Donny's Back, With A Solo Act
by Lauren McLane
August 25, 2011
CARLISLE, Pa. - His career has spanned more than three decades. He has released almost six dozen albums. He has 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, a dancer, a talk-show host, an actor, a former teen idol, and one of the most famous Mormons in America.
Oh, and he's "a little bit rock-and-roll."
Donny Osmond is scheduled to perform his solo act, "Basically Yours - An Evening With Donny Osmond," at Shippensburg University's Luhrs Center on Friday.
"You have to keep reinventing yourself," said the man who went from being a 5-year-old star singing with his brothers to winning the Mirror Ball trophy on ABC's Dancing With the Stars in 2009.
He and his sister, Marie, "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.
A question-and-answer period lets audience members ask him about songs he has done. Then, he performs them.
"If someone asks for a song - boom - we're doing it," Osmond said.
The show is possible because of technology, which allows him to bring his vast catalog 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.
After a short stint on Broadway in the early 1980s, his then-manager devised a plan for Osmond to shed his 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."
Unlike other child celebrities, whose larger-than-life sex, drug, and alcohol scandals often draw more attention than the movies or records they make, Osmond, 53, chose to model his career after stars such as 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.