By Victoria L. Dammer
The Mayo Performing Art Center (MPAC) was transformed into a Las Vegas stage as Donny Osmond, one of the most exceptional entertainers of our generation, sang, danced, and reminisced about his career spanning six decades.
Multiple costume changes, one more sparkling than the last, adorned Osmond and his entourage of female and male dancers, and his never-ending physicality was in view for an electrifying 90-minute show. The sold-out audience can attest to his Dancing With The Stars win as well-deserved.
His MPAC bio states – “Donny Osmond has been a singer, actor, triple-threat television host (talk show, game show, variety show), best-selling author (his autobiography entered the UK bestseller chart at #1), commercial spokesperson, motivational speaker, and even a racecar driver.” Did someone forget to include he’s gorgeous, a worldwide sensation selling over 100 million records, and still a heartthrob in his 60s?
He opened with his 1988 comeback hit Soldier of Love from the album entitled Donny Osmond, which reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1989. He transitioned into another hit single from the same album, Sacred Emotion, with the entire audience standing and clapping.
The astonishing iTunes chart-topping song Who, from his 2021 65th album release Start Again, showcased what every Osmond fan knows; he is a charismatic chameleon who doesn’t disappoint as he transitions through music from several genres with his unforgettable resonant voice.
Osmond had the audience laughing as he said, “There’s always one song that all performers have, and I guess this one is mine.” Everyone got the chance to sing and sway to Puppy Love. Some of us remembered who our first love was, and others said it was Osmond himself. Debra Kirwan from Florham Park remembers kissing his poster; Maria S. from Clifton still has his lunchbox from 1st grade. That’s love and genuine fan appreciation.
With the benefit of onstage video screens, Osmond shared priceless moments from his career and a montage of covers from his 65 albums. He sang I’ll Make A Man Out of You from the movie Mulan and showed a clip of him singing Go Away Little Girl 52 years ago. In a heartbreaking moment, he sang What You Won’t Do For Love, written in 1978 by singer/songwriter Bobby Caldwell, as a tribute to Bobby’s widow Mary, who was in the audience.
Osmond opened the audience to a request segment, which caused quite a frenzy. Hey Girl and One Bad Apple, initially planned for The Jackson Five but recorded by The Osmonds, were two of the requests.
But the most astonishing event happened when Osmond brought local Julia Bonadonna on stage and performed a duet of Any Dream Will Do from Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Osmond starred in the long-running theater and film version of the sung-through musical. Bonadonna was a natural, showing no stage fright throughout the unrehearsed performance despite being close to the dynamic star. She looked sensational in rhinestone-bedecked bellbottoms and, besides Osmond and his music, was the star of the evening.
Through the magic of technology, Osmond played a video-clip tribute to his sister Marie, with whom he shared the stage for 11 years at The Flamingo in Las Vegas. They also starred in their sitcom, The Donny and Marie Show, from 1976 to 1979. The love between the two runs deep.
The audience wouldn’t have objected to another 90 minutes of the stunning talent of Donny Osmond as he wrapped up with a glitzy song and dance Vegas-style extravaganza, ending his concert no one will forget.
Donny Osmond is now touring throughout the U.S. and in residence at Harrah’s Las Vegas.
The Mayo Performing Art Center, 100 South Street, Morristown, NJ 07960. Tickets to events are available at The Official Ticketing Site of Mayo Performing Arts Center | Mayo Performing Arts Center (mayoarts.org)