These have been great times for Marie Osmond; she just finished playing Anna in Broadway's The King and I and will tour with the show once Hayley Mills ends her year-long contract. On the other hand, Marie's brother Donny has been having a rough time of it.
As he has many times before, he's been playing Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in his home state of Utah -- that is, until he came down with a nasty virus, which he's been battling since the show opened Jan. 12. According to the Associated Press, Osmond's nephew, David, has been filling in for the under-the-weather star, who has missed seven performances (not in a row) since Feb. 10. Joseph runs in Salt Lake City through March 7.
Livent publicity director Grant Ramsay told the Deseret News, Feb. 24, "Donny is ill. He was under doctor's orders not to perform, although he did try a couple of times and had to quit during intermission." Ramsay told Playbill On Line (Feb. 25) Osmond "performed last nights" and will continue with the show and its current, full schedule.
If you're one of the few folks who didn't see Donny Osmond when he was selling out houses across the United States and Canada in the tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, your prayers may have been answered. Osmond told radio host Howard Stern (Dec. 5) he's been tapped by the Really Useful Company to star in the official video version of Joseph.
Webber spokesperson Peter Brown told Playbill On-Line (Feb. 26) the video was delayed because director Stephen Pimlott (who's done Joseph all over the world) wasn't available. Brown predicts the Joseph taping to happen "towards the end of this year." A source close to the Utah production said Really Useful Group's initial idea was to tie the video in with the Salt Lake City mounting, but Osmond's other commitments (including a television variety show deal with sister Marie) made that difficult.
Osmond's most recent theatrical venture prior to Joseph, was in an upstate New York outdoor pageant, playing a prophet of the Mormon faith, in the 60th annual Hill Cumorah Pageant, America's Witness To Christ.
Ironically, in July, Osmond told Playbill On-Line, "Joseph is dead. I reached the end. It's been nearly five years. I always had a time limit on how long I'd do Joseph, but Livent just kept extending that time limit. It was wonderful and Garth (Drabinsky, Livent chairman and C.E.O.) treated me grand." Osmond has given more than 2000 performances as the Biblical son of Jacob who's sold into slavery by his brothers.
At the time, Osmond said, "There's still theatre in my plans. I'd love to come back to Broadway [where he did the George M. Cohan musical Little Johnny Jones in 1982]. I've got some irons in the fire."
Osmond also mentioned that he and The Phantom of the Opera composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, had discussed his starring in that lead role in 1993, but there are no current plans for him to embrace "The Music of the Night." Osmond said, "I'd love to bring it to Broadway. You've got to be really good to play Broadway, so time will tell on that. I'd be more than happy to do Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago, Minneapolis and so on. These are strong theatre cities with great theatres."
-- By David Lefkowitz