New musical by Jay Osmond coming to US, tells family’s tale
Music, faith and family — these have carried three generations of Osmonds through the storms and complexities of life with gusto. That fortitude and tenacity came, in part, from the teachings of their parents, George and Olive Osmond.
Now, Jay Osmond, one of the original Osmond Brothers, has put the family’s story, as seen through his eyes, in a musical theater production, “The Osmonds: A New Musical.”
Osmond, 68, had a unique perspective watching the performing family from behind his drum set on stage and watching his siblings in their private lives overcome numerous health and business obstacles.
“I wrote about the family I knew. I wrote from my heart,” he said.
While Osmond said his family loves each other, they were not perfect. The musical tells some of those behind-the-scenes stories as well.
The new musical recently ended a stint throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland to sold-out crowds in nearly every city. Not only were audiences filled with the aging fan base of “Osmaniacs,” but also a whole new generation who are putting the Osmond songs back on the billboards after 60 years.
There are more than 30 of the original Osmond Brothers songs in the musical, from the young boys singing barbershop on “The Andy Williams Show” to the hard rock ‘n’ roll of “Crazy Horses.”
How the story got on stage is divinely guided, according to Osmond. Both he and his wife, Karen, were seeking prayerful guidance as to what they should be doing. Both, without telling the other for a brief time, got the impression they should move to England.
“We’d never talked about moving to England,” Osmond said. “We gave everything away and in 30 days we had moved to Chester on the border with Wales.”
It was shortly thereafter that the Osmonds ran into friends, met new ones — who happened to be producers — and talked about Jay writing his memoirs. It was then he was persuaded to make it a full stage production — a living story.
In order to get the production done, Osmond would have to live in England — and he was already there. It was then they started a three-year process of writing and workshopping.
“The Osmonds: A New Musical” has played on some of the biggest stages in the U.K. In January, Jay and Karen Osmond moved back to Wyoming. Since then, things have been put in place and within the past few weeks it has been confirmed that the musical is coming across the pond to the U.S. in 2024 and elsewhere in 2025.
Production of the musical has not been easy for Osmond. He was hoping members of the family could help him out, but each sibling was busy with another stage project, health issues or something else. The musical truly became his to tell.
“My heart cried when I saw the actors portray my brothers and see them the way they are now,” he said. “It reminded me of the way it used to be.”
Osmond is proud to say he loves his family, no matter what. They have been through much together and while they are now on their own life journeys, he says they are close in his heart.
“I will not allow any story out that hasn’t already been out there, but through my eyes,” he said.
Osmond was particularly happy with how his parents were portrayed. He tells the story of when his mother died and they were at the cemetery. A big monarch butterfly fluttered over the kids’ and grandkids’ heads and then over the casket — a sign of their mother being there. When his father died, two monarch butterflies appeared, he said.
“The musical closed Dec. 3 in Wales. On the last night, a butterfly came down and fluttered around the actors,” Osmond said. It was a sign again for him that it was approved of and he was being watched out for.
The musical also pays homage to their mentor Andy Williams and all of the fans who made performing for more than 60 years possible.
“I take people on a journey, like a roller coaster,” Osmond said. “The biggest songs I put in there, it was my life as I saw it. It’s about a band of brothers that went through everything. From the beginning, I felt I went back in time. I felt mother and father were there.”
“Music was everything,” he added. “To lift families through our music was our mission.”
The Osmonds were trained to be perfect, and that was hard. Jay said he felt guilty about his early mess ups, one as far back as 1957 when he was just 3.
He says his second big mess up was with Walt Disney. The boys were dressed alike while visiting Disneyland. They ran into the Dapper Dans quartet that performs around the streets in the theme park. The Dans asked if they were a singing group and if they would perform. The Osmonds were wearing hats as part of their routine, but when they took them off, Jay left his hat on. When his finally came off, the others’ hats were going on. It was so funny that the Dapper Dans adopted the routine and still use it today in Disneyland.
Osmond is excited about bringing his story to the U.S. stage and hopes fans here will enjoy the Osmond story — through his eyes.
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Osmonds’ music has touched the hearts of thousands. According to some data, they have been instrumental in leading more than 85,000 to join the church.