Finding the family behind the music

MENTION The Osmonds to anyone of a certain age and they will immediately think of Crazy Horses, Love Me for a Reason, Puppy Love and, probably, Long Haired Lover from Liverpool.

The clean-cut American family band had hit after hit in the 1970s, many as a group as well as several solo outings from Donny, Marie and “Little Jimmy”.

Danny Nattrass, Alex Lodge, Ryan Anderson, Jamie Chatterton and Joseph Peacock as The Osmonds

Now Jay Osmond – drummer, singer and songwriter – has created a new show which he calls a “living memoir” and The Osmonds: A New Musical is heading to Woking straight from its world premiere.

“I wrote this book called Stages about my life,” he explains. “It turned into more of a travelogue, so I always wanted to do a backstage version that included not only the good times, but the bad and sad times too.”

A friend and producer of Jay’s had an idea. “He said ‘why don’t you write a living memoir and put it on stage?’ And I thought ‘exactly!’ I have always loved the stage and for me it was one last frontier to conquer.

“I wrote it from the heart. It was hard. I had to play my drums a lot to get my emotions out, but it all boiled down to why did we do what we did? It was because we wanted to help people, to use those talents to do some good in the world.

“I wanted to put that purpose into the show. I think you can do almost anything in life if you have a purpose.”

And you’d need a sense of purpose to get 30-plus songs and Jay’s story into a two-hour production.

“It was a challenge,” he admits. “It’s about the four brothers who were at the start. I was one of them. The story starts at the 50th anniversary and then goes way back.

“Each of us has a different perspective, so this is very much my perspective. There were hard times, fun times, why we did what we did and how we did it as a family.”

The result is a show that tells the true story of the family from Utah who were pushed into the spotlight as children and went on to create smash hits, decade after decade.

The Osmonds have sold more than 100 million records worldwide and won 59 gold and platinum awards. Jay’s show reveals the real family behind all these hits – parents George and Olive Osmond and their nine children, Virl, Tom, Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay, Donny, Marie and Jimmy.

The musical features a list of 1970s anthems, including One Bad Apple, Down by the Lazy River, Crazy Horses, Let Me In, Love Me for a Reason, (We’re) Having a Party, Puppy Love, Long Haired Lover From Liverpool, Paper Roses and many more.

The cast includes Alex Lodge as Jay, Danny Nattrass as Wayne, Joseph Peacock as Donny, Ryan Anderson as Merrill, Jamie Chatterton as Alan, Georgia Lennon as Marie, Charlie Allen as George, and Nicola Bryan as Olive.

The Osmonds: A New Musical will be at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, from Tuesday to Saturday next week, 1-5 March.

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