Story & Photographs by Diane Fleischman
It was a fully packed house for America’s beloved brother and sister act, Donny and Marie’s Christmas show at The Sands Wednesday night. On a twelve date Christmas tour, Donny and Marie Osmond have left their second home, their residency at The Flamingo, in Las Vegas, to sing their favorite Christmas songs and share some of their Christmas memories.
The corners of stage were set with a fully decorated Christmas tree and a fireplace with stockings hung with care. The show opened as Donny and Marie walked down the stair risers on stage, and joined by their dance troupe, performed “We Need a Little Christmas” followed by “All I Want For Christmas is You”. For Donny and Marie, who have endured over five decades of entertainment, this evening was going to be more than everyone’s favorite Christmas songs. At different moments in the show, we saw flashback videos of Donny, age 5, then Marie age 3, as they spoke with Andy Williams. Video montages were created to show portions of The Osmond family Christmases, as well as clips from their televised Christmas Specials. And for any true Osmond fan, we will never forget the Donny and Marie television show, where video snippets were also shown.
What made this show a lot of fun was the massive amount of audience participation. Early on, an audience member, Craig, was brought onstage to sing “Blue Christmas” with Marie, and later in the show Donny gave away his new CD release to a randomly chosen fan. It didn’t happen once, there were actually several times that Donny and Marie walked through the audience hugging their fans and shaking their hands.
It’s been over a decade since the Osmond’s’ parents passed on, “ My father served in World War II, and always told us in every show to honor those who fought to give me the freedom I have”, Marie stated as she performed “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”. In another tribute, Marie spoke about her work with the Children’s Miracle Network, and at one point became very emotional about the cause, and the millions of children and families that have received assistance, she became a bit teary eyed as she performed, “My Prayer” for them. And with such great emotion and vocal range, paired with snapshots of patients and families, it would be my guess that there wasn’t a dry eye in the house either.
Donny paid tribute to Andy Williams, as he described a childhood memory watching Williams from the side of the stage, in “Moon River”, and gave a powerful performance. He stated that the song is featured on his new CD, which by the way is his 60th musical release. For a man who is about to turn 61 years old this month, it almost seems surreal to have released 60 albums, but it’s all true. Donny stated, “I had to do it”, after he sang, “Puppy Love” for the crowd, matched with a video of concert footage of the song from the 70’s.
As expected, there were plenty of the Christmas classics performed, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, “Jingle Bells”, “Deck The Halls”, “Winter Wonderland”, and “The Christmas Song” to name a few. Throw in humorous brother-sister banter, typical to their 70’s television show, and it was a night full of laughs and Christmas spirit to last the whole holiday season through.
For more upcoming events at the Sands Bethlehem Entertainment Center visit https://www.sandseventcenter.com/