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posted: 12/2/2011 6:00 AM

Donny and Marie perform together in 'Christmas in Chicago'

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  • Donny and Marie Osmond bring their holiday spirit to the Oriental Theatre with "Donny and Marie -- Christmas in Chicago."

      Donny and Marie Osmond bring their holiday spirit to the Oriental Theatre with "Donny and Marie -- Christmas in Chicago."

By Laura Stewart

Donny and Marie Osmond sing about being "a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll." And they'll soon be a "whole lot of Christmas" when they bring "Donny and Marie -- Christmas in Chicago" production to the Oriental Theatre.

It will be the first time the siblings have performed together on a Chicago stage.

"Chicago is really my town," Donny, 53, said in a telephone interview, recalling the early 1990s when he starred in the Broadway musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" here.

"But I guess I'll let Marie share my stage."

That good-natured brother-and-sister kidding flew across the telephone lines, as the two stars spoke about their upcoming Christmas show in separate phone interviews.

"It's going to be an experience -- not just a show, but a holiday experience," Donny said. "We want the audience to forget about the problems of the world for two hours."

Favorite holiday tunes, dance numbers and selections from Donny and Marie's first album together in 30 years -- "Donny & Marie," released earlier this year -- will be woven into the production.

"And I've got to get 'Puppy Love' in there," Donny said with a laugh of his 1970s mega hit.

"So many people have come up to us and said, 'You were such a part of my life growing up' and, 'We have wonderful memories of you and your family and Christmas,'" Marie, 52, recalled. "I think the best gift you can give is a memory or tradition, so we are going to recall happy times and memories. I can't think of a better place to share the holiday season than in Chicago."

The Osmond family, whose seven singing siblings have collectively sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, has been synonymous with Christmas and the holiday season since the 1960s.

It was then when Osmond brothers, Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay and Donny (youngest brother Jimmy was born in 1963), ice skated and sang holiday tunes on television's "The Andy Williams Show."

In the 1970s, with the highly rated "Donny and Marie" weekly variety show on television's ABC network, the annual Osmond family Christmas shows became a showcase for the entire clan -- including parents George and Olive, non-singing siblings Virl and Tom and various Osmond spouses and grandchildren.

"Donny and Marie -- Christmas in Chicago" will feature clips from some of those 1970s holiday shows, Marie said.

"It will be like the ghost of Christmas past. You'll see footage that you have not seen in a long time," she said.

While in Chicago, both Donny and Marie plan to see the sights.

Donny will revisit some of his favorite spots from his "Joseph" days, when he lived in the suburbs.

"Chicago is my second home. I have to go to the (Navy) Pier. I want to go to Wilmette and see my old house, and go to Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. And I've got to get some Chicago pizza," he said.

Marie said that she and friend Rosie O'Donnell (a new resident with her Chicago-based "The Rosie Show") plan to get some Garrett Popcorn.

After the final Dec. 24 show in Chicago, both Osmonds will catch Christmas Eve flights to head home to full houses and family traditions.

"For Christmas, my wife makes these wonderful cinnamon rolls with hot chocolate -- and my whole family (three grandchildren included) will stay at our house on Christmas Eve. We'll spend Christmas Day together," Donny said.

Marie will present her annual homemade holiday pajamas to her children and husband, Stephen Craig.

"We also like to eat hot custard, and we look for the pickle in the Christmas tree," Marie said of other family traditions.

Looking to the new year, Donny and Marie have extended their successful run at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas through the end of 2012.

And in 2012, Donny will be working on his 60th album.

But for now, the siblings' minds are on the upcoming Chicago show and holiday season.

"No matter what denomination you are, whether you believe in Christmas or not, the holiday season is all about family. It's a time when families come back together, slow down a bit and enjoy life," Donny said.

And it can be a good time for holiday memories (and some gentle brotherly teasing) when recalling one's best Christmas ever.

"That was the year I got more gifts than Marie," Donny said.

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