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Having A Party!

The Osmonds: A New Musical tells the remarkable story of five brothers who became one of the world’s most famous boybands. Jay Osmond and choreographer Bill Deamer reveal what audiences can expect from the brand-new show when it tours to the Midlands...

“I wrote it from the heart,” says Jay Osmond of his touring stage show, The Osmonds: A New Musical, which he calls ‘a living memoir’. “It was hard. I had to play my drums a lot to get my emotions out, but it all boiled down to this: why did we do what we did? It was because we wanted to help people. 

“I wanted to put that purpose into the show. I think you can do almost anything in life if you have a purpose.”

The Osmonds were Mormon brothers from Utah who started off in the 1960s as a barbershop quartet. They went on to become one of the most famous pop groups in history, earning more than 50 gold and platinum records, winning dozens of awards and selling millions of albums worldwide.  Hit singles included One Bad Apple, Crazy Horses and Love Me For A Reason.

The Osmonds: A New Musical is choreographed by Bill Deamer, who’s been working hard to recreate the group’s famous dance moves. The Osmonds were renowned for their slick performances and have previously revealed that the karate moves in their routines were learned first-hand from Chuck Norris. Bill wants to make sure the new show pays homage to the brothers’ unique style.

“The Osmonds are of a particular time,” he says. “I’ve done so much research on them, and the ’70s and ’80s really was a time of change in music. It was such a fun period, and The Osmonds have a few trademark dance steps and their own specific style of movement, which I've incorporated into fresh choreography.”

Although the group’s heyday was way back in the 1970s, Bill promises the new musical will have a broad appeal: “I’m paying homage to The Osmonds’ style while making it accessible to a new audience. The numbers are very dynamic and very strong, and that's going to appeal to younger people. It’s so important that we introduce this story to a new generation.”

The musical begins with the group’s 50th anniversary, before going right back to their days as children in Utah. The four original members of the barbershop quartet - Jay, Alan, Wayne and Merrill - started singing for local audiences to fund hearing aids for their two older brothers, Virl and Tom. 

In 1962, the brothers performed on television’s The Andy Williams Show for the first time. Their regular appearances on the  programme earned them global fame. In the years that followed, four became five with the addition of youngest brother and teen heartthrob Donny. The Osmonds enjoyed smash hit after smash hit, performed sell-out arena concerts and made record-breaking TV shows. But one bad decision cost them millions. 

Jay was just seven years old when the group made their first appearance.

“Each of us has a different perspective, and this show is very much from my own,” he says. “Hard times, fun times, why we did what we did and how we did it as a family.”

The Osmonds have been pop royalty for over 50 years, and Bill explains that while condensing the story into a couple of hours has been no mean feat, the production stays faithful to the lives of the brothers.

“It’s a feelgood show and pure fun, but it has a serious story and is magnificently moving at points. From being millionaires, they lost almost everything, but because of their faith and their love for each other, they paid off their debts and they carried on.

“I want our audiences to come away thinking what a fun period that was, what great music, and what lives those boys have led and are still leading.”

And let’s not forget the ’70s fashion, which Jay promises will be much in evidence in the show: “When I look back at some of the things we wore - wow! But hey, it was the 1970s and we all wore crazy stuff. I can’t wait for people to see the costumes in this show.”

Despite the exclusively Osmond brothers soundtrack, Bill maintains that the show is no jukebox musical: “This is a musical story with fantastic musical numbers, but at the same time, you’re following the incredible achievements of the boys.

“The songs link in, so as each number finishes, you carry on the movement into the next scene and the dialogue. That’s what makes it work for me.”

Featuring more than 30 of The Osmonds’ greatest hits and a 15-minute singing and dancing finale, The Osmonds: A New Musical is a singalong affair full of energy and rich in spectacle.

“Now is the perfect time to go and see a feelgood show,” says Bill. “We want people to be able to get up, dance and enjoy it.

“We’ve got children in the musical who play the young Osmonds, and when we’re in rehearsals, the chaperones look on in amazement. It’s quite emotional for those of an age who can remember watching

The Osmonds, so we’re touching hearts already. That’s what The Osmonds did; they touched people’s hearts with their songs and their total sincerity.”

And touching people’s hearts is all that Jay is asking of his new musical: “I want people to walk out of the theatre feeling lifted and excited about life. That’s my goal. We’ve been blessed with people who’ve loved our music, and I want them to know how much they’ve helped me and my family. It will feel like a high school reunion when they come to the show!”

The Osmonds: A New Musical shows at: Wolverhampton Grand Theatre from Tues 15 - Sat 19 MarchRegent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, Tues 5 - Sat 9 April; and The Alexandra, Birmingham, Tues 25 - Sat 29 October