Donny and Marie: 500 Flamingo Shows; Plus New Contract and Changes
by Robin Leach
March 23, 2011
Donny and Marie Osmond mark tonight’s 500th milestone show with not only a huge candle-covered onstage cake, but also with news of contract extensions and changes to the hit production at the Flamingo. Donny and I talked this morning.
Robin Leach: First of all, congratulations, 500 shows. You must have some memorable highlights since you started?
Donny Osmond: It was September of 2008 with eight test shows at the Hollywood Theater in MGM. We realized, “Wait a minute, we may have something here.” So then we started looking at places to settle down, and as soon as we saw the room at the Flamingo, we thought, “OK, well, this is it.” I instantly called Marie. I said, “You gotta see it, I think I’ve found it.” That’s when we decided that it was going to be our home for six months.
RL: And now the rest of your lives?
DO: This is reminiscent of what I went through with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I signed a six-month contract back in 1992, and it was six years later when I thought, “OK, I have to hang up the loin cloth.” I don’t think I’m going to hang up Marie because I think we’re going to be doing this for a long, long time.
RL: What is the contract status now? You’ve just renewed for two more years?
DO: We’re looking at the end of 2012, but you know, it’s just a piece of paper, and we’ll probably continue for a lot longer. It’s safe to say, as long as they want us, we want them, and everything will work out. We’ve found a wonderful home here. Marie and I are expanding and playing other places, like this summer, we’ll take our holiday break and do the show in Toronto.
Then for the December holidays, we’re going to be in Chicago and Detroit, so we’re going all over. I think it’s great. It all promotes the flagship here at the Flamingo. We go out and do the satellite shows. We always return to Vegas because it is a final destination for people.
RL: Obviously the night you returned from Dancing With the Stars with the mirrored disco ball was a memorable moment?
DO: That was one of the biggest highlights because, as you know, I was doing the TV show and the live Flamingo show nightly at the same time. I think the 100th was also a memorable one. I remember Marie and I looked at each other and said, “We just did 100 shows!” We never thought we’d hit 100. We thought, OK, this is amazing, we’ve hit such a milestone. Now we’re doing No. 500 tonight.
RL: Any wardrobe malfunctions? Ever fall off the stage?
DO: You know I walk on tables, and there have been a couple of nights where I’ve actually fallen off into people’s laps. I think I’ve done that three times now. The night I broke my toe onstage, that was a fun night. That was during Dancing With the Stars, and I had to keep doing both shows with the bad foot!
I also remember one night Marie was doing a quick change for the last number. I go out onstage, and I’m waiting for her, and she’s not showing up. I’m thinking, “We’ve got a problem, I’m not going to be able to perform this by myself because it’s a competition number.” So, I walk off to “quick change” to see what was going on. Her dress zipper had broken, and there was no way to fix it, so I grabbed her anyway and pulled her out onstage, and she danced half dressed! It was the R-rated version of Donny and Marie.
RL: Why did you decide on making changes now at the 500 mark? Or is that just part of keeping the two of you fresh and the show fresh?
DO: Yes, I think it has a lot to do with it, as artists you want to keep challenging yourselves. The show has evolved, obviously. It has its own organic way of evolving, especially because of the dialogue between the two of us. When you change a number, you’re not only changing what we do, but the set changes, as well, the lighting, the computer cues. Everything changes, it’s a big ordeal. Eight or nine songs are being replaced, and the dancers are all excited because we’re learning new routines, too. It’s at least a 75 percent change to the show. Major!
We’re also excited because I think here in the next week, the new building wrap artwork of us goes up, which gives us a whole new promotional campaign along with all the changes we’re doing. The Flamingo itself is going through all kinds of great changes. I love this kind of time. I know you do, too. Everything is in flux. The dust is going to land someday, and it’s going to be the icing on the cake. It’s a very exciting time for me and for Marie, as well. She’s redoing her entire Broadway piece in the show, and they’ve promised me it is going to be a showstopper.
RL: The two of you actually performed on Broadway last Christmas holiday season. You’re set for Toronto and Chicago trips, but does Broadway beckon again?
DO: Oh yeah, we’re looking at the end of 2012 for that.
RL: Donny, you’re 50 years old. Don’t you want to hang up the song and dance shoes and stay home in Provo?
DO: Robin, I’m 53, but I don’t feel like it. This all keeps me young. My wife and I talk about it all the time. She’s like, “Why don’t you act your age?” I feel like I’m in my 30s, but Debbie keeps telling me I still act like I’m in my teens. I love what I do, Robin.
RL: Marie is very happy being a full-time Vegas resident. You’ve got family commitments up in Provo, but do you think about moving here someday to cut down on the commute?
DO: Most definitely. In fact, in another five years, my wife and I will be empty nesters, and we’re thinking about moving wherever we have to move. Wherever the wind takes us. I work here with Marie Tuesday through Saturday. I go back home Friday night and fly back in time for the Saturday show and then back home afterwards. With the plane I have now, I’m home all day Saturday, Sunday, Monday and most of Tuesday. I’m finally living the dream.