Donny Osmond is an Instagram-using, furniture-and-home-decor-designing, “Dancing With the Stars”-winning, Broadway-show-performing, Las-Vegas-headlining, touring-and-recording songwriter who — oh, yes — still sings “Puppy Love.”
Osmond’s done a lot in the more than 50 years since he first crooned for TV audiences as a child with his brothers and later with his sister on “Donny and Marie.” The now-58-year-old grandfather will get to prove that when he brings a little bit of rock and roll (and then some) — sans Marie — to The Paramount in Huntington Wednesday.
People have likened you to the Justin Bieber of the ’70s, but you seemed to stay out of trouble. How did you manage that, or was there drama that never made it to the headlines?
I had brothers who wouldn’t let me get into trouble. I was so busy as a kid. I had never time to get into trouble.
What is your connection with “Star Wars”?
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George Lucas, just before releasing “Star Wars” in ’77 — he knew how many millions of people Marie and I were reaching every week ... He wanted to tap into that ... So we debuted on television Darth, Chewbacca, C3PO and R2D2. Marie was Leia. I was Luke. Kris Kristofferson did the Han Solo part, Red Foxx was Obi-Wan Kenobi and Paul Lynde was the evil Death Star commander.
They don’t make shows like that anymore.
It’s too bad. I guess the innocence is gone and reality shows are the thing. Variety television is gone.
It’s very sad for me because I was weaned on those shows. Are there any reality shows you do like?
I love “Top Gear.” I miss Jeremy and the other guys. We watch reruns of that all the time. I love “Shark Tank.”
Some of your costumes from that era were very Elvis Presley — did you use the same jumpsuit designer? Did The King ever pay a compliment?
Yes, that’s how we knew Elvis — through Bill Belew. Bill designed all of Elvis’ and ours at the same time. went to one of Elvis’ closing nights at the Hilton, which was his stomping ground. That was our stomping ground in Vegas as well . . . The following night we opened up and he stayed to watch. We were in our dressing room getting ready and Elvis walks in. He said, “Hi, I’m Elvis Presley,” and I’m like, “Yah, I know.” He would always send us flowers in the shape of a guitar on our opening night.
You have a long-running show with Marie at the Flamingo. How has playing Vegas changed over the years?
It hasn’t changed in my mind that much. Vegas has always been a place where you can get almost any type of entertainment you want ... We were supposed to be there six weeks back in 2008, and this will be our eighth year. I think it will be our final year. Marie and I had a long discussion about it. There are things we want to do in our careers.
You once said you didn’t perform your hit “Go Away Little Girl” for a long time. Why?
When you make that transition that Justin Bieber is having a hard time with, and I understand it — you don’t want to make reference to what you are trying to get away fromAs soon as you can embrace all that stuff, your life is so much better. Hopefully one day Justin will embrace the fact that he did sing, “Baby baby baby, oh my baby..
Would you like to ever collaborate with any new artists?
It would be very interesting to do a Donny Osmond-Justin Bieber single.
You and your wife, Debbie, have your own furniture line.
In fact ... I bring two or three chandeliers on tour. I was doing a show a few days ago. There’s a Q-AND-A in the show. This one woman said, “I love those chandeliers.” I said, “Which one do you like?” She said, “I like the one with the round orb,” and I said, “OK, I’ll send you one.”
What are some of your favorite recordings on your latest album, “Soundtrack of My Life,” which is your 60th?
That’s like trying to pick a favorite child. You can’t do it. But I will attempt. “My Cherie Amour” is wonderful. I lead the album off with it because Stevie Wonder is on it with me. “Could She Be Mine” is an original. I do a lot of “Dancing With the Stars” highlights with that one on stage. “Moon River,” of course, because it’s Andy’s [Williams] song and I make it my own.
You’ve been performing since you were 5, and once said you’ll never stop performing. We’ve seen you at so many stages of your life. What will Donny Osmond look like in his golden years?
I am not going to go the plastic surgery route, that’s for sure. I want to age gracefully.