Donny Osmond's Popping On Down To Atlantic City
New York Daily News
August 13, 2011
||There are times in the life of a star when he has to take a step back before he can continue going forward. For Donny Osmond, that happened on a frigid night in March 1982 when, after pouring all of his energies and talent into an ill-advised revival of George M. Cohan's "Little Johnny Jones," the critics doused it with ice water. Opening night was also its closing night.
"It was a fateful moment," says the still-boyish-looking 53-year-old grandfather, 29 years later.
"With time, I've determined it was the most important night of my life. I sat there for a while and told myself, I've got to change. I have to reinvent myself. I've got to rough it up a bit."
The Donny hasn't gone so far as to morph into somebody from Black Sabbath. But the Osmond coming to the Event Center of the Borgata in Atlantic City on Saturday, Aug. 27, is a lot different from the one people may remember from the old "Donny & Marie" TV show.
"I was American apple pie," he says. "I was too goody-goody."
This show could be labeled a walk down memory lane, "but it's also about who I am now," the singer says. "I take questions from the audience and I don't hold back. Whatever they want to ask, I'll try to answer. Musically, it's a very fl uid show with a lot of technology that even allows me to sing with my brothers who are projected onto a screen, and do a lot of other things."
Marie doesn't appear here, either as a holograph or in person. It's a totally testosterone gig with a tougher performer at the helm, much like the man who pushed and crunched his way to win the ninth season of "Dancing With the Stars" in 2009 — besting his sister's 2007 thirdplace finish.
The sibs, who are "very, very close," have been headlining a show at the Flamingo in Las Vegas since 2008. It was supposed to be a limited run but has now been extended until October 2012.
Reflecting on the Borgata gig, the entertainer says, "I am an amalgamation of so many things. It's been a little hard to reinvent myself, but hopefully people will be surprised and pleased that I push the envelope a little."
As when he covers Anathema's "One Last Goodbye," which was included on the "Donny & Marie" CD released in May. At first blush, you'd think the squeaky kid America first met on "The Andy Williams Show" when he was 5 years old would be light-years removed from this English prog-rock group. But his edgy treatment of the intense love song is just as powerful as Richie Sambora's rendition. Osmond's take on it is a gem.
Still, "The one thing I don't ever want to do is alienate my fans," he says, as if cautioning himself more than anything else. Reinvention only goes so far.
Born in Ogden, Utah, in 1957, Osmond and his wife, Debra, have been married for 33 years and have five sons and three grandchildren. They maintain a family unit that is rooted in Mormon beliefs.
On his syndicated radio show, for example, Osmond has expressed his belief that singers like Lady Gaga and Beyoncé "go a little too far. They are amazingly talented women, but the shock element [they espouse] will eventually catch up. I just think you're selling out. You don't have to shock people. Being a celebrity doesn't make you a star. Where is Snookie going to be in a few years?"
And Donny? Where will he be then? "I'm not done yet," he says, laughing. "I'll be singing till the day I die."
(Osmond also plays the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, Conn., on Aug. 24 and the NYCB Theater in Westbury, L.I., on Aug. 25.)