enough to work with many of the greats as well and has starred on Broadway herself in shows like The King and I and The Sound of Music. Together they star in the award winning show at the Flamingo in Las Vegas where people come from all over the world to enjoy their shows. In December, Donny and Marie are embarking on a tour to celebrate the season of Christmas and to share many aspects their Vegas show with many all over the country. I caught up with Donny as he was preparing to depart for the tour and asked him about the tour, Vegas and what it's like to be Donny Osmond.

I heard that you had surgery not too long ago and wanted to know how you are feeling now. Are you fully recovered?

My goal was to get ready for this tour and I reached the goal. The first accident happened during Dancing with the Stars. I remember the moment when I had that accident. My partner asked me to do this one move and I fell. I tore a little bit of the tendon on my gluteus medius and over the course of 4 years it kept tearing. And finally in July, it popped all the way off the bone. The pain, I can't even explain. You can make a lot of funny jokes, but it was extremely painful. But, the biggest concern for me was the possible cancellation of this Christmas tour. In Vegas I can use a cane and whatnot and just cut the dancing out because I want to do the dancing in the Christmas tour. So, I followed the doctor's advice explicitly. It healed, Kathy, quicker than the doctor anticipated so he said no problem with this tour he said I'd be able to do it without a problem.

I noticed you keep yourself very busy and you are going to be introducing the Donny Osmond Home with your wife in January.

I just tweeted that out and Facebooked it. That's happening. We had a photo session last night in Los Angeles. That's been something that Debbie and I have been planning for the last 3 - 4 years maybe, doing something like this. This is something that she and I can do for the rest of our lives. In this crazy world of show business, I can come home and there's such a Spirit about in the home that she creates, this atmosphere and we're going to launch that with an emphasis on family unity.

I know you've done Broadway before. You were in Beauty and the Beast and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, would you ever consider doing shows like that again?

Oh absolutely and the reason I haven't is because of Las Vegas. Marie and I had no idea that it would go on as long as it's going. We had originally a 6 week contract back in '08 and here we're starting our 6th year. We got the award for best show in Las Vegas so we're bringing some of those elements of that show on this tour. Obviously it's not just the Vegas show, it's a Christmas tour but we're bringing some of those elements from that award winning show.

Which do you enjoy more, doing Vegas or doing the Broadway type shows?

I guess I'm a little selfish, I like all of it. I like the variety of jumping around doing different types of gigs because you never get bored. For instance, I am involved in recording my 60th album. I love recording. Television opportunities are coming up as soon as we're done with the Vegas run which will be at the end of '14. They want to continue but I think it's time to move on and try some other things. There's nothing like getting out there and doing a live show. That's why and I'm not just saying this because I'm promoting the Christmas tour but getting out there and performing in front of a live audience is the best I think considering all factors of recording and television or whatever it might be; getting out there in front of a live audience is the ultimate.

So let's talk a little bit more about this tour. I know you are on a tight schedule and doing a lot of cities. What can people expect from this show?

First of all, let's back up to 3 years ago when we decided to take the Christmas show to Broadway. We had no idea, here again, the same type of situation happened with our Christmas show that happened in Vegas. We didn't know we would get the kind of reaction we did. So it was really like the last minute idea, the theater opened up and we said, "Sure, let's do a Christmas show." The response was amazing so Chicago and Detroit call and say, "Can you fit us into the schedule next year?" So that's what we did two years ago and then LA and Salt Lake and Phoenix said, "Squeeze us in." So that's what we did last year. Then we decided that rather than just sit down in one place for several weeks at a time, let's do an arena one nighter tour and that's what we're doing this time around. We're bringing all the dancers, we're bringing all the multimedia, the band; we have everything. It's a really big, big show; multimillion dollar show that we're touring with and like I said the elements of that award winning show in Vegas.

Is it going to be all Christmas?

That's a good question because I think if you did all Christmas you'd need an insulin shot at the end of it; a Donny and Marie Christmas show. You gotta mix it up with some of the hits. I gotta do "Puppy Love" and things like that. "Soldier of Love" and Marie's gotta do "Paper Roses." People expect the hits not just Christmas music but obviously there's Christmas music involved. It's a very interactive type of show where Marie and I get into the audience and really involve the audience a lot.

Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about getting into show business?

First of all, you gotta love it with a passion because it's glamorous but, man, it can be very, very difficult and demanding if you want to stay in. I mean, you can in and out real fast like a lot of people do. They have 3 year careers in show business and that's about it. They're a dime a dozen. But if you want to last a long time, you gotta learn how to recreate yourself, you gotta learn to have variety. That's what our show is. It's non-stop variety. Marie and I come from the age of where you give 'em everything and that's what we do. There's not just one genre of music, one style of dancing and singing. Marie gets out there and does opera. I'll do the rock. Then there's a period piece called the Christmas Zoot Suit where we're dancing like crazy and we get out in the audience in costumes and multimedia. Then there's retrospective where we do the old Donny and Marie Christmas shows and bring back a lot of memories together. What we find is that the demographics that come to see our show are so wide and varied, that you've gotta give a variety. That's one of the things that I would say, don't be a one trick pony because it only lasts for so long.

As a member of the Mormon Church how do you balance show business with the Church?

I don't think there's any competing aspect between the two to be honest with you. As long as you keep your head on straight and keep it all in balance and realize it's just a business. When I walk offstage; I learned this from Elvis Presley years ago when I met him and got to know him. He said onstage he was the King. He could do no wrong but offstage he was just the most gentle kind of a man and he really talked like this too (imitating Elvis), "Hi everybody, I'm Elvis." He had a really wonderful relationship with my mom; called him all the time. I learned to balance my life from examples like that where they really didn't take themselves that seriously offstage. I mean onstage, just serious as a heart attack. Offstage, you balance your life and that's why I'm launching Donny Osmond Home is that this is what I live like and I am a very normal person. When I'm at home I take the garbage out, I mow the lawn; just stuff like that. But onstage it's a whole different persona. You turn it on so it's easy to balance. You don't really get caught up in this world of show business and the glamour. The fact that I won Dancing with the Stars, I loved that. I loved the fact that I worked so hard and won that but I don't keep the trophy in our home. I keep in the lobby of The Flamingo so everybody can take pictures of it.

Donny and Marie Osmond will be touring in December sharing the Christmas season with many people. To see a list of venues and show dates, go to http://www.donnyandmarietour.com/ for details. Donny and Marie can also be seen in Las Vegas at the Flamingo. For a list of future show dates, go to http://www.flamingolasvegas.com/shows/donny-and-marie.html#.UpWCPcSsim4

PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy Deputat


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