Jimmy enjoys happy return
JIMMY Osmond seems to be making Swansea a bit of a second home these days.
The multi-siblinged 1970s popster brought some showbiz sheen to one of Swansea Grand's most popular pantos, they have played here en famille recently and now Jimmy returns to the venue with his brothers Jay and Merrill for the juke-box musical Boogie Nights on Sunday February 24.
And it isn't just the Baskin' Robins branch he returns for.
"I do love my ice cream," says Jimmy.
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"It is my big weakness, so I go across from the theatre to the ice-cream shop and they are always so nice to me.
"But it isn't just that.
"Audiences in Swansea have been very kind and I love coming back.
"For several years I have spent about 6 months a year in Britain.
"You like anywhere you feel you have purpose and for the last several years I have done a lot of plays here and different things.
"But I still work a lot with my brothers back in America."
Jimmy will be joined by two of those, Jay and Merrill, along with Gareth Gates, Louisa Lytton, Andy Abraham, Chico and Shane Ritchie Jnr, who steps up as Roddy up in the show, a role created by his dad, the EastEnders actor.
Set in a provincial British town at the height of disco fever, Jimmy says the Boogie Nights playlist should get the party started, even if he admits he is more of a classic rock man himself.
"I'm open to everything, but I'm a bit stuck in the '70s, '80s, and a little '90s.
''I like classic rock — The Eagles, Steve Miller band.
''You have a history with music, don't you?
"That is what is so powerful about music — it takes you back to easier days.
"But there is some great music in the show, and I am so pleased to be able to work with my brothers for this one.''
That Osmonds bond is an enviable one.
Beyond their commercial success, the achievement which the siblings could perhaps be most proud of is that they have remained tight-knit after more than five decades of singing together, travelling together, sharing blood ties, sharing devout faith and childhood memories.
That is, says Jimmy, a testament to their parents, George and Olive.
"Mom was a very kind woman and she was so very organised and very industrious — she just got so much done.
"I have four children and I don't know how she did it with nine."
Aside from being a driving force behind The Osmonds group and their career, Olive turned family hardship into triumph after two of her children, Jimmy's older brothers Virl and Tom, were born deaf.
So the group's earliest motivation was to raise money for the best medical help for them, motored by Olive.
"She was the reason we started out together as the Osmonds and she was behind everything we did.
"She always tried to place my father at the head of the household but she was definitely the neck which turned the head!
"My parents just set us a very good example.
"We have every right in the world to probably never talk to each other again, but somehow we had great parents that really let us isolate in our mind the business of show and keeping the perspective of what family life is about, and those relationships which we believe are forever, so we want to treat then as such.
"Something mom would always say to us is, 'is it the wise thing to do'?
"Even now, when I am making a decision, that is what I ask myself.
"Not is this the decision that is going to be best for financial reasons, but is this the wise thing to do?"