Osmond’s bumps brought a smoother ride

On the Stage

His auto­bi­o­graphy is titled Life Is Just What You Make It, and ac­cord­ing to Donny Os­mond, the title couldn’t be more ap­pro­pri­ate.

“Es­pe­cially as I look back,” said Os­mond, 53, former teen idol and the most re­cog­niz­able Os­mond broth­er, who is set to per­form Sat­urday, Aug. 27, at the Mu­sic Box at the Bor­gata in At­lantic City.

“I see a lot of artists who be­come self-de­feated if they fail at something,” he said. “Of­ten, they don’t know what to do if their ca­reers fal­ter. They rest on past laurels. But you’ve got to look for­ward, and the only way to do that is pick your­self up, lick your wounds and keep on go­ing. I think you’ll find those wounds be­come as­sets even­tu­ally.”

And Os­mond should know. In the busi­ness since he was 5, Os­mond sold more than 80 mil­lion re­cords over five dec­ades and has re­ceived 33 gold re­cords, 18 of them be­fore the age of 13. But in 1982, he said, he ex­per­i­enced the worst fail­ure in his life

“I opened and closed on Broad­way in one night, in a show called Little Johnny Jones,” Os­mond re­called.

“That fail­ure marked the bot­tom of my ca­reer but it also helped make me what I am today be­cause I was able to look back and say that’s the mo­ment I real­ized I was not work­ing to my true po­ten­tial. That’s the mo­ment I knew I had to re­in­vent my­self and not rest on past laurels, and I began the climb up the lad­der to some amaz­ing suc­cesses.”

Help­ing in that climb was Eng­lish rock­er Peter Gab­ri­el. Un­der Gab­ri­el’s tu­tel­age, a rugged, edgi­er Os­mond emerged from near ob­scur­ity with the hit Sol­dier of Love. That single went to the top of the Bill­board charts and garnered Os­mond Bill­board magazine’s “Top Pop Male Artist of the Year.” The former teenybop­per con­tin­ued to prove his ver­sat­il­ity with hits like My Love is a Fire and Sac­red Emo­tion.

He also went on to re­deem him­self with what he said was one of his greatest achieve­ments. In the early ’90s, Os­mond played the title role in the North Amer­ic­an pro­duc­tion of Sir An­drew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s mu­sic­al Joseph and the Amaz­ing Tech­nicol­or Dream­coat. Os­mond fi­nally re­tired his col­or coat after more than 2,000 per­form­ances.

Today, the man of many tal­ents — sing­er, act­or, talk-show host, game-show host and win­ner of Dan­cing With the Stars in 2009  — said he’s en­joy­ing every fa­cet of his ca­reer.

The sev­enth of nine chil­dren — eight boys and one girl named Mar­ie — Os­mond per­forms at the Las Ve­gas Flamingo Hotel with his sis­ter, and has taken time off to do this show at the Bor­gata and a few oth­ers ven­ues as well. Titled Ba­sic­ally Yours, Os­mond ex­plained that the show is un­like any that he’s done be­fore.

“It’s a very lim­ited tour where I bring just three mu­si­cians with me, so it’s just the four of us up on stage and a big com­puter screen be­hind us,” he said. “I’ll be hav­ing a Q&A with the audi­ence, and, for the most part, the an­swer I give will come up on the screen.”

For ex­ample, he con­tin­ued, “If they ask me what my fa­vor­ite dance is, BOOM — it’ll show them the an­swer with me dan­cing up on the screen. If they ask wheth­er I re­mem­ber work­ing with Lu­cille Ball, BOOM — it’ll show the two of us right there on the screen. Since this is the first show of its kind for me, it’s a little scary, but very ex­cit­ing.”

Os­mond es­pe­cially en­joys be­ing in front of an audi­ence. “I do en­joy ra­dio, tele­vi­sion, re­cord­ing, mak­ing movies. But un­til you get out in front of a live audi­ence, you nev­er really put your tal­ent to the test.” ••

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