The Osmonds Tour Production Photos – Photo credit: Pamela Raith
Through the mid-seventies the Osmonds were a force to be reckoned with, selling out vast arenas, appearing on numerous television shows and topping the album and singles charts. Like many teenagers of my generation, I was a massive Osmonds fan. As a 12-year-old, the first record I ever bought was Paper Roses by Marie Osmond, so you can imagine my delight when we were invited to the press night of The Osmonds – A New Musical at our favourite local theatre The Alexandra in Birmingham.
Written by Jay Osmond (the story is told from Jay’s point of view) and Director Shaun Kerrison, The Osmonds is a new jukebox musical that tells the official true story of the five brothers from Utah and their rise and fall from fame. From child stars appearing as regular guests on the Andy Williams television show to the 1970s creating hit single after hit single. It appeared that everything the Osmonds touched turned to gold until one bad business decision cost the family everything leading to bankruptcy and obscurity.
All the best-known songs are performed as musical numbers seen as part of a concert or television appearance. Bill Deamer’s choreography recreates the bands signature dance routines perfectly and all were delivered with energy and enthusiasm by the talented cast. Lucy Osborne’s set and costume design transports the viewer into the 1970s. Jay (the excellent Alex Lodge) acts as the narrator, appearing in-between musical numbers delivering his family’s story to the audience. The viewer discovers that the family were managed by a dominant father whose military background meant the family were controlled from a young age, with no say in their work schedules and were often being woken at 4.30 in the morning to practice. The fathers mantra of “It doesn’t matter who’s in front as long as it’s an Osmond”, for me is quite sinister and expresses the pressure and expectation that was loaded on to very young shoulders. Towards the end of the musical the audience gets an idea of the tension this mantra caused between the family.
The five men cast as the Osmond brothers have great chemistry with each other; Ryan Anderson (Merrill), Jamie Chatterton (Alan), Alex Lodge (Jay), Danny Nattrass (Wayne) and Tristan Whincup (Donny). All deliver performances that are full of fun and nostalgia. Occasionally you see a performance in a musical that sticks in your memory and for me this happened when Georgia Lennon (Marie) sang Paper Roses. Her voice is pure country and suited the song so well that it just brought me to tears. With it’s back catalogue of familiar songs, quality performances from a talented cast, The Osmonds – A New Musical is a feel good, energetic, nostalgic piece of theatre, that this viewer thoroughly enjoyed. From the reaction of the Tuesday night audience at the Alexandra Theatre I was not alone in this opinion.
The Osmonds – A New Musical is at the Alexandra Theatre Birmingham from the 25th to 29th October when it continues on it’s national tour.
We say: “The Osmonds – A New Musical is a feel good, energetic, nostalgic piece of theatre.”