The Osmond Brothers
The Osmond Brothers grew up under a microscope. As they’ve gone from cute mini-men, singing and dancing in pint-sized tuxedos, to teen idols, then fathers and family men—and now, in some cases, grandfathers—they have kept up a high standard of quality entertainment.
Sure, they have that built-in harmony as only brothers can have, and smiles that have probably made the family dentist very rich, but these guys have more than that—talent that hasn’t dimmed in more than 50 years.
You can call them “wholesome to a fault,” “too goodie, goodie” or what you will, but you can also call them alive and working, unlike many other dysfunctional family acts who flamed bright and burned out.
It was brothers Alan, Merrill, Wayne and Jay who started performing at Disneyland as the Osmond Brothers Quartet. Brother Donny joined them for the Andy Williams’ TV show in the ‘60s—and from that, on to fame.
They enjoyed stellar recording success (their 1971 combined sales from the Osmond Brothers’ and Donny Osmond releases garnished nine gold records—a total that exceeds the Beatles’ and Elvis’ highest single year collection of gold discs). And they enjoyed filling major showrooms and clubs at every stop during their “Osmond-mania” days at the height of their popularity.
Youngest brother Jimmy had gone a different route, creating his own career as a solo artist, mainly in Japan. He also developed his own production company and produced several commercials and shows for TV.
In 1992, along with his brothers, sans Donny, Jimmy opened their Osmond Family Theater in Branson, Missouri, and began a run as one of that Ozark town’s most successful acts.
To solidify their place in the entertainment world, the Osmond Family, including sister Marie, received their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003.
Today, it is Wayne, Merrill and Jimmy who return as The Osmond Brothers to perform at the Riverside Resort, Wednesday-Saturday, February 5-8.
The following are some snippets of conversations we’ve had with Jay Osmond and Jimmy Osmond in past appearances at the Riverside….
Jay Osmond: The brothers are like a label, a franchise or a sports team. You’re out there promoting that brand so that people will buy you collectively. To separate yourself from that is difficult. Many entertainers struggle with that. Sometimes they identify themselves according to what people say about them—and you can’t do that.
Jay Osmond: Our faith helps us to remember the kind of people we want to be.
Jimmy Osmond: No matter what happened in our family—in hard times, tragedy and success—the whole bunch of us still pulled together. We’re the best of friends. We didn’t have that many other people in our lives emotionally but we have each other. Jimmy’s been an idiot; Donny’s been an idiot; Marie has been an idiot. But we’ve all had each other to say, “knock it off.”
We fight, of course—actually, we could strangle each other sometimes. But there’s nobody I’d rather work with or fight for. We’re still happy with the challenge of making a living together and we all have our egos in check.
We’ve worked well together for so long that when we banter back and forth, we know where we’re going. I prefer performing with my brothers more than anything.
Jimmy Osmond: A lot of entertainers get all these “so-called friends” who think everything you say is funny—but you’re the only one buying dinner. You start to lose your perspective. You look at yourself in the mirror and all you think about is you. It screws you up—and there’s no way not to be screwed up by the nature of this business.
Jay Osmond: We’ve been around the block many times together and what’s fun is to look into the audience and see people who have followed us throughout the years.
During our whole career there was always the pressure to be perfect, now it’s more about having fun. We get more involved with the audience than we used to. Our music isn’t just for us, it’s for them. It’s rewarding when we talk with people after the show and they tell us, “your songs helped me through some rough times.”
Jimmy Osmond: It’s important to take time to say hi and sign whatever people want you to sign. It’s a huge compliment. When performers dismiss fans after they bought the ticket, I’m blown away. I don’t get that.
Jimmy Osmond: I used to have three theaters in Missouri. I was lucky to sell them before the change in the economy. I was down to one theater, then this cowboy comes in and offers to buy it—this unknown guy and he paid cash. I thought, I must be doing something right because there are quite a few theaters available in town and mine wasn’t even for sale. But, location, location, location.
Calling it a career?
Jay Osmond: I don’t know how long we will be performing together. We take it year by year. Every year when we go over our schedule we ask ourselves, “do we want to go or not,” so I don’t know how much longer we’ll continue to do this. That’s why I’m having so much fun. We’ve pretty much done what we wanted on the bucket list so who knows, maybe in five or 10 years, we’ll stop.
The live show…
Jay Osmond: We’ve taken material from throughout our career—over 55 years—from when we were with Walt Disney, Andy Williams and Jerry Lewis. We have a lot of video in the show that helps us take people on a journey from the beginning
Jimmy Osmond: One of the segments we’ve done in our shows that gets great response is when we do a “brothers medley.” We start with the Mills Brothers, then the Everly Brothers, the Blues Brothers, coming through the Jackson Five, the Bee Gees and end with the Osmonds. It’s fun. It takes you clear back and gets everyone singing songs they know.
We always have fun with crowds, wherever we go. And it’s fun to be involved in a show like this and hopefully help those in the audience remember an easier day.
To me, every show is an investment. There’s no such thing as paid dues. You pay during each and every performance. You give it all you have or else no one cares to see you next time. It’s why we’ve stayed around.
Jimmy Osmond: Growing up in ‘the business’ you get to know a lot of other child stars. Some of them get freaked out by the public. They’re arrogant and resent the public. I don’t understand why they’re so victimized by it. It blows my mind. I’ve always been treated nicely by people and I enjoy talking to them and listening to them. It’s good for me to deal with the public. It’s healthy to learn from it. It’s a great reality check. As a performer, it’s easy to get into that bubble that “all’s well” when in reality it’s not.
THE OSMOND BROTHERS
Riverside Resort, Don’s Celebrity Theatre
Wednesday-Saturday, February 5-8. 7 p.m. (See Showtimes for tickets)