Marie Osmond is back in Utah to celebrate Christmas onstage

The member of the iconic Utah musical family will perform two shows at the Eccles Theater on Saturday.

Marie Osmond is kicking off her latest Christmas mini-tour in Salt Lake City, with both some old stuff and some new. How long does it take to put something like this together?

“Um, six decades,” she said, smiling broadly.

And she wasn’t kidding. The 64-year-old’s career stretches back that long, and she’s drawing on that for her two performances at the Eccles Theater on Saturday, Dec. 2, kicking off her short “Christmas With Marie”

“I know Christmas,” she said. “I think people will have a good time.”

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Marie Osmond at the Eccles Theater, on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023.

It’s a Christmas show, but not everything in it will be Christmasy.

“There are just a couple elements that I think people will enjoy. Not too much. You don’t want to force anything down anyone’s throat. They’re coming to see a Christmas show,” Osmond said. “There’s only so many ‘Jingle Bells’ you can sing, so I am going to do a few of those pivotal songs that people will remember.”

Including her first big hit, “Paper Roses,” which — believe it or not — was released just over half a century ago, in August 1973.

Osmond hasn’t been doing holiday shows all her life, but pretty close. “I’ve probably done more Christmas shows than my brothers,” she said. “Well, I started out doing Christmas shows before I ever did any Donny and Marie stuff.”

As a teenager, she joined Bob Hope as he traveled overseas to perform for American troops. “It was pretty cool stuff, and some hard things I’ve seen with that,” Osmond said. “It makes you really appreciate what the men and women go through. Not just them, but their families.”

She recalled performing on the battleship U.S.S. Wisconsin five days before it fired its first missile in the 1991 Gulf War. The Wisconsin is now a museum ship docked in Norfolk, Virginia, and hers is “one of the few signatures they saved when they painted that thing. They have it under Plexiglas. And I just thought that was so sweet of them to do that.”

After all these years, she knows how to put on a Christmas show that people will enjoy. At the Eccles, she’ll be backed by her band and the Lyceum Philharmonic. There will be “lots of fun videos” of Osmond Christmases past. She’ll be joined by singer Daniel Emmet, best known as a finalist on “America’s Got Talent.”

“I stole him from David Foster, so he’s not happy with me right now,” Osmond joked. “With Daniel, it’s going to be incredible. … I’ll be able to do a broader vocal performance of Christmas music because of the way he sings.”

And the show will be “very interactive. I love my audiences. It’s really fun that way.”

She’s looking at it as a Christmas gift for her fans. “I don’t remember what [presents] I got five years ago,” Osmond said, “but I remember things I did with my children. Events. And those are the things that I think are worth the money to go out with the people you love, whether it’s friends or family or your grandkids.”

The most unexpected thing on Saturday might just be that Osmond is performing at both 3 and 8 p.m. Told that it’s a surprise she’s doing two shows in one day, her immediate response was, “Me, too, baby. How did that happen?” she asked, bursting out laughing. She was “talked into doing two shows in one day, which I never do. Never. Because it’s a big, big show vocally.”

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Marie Osmond performs at Stadium of Fire in Provo on Saturday, July 2, 2022.

Happy to be back in Utah

She said that she probably wouldn’t have agreed to two shows in a day anywhere else but in Utah.

“I love being back here. I love Utah. And I was born here,” Osmond said. “But I’m kind of a valley girl. I was raised in the San Fernando Valley [in Los Angeles]. But coming back here as a teenager, I kind of, like, found myself here.”

She said she loves hiking and camping in the mountains.

“When we traveled, I would always go out with my dad and explore all the countries that we would go to and try the food and everything. But my brothers didn’t,” she said. “And my dad would say, ‘I’m so glad I have one son in this family.’”

Retirement is not on her bucket list

Osmond has no plans to retire, but she also has no plans to work as hard as she did for so many years. “I have never not worked a year in the six decades,” Osmond said. “Now, I’m not doing a lot. I don’t work as hard as I used to. I work more smart, if that makes sense. I’m also playing a lot, which I’ve never done.”

She is currently scheduled for six concerts in four cities in December, and three more in three cities in January. “I don’t need to support my family. I don’t have to do those things anymore, which I had to because I was the sole provider for a long, long time,” she said. “And then my album did so well that it’s provided me wonderful opportunities.”

She enjoys doing short tours, “not five days a week, year after year. It gives me time to do other things that I want to do. ... I think that’s why I’m enjoying my life so much right now, just doing all the things I probably couldn’t have done over the years.”

After working hard for decades — concerts, albums, live shows, TV shows, Broadway and more — Osmond has been working on her “bucket lists. I got to climb the pyramids, and I climbed Mount Sinai. And I went to see the icebergs in Iceland. And jumped out of an airplane. And I just did a mean character on a soap [‘The Bold and the Beautiful’]. Yeah, a little snot. It was fun. We’ve been talking about doing this for years.”

Since 2011, as a matter of fact. But scheduling conflicts prevented it from happening until October, when Osmond guest starred as Countess Van Frankfurt, a fashionista with an attitude. “I’m just having fun,” she said.

(Owen Sweeney | Invision/AP file photo) This Aug. 22, 2017, file photo shows Donny Osmond, left, and Marie Osmond performing at the Santander Arena in Reading, Pa.

Marie and the grandchildren

Osmond has been open about her personal struggles, even authoring the book “Behind the Smile: My Journey Out of Postpartum Depression” in 2002, and following that up in 2009 with, “Might As Well Laugh About It Now.” In 2010, her son Michael — one of five children she adopted with her second husband, Brian Blosil — took his own life at age 18 after battling depression and addiction for years.

But today, she’s happily remarried to her first husband, Steve Craig — they married in 1982 and divorced in 1985, and remarried in 2011. And, she said, she is “so blessed to have great kids. They’re all different, though. I couldn’t have eight more different kids on the planet.”

And then there are the nine grandchildren. She and Steve recently babysat four of them while their son, Steve Jr., and his wife went on vacation. She was spending time with 4-year-old Maxwell, “and he goes, ‘Grandma, are you famous? People say you’re famous.’ I said, ‘No, honey, I’m just your grandma.’”

She does admit that she spoils the grandchildren. “That’s our job. We’ve already done the parenting thing. I don’t want to do that anymore,” Osmond said. “I just want to spoil them.”

Although she’ll be spending a good deal of time on the road in the weeks leading up to Christmas, she’ll be ready for the holiday at home.

“My tree’s already up, baby,” she said with a smile. “It’s always up before Thanksgiving. Then I can actually enjoy it before I get home for Christmas and take it down a week later.”

(America's Freedom Festival) Utah-born singer and entertainer Marie Osmond was a "special guest star" at the 2022 edition of Stadium of Fire.

‘Unexpected’ success

Osmond isn’t surprised by the success of her latest album, titled “Unexpected” — she’s “shocked.”

When it was released in December 2021, it debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Classical Crossover chart, spent 29 weeks in the top 10, and went to No. 6 on the Classical Albums chart.

“Boy, did I name that album right,” she said.

It was a departure for her. Backed by the Prague Symphony Orchestra, she performs everything from American standards to opera.

“I told my husband — I said, ‘I’d like to record an album that’s so esoteric for me.’ I can sing multiple genres of music.” She sings in five different languages, “and every song has a meaning to me. If you read the really fine print on the CD, you’ll know. It goes on and on and on. …

“It was just one of those things that I wanted to do as an artist. And then it ended up being one of my biggest albums. It’s crazy. And I’m not young!” she said with a laugh. “So it was a shocker. It was very humbling.”

Osmond said “Unexpected” represents who she is musically. “I’ve always been a little esoteric,” she said. “I should have gone into pop music because my brothers, they all had connections. But I went country because I loved country.”

She’ll be singing cuts from “Unexpected” at the concerts. “That’s my thank you to all my fans for the six decades that they have allowed me to be in a business that I love,” she said, “and keep trying new things and reinventing myself. They’ve been there the whole way. …

“And I’ve always been very passionate about music,” she said — and then proved her point as she spoke passionately about “Song to the Moon,” which is on the new album: “I did it kind of Emmylou Harris style, but it’s supposed to be done high, high soprano in [Czech]. But the words are so beautiful that I did it kind of that Emmylou harmony. But you’ll hear a very high, high siren in the back. That’s me. And then at the very end, I sing high soprano. And I sing [Czech] to kind of say, ‘I could have done it. But I wanted you to know the words.’”

Marie and Kurt Bestor

Bestor won’t appear on stage at Osmond’s Christmas show, but they “just did an a cappella thing that we’re going to put in the show that he helped me kind of do some pieces and parts for.”

The two have known each other since the late 1970s. “When we came here to build our studio, it was a fluke accident that we found him,” Osmond said. The trumpet player scheduled to perform with Marie and Donny missed his flight from Los Angeles, and they needed a replacement so they could lay down the music tracks for that week’s show. So they put out a call for the best trumpet player who could be there immediately.

“I think he lied about his age. He said he was older than he was,” Osmond said. But he performed well and impressed the show’s musical directors, who asked, “’Do you write sheet music? Can you do charts?’ And he goes, ‘Oh, sure.’ He totally lied about it,” Osmond said, “but he went in and studied hard. And he came back and he did a decent job.”


“Christmas With Marie,” featuring the Lyceum Philharmonic and special guest Daniel Emmet.

Where • The Eccles Theater, 131 S. Main Street, Salt Lake City.

When • Saturday, Dec. 2, at 3 and 8 p.m.

Tickets • $30-$100, available at my.arttix.org; by calling 801-355-ARTS (2787) or 888-451-ARTS (2787); or at the box office.

Recommended for ages 8 and up. No babes in arms.