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Donny Osmond Plans Career-Spanning Performance Wednesday At Oakdale
Hartford Courant
by Eric R. Danton
August 23, 2011

Submitted by Diane Leigh

After a career spanning nearly half a century of gold-selling albums, co-hosting TV shows, stints on Broadway, performing in Las Vegas for four years and counting, winning "Dancing With the Stars" and collaborating with "Weird Al" Yankovic, it would seem Donny Osmond has done it all.

Not quite, he says, before opening a short solo tour that stops Wednesday in Wallingford.

"There are things I want to do in this show that I never thought that I would do," Osmond says from home in Utah.

For example?

"Back in 1982, I did a show on Broadway where I opened and closed on the same night," Osmond says, referring to "Little Johnny Jones." "It was devastating, and it took me years to get over it. I have a box in the basement of reviews that I've never actually opened, and on the 24th, I'm going to read them for the first time."

There will be more to the show than self-humiliation, though. Osmond promises as much spontaneity as he can muster, with help from three well-seasoned musicians who perform with him and his sister, Marie, as part of their show in Las Vegas.

"Obviously there's a structure for a show: You have to have a beginning, a middle and an end. But what happens in the middle will be whatever the audience wants to hear," he says.

Or, for that matter, whatever the audience wants to see. He'll have a laptop loaded with video clips spanning his career.

"So many things are at our fingertips that we didn't have access to before," he says. "Let's say somebody says, 'Hey, do you remember that video you did with 'Weird Al,' 'White and Nerdy?' Boom, there it is on the screen."

There's a lot to choose from. Osmond, 53, was a teen idol in the '70s, when he scored five top-10 singles, including "Puppy Love" and "Go Away Little Girl." He also released albums with his sister, with whom he co-hosted "The Donny & Marie Show" from 1976-79. In the '80s, Osmond managed to shed the teen idol image, auditioning for Jeff Beck's band and working with Peter Gabriel, resulting in a No. 2 hit with the 1989 single "Soldier of Love."

Osmond anchored a talk show with sister Marie in the '90s, and then hosted game shows in the 2000s, while releasing occasional albums and, in 2009, competing on — and winning — the ninth season of "Dancing With the Stars."

His versatility is a big part of why he's had a lasting career, Osmond says.

"It's vitally important, because you don't want to get stuck in a pigeonhole," he says. "You're going to be, anyway, but success has a tendency to bite you in the shorts."

Having a sense of humor about yourself doesn't hurt, either — to a point.

"There's a fine line there, isn't there?" Osmond says. "David Hasselhoff was at our show the other night, and there's a person who went too far in poking fun at himself. He doesn't take himself seriously, so nobody else does either."

Part of the idea of these solo shows, Osmond says, is to joke with the audience in between demonstrating his serious side as a performer who has over the years shown an ability to transform without ever losing his sense of identity.

"I'm so grateful that I've been able to survive it," he says. "I came out the other end. I've got some scars, obviously, but that's what this show is about, to show some scars, because they went through it with me. They've got scars, too."

DONNY OSMOND performs Wednesday at Toyota Presents Oakdale Theatre, 95 S. Turnpike Road, Wallingford. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show are $84.25, $62.50 and $41.50, including service fees.



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