Interview: Donny Osmond Marks 60 Years in Show Business With New Concert Tour

Plus, he gives a preview of his upcoming turn as the Pharaoh in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

How do you celebrate your 60th anniversary in show business? Music icon Donny Osmond is doing it with a summertime concert tour. Now ongoing, with upcoming stops in Boston, Hershey, Atlantic City, Manhattan (July 12), and dozens of other cities across the country, Osmond’s new show comes directly from its Las Vegas home, and he’s thrilled to be doing it.

Osmond is never not busy — he’s gearing up for a return to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat this December in Scotland (as the Pharaoh this time) — but he found the time to give us a call to talk about it all.

Donny Osmond Headshot
Donny Osmond
(handout image)

This conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Tell me about this new tour.
Well, it’s 46 cities in about two months and it’s not a pared-down show. It’s the full Las Vegas production. I’m bringing the whole kit and caboodle: the full lot of eight dancers, the band, the full video production. A lot of people have said that this could be a Broadway musical, and when you think about it, it’s six decades of show business in a two-hour show. Do you know a guy by the name of Raj Kapoor?

Your director.
He’s the go-to guy if you want an amazing show. He’s done the Oscars and the Grammys. I called him up and I was able to get his talent for an entire year during Covid and we put up this show together. If you’re familiar with the show So You Think You Can Dance, NappyTabs choreographed our show. I got the best of the best. Without trying to overstate things, it really is my ultimate show, because it’s everything I’ve ever done.

With that in mind, how do you settle on a song list?
I try to go through all the hits. Our time constraint for the Las Vegas is 90 minutes, but on this tour, I don’t have any time constraints so I can expand it as much as I want. I came up with this concept of doing something I call “by request.” It lasts as long as it lasts, whatever feels good, and I put all 65 albums that I’ve done on the huge screen behind me and the audience at that time can pick any song I’ve ever recorded. So, the show changes every night.

No pressure whatsoever.
No pressure at all! And then I said to Raj that I wanted to do a rap of my entire life. I don’t know if you’ve ever YouTubed this, but it’s a 10-minute rap about everything I’ve done and it’s become a fan favorite. I have a funny story. When I first did it on opening night, I thought the audience was really gonna love it. I’m up there, and it all began back in Utah, I was 4 years old, and I’m thinking to myself, “This is getting cut because I am bombing up here.” Until the very end, when the place went crazy. I realized that it’s so much information, it’s almost data overload, and the audience doesn’t have time to react. It was really interesting.

And then there’s Mulan, I had to do the Captain Shang song “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.” I got permission from Disney to utilize the film in this production, so that’s amazing.

You’re also going back to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat this Christmas, but as the Pharaoh. How did that come about?
I was doing a show in London a couple of years ago and Andrew Lloyd Webber came backstage, and we discussed it a little bit peripherally. And I thought, “OK, that’s the end of that.” He calls me a few months ago and says, “How would you like to play the Pharaoh in Scotland?” And I said, “Lock it in.” That’s where they debuted Joseph in the first place back in 1979. And this week I’m having my first Zoom call with the director. I have to tell you, can you imagine? The juxtaposition of me as the Pharaoh standing next to whoever Joseph is going to be? It’s going to be phenomenal.

And of course you do Joseph on this tour.
My favorite part of this tour is actually when I do “Close Every Door” from Joseph. There’s a note at the very end. When I started doing this show, Phil Reno, my conductor, came to me and said, “Donny, you better take that note out because Andrew Lloyd Webber is gonna be at the show tonight.” Because Andrew wants it sung exactly the way he wrote it. He’s very strict on that. I considered it and during the song, I did it. I went for it and nailed the note. He comes to my dressing room, quite serious, and he says, “That note at the end of ‘Close Every Door’ — and I thought, ‘Oh, boy.’ He says, ‘I did not write that note into the score, but I loved it. So you can keep it.'” [laughs]

I try not to sound overzealous about the show because I don’t want to sound like I’m overhyping it, but I’m just so proud of it. I handpicked every single one of the dancers and they’re working their butts off. We’re giving 110 percent. I can hardly wait to bring it to New York.