Donny Osmond has been in the public eye since he first appeared on “The Andy Williams Show” at the tender age of 5 with his older brothers.
He survived the frenziness of the Osmond Brothers during the 1960s. And by the time he was “a little bit rock ‘n’ roll” alongside younger sister Marie in the late 1970s, Donny was a bona fide star.
His career has had its share of ups and downs — right now it’s up — and it’s that journey he wants to share with his longtime fans in his new concert, “Basically Yours.”
Osmond, 53, will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26, at the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center on the campus of Shippensburg University.
Although Osmond has worn his share of hats during his career — rock star, Broadway star, TV talk show host, radio show host, Las Vegas star — the “Basically Yours” concert format is something new.
“I’ve never done a show like this before and that’s what’s very exciting about it,” he said during a telephone from Las Vegas hours before he and Marie were to perform their show at the Flamingo Showroom.
Osmond said what’s so different about this concert tour compared to other concerts is that he promises it will be different every night because of audience participation.
“If they want to hear a song, I’m going to do it,” he said.
Osmond said it will hit all of the senses. He said there are going to be “a lot of stories, a lot of music, a lot of laughs, a lot of memories.
Still finding the music
“Basically Yours” tour shares the name of Osmond’s latest album, his 18th solo project. One of the songs featured on the album is “One Dream,” which he wrote with singer-songwriter and pianist Jim Brickman.
“I was doing a tour with him and I woke up with this chorus in my mind, and I called Jim in his room. I woke him up and said, ‘I have a song in my mind.’ He said, ‘Let’s go write it.’”
The two found a Yamaha piano dealer shop near Birmingham, Ala., where the owners allowed the two to have the back room to write.
“Sometimes songs write themselves and this was the perfect example of this song writing itself,” he says.
Although Osmond submitted the song for the 2002 Olympics, it never went anywhere. Instead, he kept the song and added it to this album. However for some lucky Donnydotcommers (fans of Osmond’s site, Donny.com), “One Dream” became their own dream.
In July, Osmond hosted his annual Donny.com Get Together in Las Vegas where Donnydotcommers were flown from all over the to Las Vegas for a three-day event, which included a flash mob and a chance to sing with Donny.
Osmond said each one went into a recording booth to sing “One Dream.” The result will be a video of the song with the fans sharing the same screen as their idol.
“There is going to be hundreds of Donnydotcommers on the screen singing my song with me,” he said. “It’s going to be so fun.”
The past and the future
With “Basically Yours,” Osmond said he wants it not to be a concert, per se, but a journey.
He said one of the best pieces of advice he received about entertainment came from the late Steven Pimlott who directed him in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
“He told me something that changed my perspective on entertaining completely and that is ‘The theater is where people come to dream in public and you’re in charge of the dream.’”
Osmond said he took Pimlott’s advice seriously.
“‘Basically Yours’ is going to be a journey not just for me but for the audience, because many of those audience members have taken that journey with me,” he said.
He said he’s taking the audience back to the beginning including his highs and lows. He said he can’t talk about the incredible highs — his success on Broadway with “Joseph,” the TV shows, the record number of albums — without talking about the lows — such as his failure on Broadway in “Little Johnny Jones,” the financial ruin of his family in the 1980s and having to rebuild, and his social anxiety disorder.
“I’m going to tell them what it did for me,” he said. “It’s going to be an emotional journey and an entertaining one, hopefully, at that.”
With the opportunities given to him over the years, Osmond could have easily been starring on “Celebrity Rehab” instead of the Las Vegas strip if he hadn’t made a conscious effort early on not to follow temptation.
To find balance, Osmond said everything in his life is planned down to the minute.
“It has to be or my business would take over my life,” he said. “I’ve seen way too many entertainers destroy their personal lives because they’ve got (access to) too many great professional opportunities.”
That means that sometimes, Osmond has to say no. He also makes a point to commute to Las Vegas from Utah.
“It makes it a little bit more difficult,” he said, “but I don’t want to take my kids away from their friends, and my wife has her friends in the community, plus she takes care of her dad.”
He said he has a radio booth in his dressing room in Vegas, which allows him to do one show before going on for another.
“It’s a very busy life,” he said, “but when I go home I leave the work at the office, as they say.”
Osmond said he makes sure his family is first.
“I have been around entertainers every since I was born, basically, and I’ve seen people make mistakes, and I don’t want to make those mistakes,” he said. “I’ve got a marriage. I want to hold onto it. I’ve got a great family. I want to hold onto it. Because someday the curtain closes.”
And pushing 54, Osmond admits he thought the curtain would have closed by now.
“You’ve got to be careful not to let go of the most precious things in life for a temporary fix,” he said. “Because the curtain will definitely come down permanently one day, but I’m still going to be a father, a husband, a grandfather. Those don’t go away. Those are the real things in life.”
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