TORONTO — Donny Osmond says a duet with music legend Stevie Wonder will be the first single from his upcoming 60th album.
“He agreed to do ‘My Cherie Amour’ with me, so that’s going to be the lead track, and that comes out two weeks from today,” the heart-throb singer-actor-dancer told The Canadian Press on Monday, noting a link to the tune will be made available for free through his Twitter account on June 16.
“I’ve known Stevie over the years, but this is the first time I’ve collaborated with him. Wait till you hear his solo on this thing. It’s just classic Stevie.”
The show business veteran and his sister Marie were in Toronto to promote their annual Christmas stage production, which Mirvish Productions will mount in the city for a two-week engagement in December.
“Donny & Marie Christmas in Toronto” will run at the Princess of Wales Theatre from Dec. 9 — which fans will know is Donny’s birthday — to Dec. 21. Tickets are $59 to $130 and go on sale June 9.
It’s just the latest stop for the dynamic duo’s wholesome holiday variety show that debuted on Broadway in 2010 and has been seen by more than 125,000 fans in cities including Chicago, Los Angeles and Detroit.
It features holiday songs as well as favourites from the duo’s decades-long career, including “A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “Paper Roses,” “Puppy Love” and “It Takes Two.”
“You know those critics on Broadway, they can just rip you apart, and they gave us stellar reviews and we thought: ‘Well maybe we’ve got something here,'” said Donny, flashing his megawatt smile. “So every year now this has become a tradition, and we’ve gone to different cities all over the place, and Toronto is this year.”
Of course, the sunny sibling entertainers from Utah are masters of the variety show format, first as children on “The Andy Williams Show,” and on their own TV extravaganza “Donny & Marie” in the ’70s. More recently they’ve had a headlining gig in Las Vegas.
“That’s our middle name, basically, is variety,” said Donny, a former teen idol who starred in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” in Toronto in the ’90s, won the ninth season of “Dancing with the Stars” in 2009 and recently launched a line of home decor and furnishings with his wife, Debbie.
“But that’s what you get when you come to a Donny and Marie show. That’s what we grew up on is variety, and just giving the gamut from one spectrum to the other.”
Marie recalled “performing in some of the greatest Christmas shows'” — headlined by the likes of Williams, Perry Como and Bob Hope — while growing up.
They’ve also recruited a galaxy of stars to their own shows
“From Groucho Marx to Britney Spears, everybody in between,” said Donny, 56, who began his career in entertainment at the age of five.
“We debuted Britney’s first time on television and Christina Aguilera,” added Marie, a fellow actress and singer who made her first foray into the spotlight at age three and was a finalist on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2007.
Marie is set to debut another fresh face soon — her first grandchild, who was born in November.
She said the baby boy will make his “debut” in a commercial for the weight-loss product line Nutrisystem for which she’s a spokeswoman.
He’s going to “beat the Osmond record” for show-business debuts, she said with a laugh.
“I think the youngest was like three and now we’re going down to four months,” added the 54-year-old, sporting a form-fitting dress and sky-high heels. “Oh my gosh, he’s so cute. I know, everybody thinks their grandkids are cute. … All my kids are calling me ‘Glam-ma.'”
The anemic TV variety show format received a boost recently when “The Maya Rudolph Show” debuted on NBC.
Donny said he hasn’t seen it yet but he hopes it’s successful, noting “it would be nice to see that format come back.”
“I don’t think it’s going to be coming back in the same way we did it, because variety is a little bit different now, because you have that element of reality in there that people want to see.”
“I think it is back,” added Marie. “I think you watch shows like ‘The Voice’ and things. I mean, there are versions of it. People love entertainment, they love singing, but Donny’s right. When we did it, it was only three television stations.”
“And you can’t recreate what we did in the past,” he said.