Donny Osmond By Request At Shippensburg University
by Lauren McLane
August 24, 2011
Donny Osmond is scheduled to start the 2011-2012 concert series at the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center in Shippensburg. Osmond will perform his solo act, "Basically Yours," on Friday, Aug. 26.
His career has spanned more than three decades. He's released almost six dozen albums. He's appeared on TV shows ranging from the mid-'60s variety program "The Andy Williams Show" to the reality TV juggernaut "Dancing With the Stars."
He is a singer, dancer, talk show host, actor, former teen idol and one of the most famous Mormons in America.
Oh, and he's "a little bit rock 'n' roll."
Donny Osmond will be performing his solo act, "Basically Yours - An Evening with Donny Osmond," at Shippensburg University's Luhrs Center Friday, Aug. 26.
"You have to keep reinventing yourself," said the man who went from being a 5-year-old child star singing with his brothers to winning the Mirror Ball trophy on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" in fall 2009.
"Marie and I have a show at the Flamingo in Las Vegas and we do a meet-and-greet afterward and this little 10-year-old boy who had seen me on ‘Dancing With the Stars,' came up and as he got closer and closer to the front of the line, you could see him getting more excited and when I met him, he said, ‘Mr. Osmond, I didn't know you could SING, too!,'" Osmond recounted, laughing.
The show he's bringing to Shippensburg is "different than anything I've ever done," he said.
Although it has a structure, there is a question-and-answer period built in, at which point audience members can ask him about songs he's done and he will perform them.
"If someone asks for a song, boom!, we're doing it," he said. The show is possible because of technology, which allows him to bring his vast catalogue and repertoire of music and video clips.
"I'll actually have all the videos, the music. The other night, someone asked about the video I did with ‘Weird Al' Yankovic -- ‘White and Nerdy' -- and boom! we had it up on the screen," he said.
"This is fun for me as an entertainer. I like to do things that haven't been done before, something that challenges me," he said.
At his Shippensburg show, he's going to do something he truly never has done before.
"I'm going to delve into something I never thought I'd do, go to a place I never went before," he said.
In 1982, after the "Donny & Marie Show" ended, he went to Broadway "determined to be a Broadway star," he said by way of setting up the story.
He opened and closed the show, "Little Johnny Jones" at the Alvin (now Neil Simon) Theater -- in the same night.
"In my basement, I have a box with all the reviews," he said. "I'm going to read them for the first time since 1982."
"That was what got me started reinventing myself. Failures are so important for success -- failures are the impetus for success," he said.
After his short-lived stint on Broadway, his then-manager devised a plan for Osmond to shed his wholesome, good-boy image.
"There was this whole plan for me to get busted for drugs," he explained. "It would have worked, too. We were going to go through an airport, have my baggage searched. It would have made headlines, but it would have been horrendous. I'd still be dealing with the fallout, I'd still be living it down," he said.
Unlike other child celebrities, whose larger-than-life sex, drugs and alcohol scandals often draw more attention than the movies or records they make, Osmond chose to model his career after stars like Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra.
"They stuck to their music. There are not a lot of ‘stars.' It's easy to become a ‘celebrity,' but it's not easy to become a ‘star,'" he said.
His solo show allows him to "stretch as an artist," he said.
The ability to do something different is crucial, he said.
"Otherwise, you become very stale. The key to longevity is to jump around, do different things, give the audience something new," Osmond said.
The decision to go on ‘Dancing With The Stars" was driven in part by the fact that his sister Marie had competed in a previous season and finished third.
"I had to do better than third, or she'd never let me hear the end of it for the rest of my life," Osmond said with a laugh.
The night he and professional partner Kym Johnson won the competition, he said, he was dancing with a broken toe and a broken rib -- injuries he did not disclose prior to winning because he "didn't want the sympathy vote."
The entire Osmond family are devout members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Osmond has publicly spoken about his faith and his beliefs before.
"I disregard the negative," he said, "because 100 percent of the time, when people read about the tenets of the church, they find it's totally different" than what they thought.
Osmond and sister Marie were credited with introducing main-stream America to Mormonism in the mid-'70s.
"It's unbelievable how many myths are out there," he added. One that he encountered years ago in Sweden was that a man who wished to marry a woman had to take her up to the top of the temple in Salt Lake City and she had to jump off and if she was able to land in the Great Salt Lake, she was worthy of marriage.
"The Great Salt Lake is about 30 miles from the temple," he said, laughing.