Highly Recommended*****Back in the 70’s, many of us were witness to the growing up of the Osmond Family on TV ( thanks to Andy Williams), in particular young Donny and his little sister Marie, who truly were the family members to become Superstars in the world of entertainment. She was always “A little bit country” and he was “a little bit rock ‘n roll”! Their current production, “Donny & Marie-Christmas in Chicago”, part of The Broadway in Chicago series, is a little bit Vegas, a little bit country, a little bit, Broadway and a little bit Christmas as we relive their almost 50 years of high energy, great talent on the stage of The Oriental Theatre. Take all of these “little bits” and put them together, stir in the vibrant personalities of these two very powerful performers along with their talent and appeal to te audience and what you have is a two plus hour entertainment experience that is sure to put your mood into positive mode.
This sparkling show that they put together, directed by Michael Barnard and smoothly choreographed by Jaymz Tuaileva is as sparkling as any Vegas show the Osmond’s have done and with the use of the jumbo screen on the cleverly designed set by Perry “Butch ” Allen and Peter Morse ( who also do the video design) and the glorious costumes ( again, very Vegas) by Kristin Gallo and Rachel Lauren, you can see just how dazzling a show can be.The dazzling is helped by the lighting design of Morse with Joseph Lucas Eddy. Since this is a Broadway In Chicago production, at one of their theaters, although it is in reality a nightclub/cabaret show, I am doing a theater review as well as one under Cabaret ( a duplicate) but with the second part of Act One being a medley of Broadway music-“Give My Regards To Broadway”, “I’m A Yankee Doodle Dandy”, Two from “The King and I”,”Beauty and The Beast”, “The Sound of Music” ( where Marie played Maria and does a marvelous rendition of “Climb Every Mountain” and of course “Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” ( a show that had Donny living here in Chicago for years” This segment alone is worth buying a ticket for this spectacular “holiday diversion” but there is so much more!
They do the amazing banter they did as kids and it still works. Many people came into the theater expecting an attempt to bring back the magic of the 1970’s when these two youngsters became icons in the pop music world; some thought it might just be a rehash of the “hokey old stuff”. Guess again, theater audiences of our fair city. This dynamic duo is as solid as any performers I have seen in concert. In fact, this show is far better than the recent appearance in Indiana where they recreated their Vegas show- this truly topped it! The play and banter with the audience, including an opening night surprise of famed Cubs legend Ronnie Woo Woo, who as an audience member ( in full Cubs uniform) was brought up on stage to sing and dance with Marie, and both stars made it a point to involve each and every one of us as they showed us old tv tapes, did oldies, did the Broadway stuff, their new recordings ( yes, they are still going strong) and even brought a new twist to some of the holiday tunes as would be done by The Beach Boys,The Temptations,The Four Tops and more! This is a show not to be missed; the exciting Donny and Marie, six glorious dancers and under the musical direction of Jerry Williams seven powerful musicians. I can tell you from experience, this is not a ho-hum, hokey show by any means. This is a show that will put a smile on your face, a warm feeling in your heart and a festive swagger to your walk.
Donny and Marie will continue at The Oriental Theatre located at 24 West Randolph Street through December 24th with performances as follows:
Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.,Wednesdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m.,Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m.,Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. PLUS an added Monday performance at 7:30 p.m. on 12/19
Tickets range from $37 to $100, making it affordable for the family and can be purchased at any of the Broadway In Chicago box offices,or online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com