Director: Shaun Kerrison
Written by: Shaun Kerrison & Julian Bigg
The Osmonds. If you’d asked me on Monday to name as many Osmonds songs as I could, I’d have struggled to get much further than Donny Osmond’s “Puppy Love”. As someone born in the ’90s, it’s unsurprising to hear that “Osmondmania” hasn’t been a part of my life, so I went into The Osmonds: A New Musical with zero expectations, and having been disappointed by multiple musicals over the years, I wasn’t expecting much at all. How wrong I was…
The Osmonds: A New Musical is a transportation through time following the life and career of The Osmonds, with the story provided by middle brother of the group, Jay Osmond, who, as you’d expect, takes centre stage of the narration of the musical. Beginning with their early successes as a barber shop quartet, the musical follows all of the keynote moments from their career, including hitting the magical 100 million records, signing to Walt Disney, launching the Donny and Marie show and many more.
As someone who’ll admit The Osmonds haven’t been part of my life in any way at all, not only was this night fun and entertaining with a back catalogue of hits I’ll be adding to playlists, but it was a genuine education and I found myself more engaged with the story than any other musical I’ve seen before. Told from the perspective of Jay, at time it felt slightly biased towards his particular level of fame and influence; whether this was factually accurate or simply an egotistical move by Jay himself we may never know, but the writing of The Osmonds from this singular perspective, actually contributed to the telling of the story in a personal way which was excellent.
I’m not going to delve into the plot and story in this review; many of my readers are from the same generation as me and are therefore unlikely to know of “Osmondmania” and the story of The Osmonds, so I wouldn’t want to talk you through the plot, just go and see it and be and feel as educated as I did.
For a show of almost three hours, writers Kerrison and Bigg do a phenomenal job of moving the show on at a great pace. Rather than the music telling the story, the narrative interludes keep the musical ticking and the songs are left to shine on their own without being shoehorned into the story line. This didn’t feel like a story that we’re used to on stage, it was rather a biographical musical of The Osmonds and at times a full blown Osmonds concert which made for maximum entertainment without being gimmicky.
The cast were superb; from the children portraying the young Osmonds, through to Jay Osmond (Alex Lodge) who kept the show ticking, there were real strengths across the pack. Each of the brothers had a different, unique vocal which made the songs dynamic and almost breathed some new life into the 60s and 70s tracks. It was this that made The Osmonds: A New Musical, really stand out for me. The writing is brilliant, the casting was spot on, the storytelling is great, but the music took centre stage; hit after hit came and went, and all of the Osmond brothers as well as Marie (Georgia Lennon) performed them with ease and assurance.
Within three hours, I felt like I’d experienced the entirety of what “Osmondmania” meant to the world and to individuals who were fans. Colour, fun, entertainment (lots of entertainment), talent, but above all great music. There were times where us non-Osmonds didn’t get certain quips or understand some references, but generally, this was a fun night, and a night I’d do again. Osmond fan or not, The Osmonds: A New Musical is made for everyone to just go and have a great time.
The Osmonds: A New Musical is in York at the Grand Opera House until Saturdya 6th August – tickets can be purchased from the Box Office or online. Find out where The Osmonds: A New Musical is touring and book for your nearest town or city here: https://theosmondsmusical.co.uk/