You want Donny and Marie? You get Donny and Marie, lots and lots of hardworking Donny and Marie - singing, dancing, huffing, puffing, changing flashy costumes, flashing shiny teeth and revving up adoring fans who had stood in line earlier to snap photos of themselves with life-size Donny and Marie cutouts in the lobby.
It is called "A Broadway Christmas," this 100-minute Vegas-style light-and-video extravaganza that puts the Osmond siblings together on a Broadway stage for the first time. Indeed, the stage is wrapped in holiday greenery and a few carols are sung, often in disco style.
Mostly, however, this is less a Christmas show than a Donny and Marie tribute to, well, Donny and Marie, and to "all the people who were on our shows and all the people whose shows we were on." And this appears to be exactly what audiences want from celebrities they have watched grow through almost 50 years of public triumph and tragedy, weight gains and diet sponsors, from child stars to "Dancing With the Stars." (Donny won. Marie came in third. Cue sibling-rivalry banter.)
He jokes about still being a teen sex symbol. She seems unfazed by giant-screen comparisons of a sweet auburn-haired girl and the current vamp with the big, inky-black hair and the Janet Jackson cheekbones. They sing the expected hits that demonstrate their little-bit country, little-bit rock-and-roll versatility.
Less easily anticipated are his Stevie Wonder medley and her Broadway medley. She also announces her passion for opera, then sings Mozart's "Ave verum corpus," which is a liturgical song, not opera, while she delivers an impressive deep knee bend in a blur of stage smoke and amplification.
There are tapes from their family's Christmas specials and a musical salute to the troops and, yes, even a joke about the flying problems over at the "Spider-Man" musical. Choreography for the 10 dancers tends toward aerobic routines, clean vulgarity and wholesome tackiness. But the seven-member band is terrific.
On Monday, Marie came into the audience and planted big purple-lipstick kisses on the heads of several of my male colleagues. Donny shook a lot of eager female hands. Donny and Marie call the show a trip down memory lane and, for those who happened to have taken that lane, this appears to be good and true.