Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2008 | midnight
IF YOU GO
What: Donny & Marie
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Showroom at the Flamingo
Admission: $90-$255; 733-3111, www.harrahs.com
Running time: Approximately 90 minutes
Details: Sold out every night since opening in September, the show is dark until Jan. 20.
Beyond the Sun
Marie Osmond entertains packed houses in her new show on the Strip, and then comes home to a house full of children in Green Valley. It's a neon and suburbia story that makes sense only in Las Vegas.
The 49-year-old single mother of eight moved here to bring consistency to her children while she performs in "Donny & Marie" at the Flamingo, their first act together in 26 years. The show was recently extended through October 2010.
The act is known for mixing humor with crooning ballads of long-begotten days, which can't help but come with a tinge of corniness. Marie Osmond was quick to crack jokes about her brother and herself during a recent interview.
Have you seen the "Donny & Marie" poster on the Flamingo? she asks.
"You can see it from outer space!" Osmond said. "It's subtle. In the show I say that's the life-size picture of Donny's head."
The show brought her to Las Vegas. The family brought her to Green Valley. Osmond has six children, ages 6 to 19, living at home. The oldest, Rachael, works with her in the wardrobe department.
Osmond talked about the parental dilemma of the moment: Should she let the children see "Twilight" on the snow day they had off from school? No, she decided, the vampire romantic drama is not appropriate for them.
"I'd like to keep (raising the children) as real and natural as possible," she said. "It's nice when they can have mom, not Marie Osmond. They are really proud of me. But I like keeping their lives as private as possible. Their success is dependant on them. Not on my success."
Osmond is a single mom, a title that she seems to repeat often as a strengthening mantra. Osmond announced her divorce from her second husband in 2007. The family works around the separation. She described their Christmas plans:
"The younger children will go visit their father a few days after Christmas. The older children are going to Mexico with me. I've had no time off since 'Dancing with the Stars' a year and a half ago."
Osmond, 49, was a celebrity contestant on the fifth season of the ABC show, finishing in third place.
She was a country music star in the 1970s and '80s, apart from her famous family. Her big hit was "Paper Roses" in 1976. That was followed by her variety show with Donny. Osmond is recording her first inspirational album, featuring Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Pie Jesu," for release next year.
Despite the media attention, Osmond tries to maintain a private world.
She is cautious about any specifics that could bring attention to her family. She won't say which schools the children attend or where the family goes to church.
She declined to have any pictures taken in her home, providing instead publicity shots.
The children have different last names, giving them some protection from the spotlight.
Donny Osmond commutes from Provo, Utah, for the show, but Osmond said that was not a good choice for her.
"I was looking for more of a community for my children. For a mom, commuting is not a good thing. To be away from the kids for long is not great. And it's all about my kids."
Osmond shops and eats at The District. She loves craft stores. She has her Nevada driver's license. Osmond found a local holistic doctor. She loves the schools. She's met the neighbors.
One morning when Osmond went out to get the paper, a residential construction crew serenaded her with country hit "Meet Me in Montana."
And as odd as it sounds, Las Vegas seems to be a good place for an entertainer to raise children, she said. Strip performances mean consistency. Her children can settle into schools and sports for the next few years.
"It's a better lifestyle for a mom, rather than being at a different place every night."
But if Las Vegas is so great for a show business family, why didn't Donny move?
"His kids are all established (in Utah). They are older than mine. It's different because the mom holds it all together. He has a wife and she keeps it together when he is away."
Becky Bosshart can be reached at 990-7748 or [email protected].