LYNN — Donny & Marie Osmond brought a little bit of Las Vegas sparkle to town Thursday night. The siblings delighted a capacity Lynn Auditorium crowd with the super-smooth, well-rehearsed show that’s been packing ’em in at the Flamingo in Vegas since 2008.
At times, the 90-minute stage spectacular seemed like a glitzy commercial for Donny & Marie Enterprises, hawking merchandise and promoting their many worthwhile charities. But these two are so darned likable and talented, it didn’t detract from the fun. They provide good old-fashioned family entertainment, something the world could use a lot more of these days, a welcome respite from the barrage of daily tragedies in Barcelona, Charlottesville and elsewhere.
Donny, 59, and Marie, 57, are in their fifth decade as entertainers. Thursday night, they seemed to be having the time of their lives on stage, even though they’ve done this show a zillion times. Assisted by a powerhouse five-piece band and four high-energy dancers, the duo showcased all stages of their lengthy careers.
The two arrived on stage at 7:15, dressed to the nines, descending a staircase, singing the Marvin Gaye/Kim Weston song “It Takes Two” and jumping immediately into snippets of the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” and the Beastie Boys’ “Fight For Your Right (to Party).” While bright lights flashed, Marie danced with gents in the front row and Donny ran up and down the aisle sharing fist bumps with fans.
Donny ceded the stage to Marie for about 20 minutes, and younger sister seized the spotlight. First of all, she looked fantastic. That Nutrisystem plan seems to be working! (Donny, too, is in great shape: maybe he’s on Nutrisystem For Men!) Even better, she sounded terrific, whether she was singing country-pop hits like “These Boots Are Made For Walking,” the title song of her most recent album “Music is Medicine” or surprising casual fans with a remarkable Italian aria. We knew she was a little bit country, but a little bit opera?
Marie also had great rapport with the audience, the majority of whom were women. “I have to say ‘Hi’ to my biggest fan,” she said, bending down to pick up the cooling fan on stage and then cracking jokes about hot flashes. She and Donny have the good-natured Sonny-and-Cher put-down shtick down pat as well, gently poking fun at the other’s foibles and inadequacies, much like they did on their TV variety show back in the day. “I have eight children, nine if you count Donny,” she said. “Dancing With the Stars” champion Donny, in turn, lorded over Marie, who finished second on the popular ABC program.
Marie chatted about Children’s Miracle Network, her family charity. “We have raised $5.6 billion for kids, and every dollar donated has gone to the kids we’ve helped,” she said. In one of the evening’s few unscripted moments, a man in the back of the theater yelled out “and my son is one of them,” which clearly caught Osmond off guard and brought tears to her eyes.
Then it was Donny’s turn. The audience screamed, hooted and hollered as if he was still that super-cute teen crush. Many women shouted “I love you Donny,” as he sang “Puppy Love,” his hit from 1972, and other oldies but goodies like “Go Away Little Girl” and “One Bad Apple.” A medley of “Celebration” songs by Kool and the Gang, Three Dog Night and Rare Earth was an upbeat blast, as was a cover of Taio Cruz’s 2009 hit “Dynamite.” He winningly sang “Close Every Door” from “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical in which he starred, and “Moon River,” the classic hit for Andy Williams, the late entertainer who discovered the Osmonds and brought them to a national audience.
Like Marie, charming Donny has a deft comedy touch. At one point, every audience member was convinced they would receive a free copy of his latest album, only to have the rug pulled out from under them. It was so masterfully done, you had to laugh.
Donny and Marie reunited for a bunch of their early hits (“I’m Leaving it All Up to You,” “Morning Side of the Mountain” and a first-rate “A Beautiful Life”) before taking their bows and leaving the stage to a thunderous ovation.