ATLANTIC CITY - Plenty of long-running shows come through Atlantic City every year. Magicians. Musical tribute acts. Cirque. Variety.
But it's pretty safe to say that Donny and Marie's two-week run at Caesars Atlantic City will be the best revue Atlantic City will experience all year.
After all, the Osmonds' show comes straight from The Flamingo in Las Vegas, where the sibling duo has performed five nights per week since 2008 and was named the best show in Las Vegas by readers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal three times.
This should have been the return of Donny & Marie, however Marie had to step up last year with the help of guests John Schneider and David Osmond after Donny had to have surgery to repair a tendon on his gluteus maximus that he suffered after appearing on - and winning - ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."
As you would expect, Donny & Marie is a little bit country and a little bit rock 'n' roll, but it's 100 percent fun. The full Vegas production - from the set to video footage to the camera crew offering everyone a great view - has been transferred to Caesars' Circus Maximus Theater, where the Osmonds are surrounded by a six-piece band and a bunch of attractive dancers who dazzle the crowd with some slick choreography.
After nearly four decades of working together, including their popular 1970s variety show and later hosting a syndicated daytime talk show, there's no signs of them going through the motions to earn a buck. Donny & Marie is a genuine show that comes from the heart and is produced to not only give longtime fans a blast to the past but to win over people who may have never even heard of them.
At 56 and 54 years old, respectively. Donny & Marie look damn good. Donny still has that boyish charm, great smile and self-deprecating humor, while Marie remains equally sexy and cute, showing off her figure in sequin-studded dresses and high leather boots.
"These boots are made for walking …" Osmond joked after performing the classic Nancy Sinatra song, "for like 10 seconds," as she slipped into purple sequins shoes that matched her dress.
The night starts with the siblings offering two spirited versions of Motown classics: the Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston goodie "It Takes Two," a tune Donny & Marie recorded for their "I'm Leaving It All Up To You" album that became a concert staple for them; and Martha and the Vandellas' signature "Dancing in the Street," which got the crowd dancing in their seats.
Although it's great to see both Donny & Marie performing together, more than half of the show features the performers on stage separately, a nice feature that allows the audience to have different experiences as the night progresses.
First up was Marie, who emerged in a black plume skirt and purple sequin top to sing "Paper Roses," a cover of the Anita Bryant tune that was Marie's first hit and put her on the country music map.
But the mother of eight and new grandmother soon shed the plumes to show off a more sultry dress and leather corset and rocked to the Aerosmith smash "Walk This Way" while strumming a fake guitar that kicked off a medley that included "These Boots Were Made for Walkin'," before offering another medley of country music that included the title track of her 1985 album "There's No Stopping Your Heart," a No. 1 country hit.
Then it was Donny time. After a video showed a young Donny singing "Puppy Love," Donny emerged on stage singing the Paul Anka-penned song that hit No. 1 for him.
"All of the girls would scream in the '70s when I sang this," Donny told the crowd, resulting in many of the women in the audience screaming.
While not nearly as talented as a vocalist as his sister, Donny makes up for it with humor and charm. He joked about singing the No. 1 Osmonds single "One Bad Apple" two octaves lower before being joined by the dancers for his 1989 comeback hit "Soldier of Love," which hit No. 2 on the charts.
He also offered a medley that paid tribute to artists who influenced him, including Tom Jones, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, particularly impressing the crowd with a cover of Wonder's "My Cherie Amour," which he recorded as a duet with Wonder on Osmond's upcoming 60th album.
The segments kept coming and kept the audience on its feet, but when Marie took the stage dressed as a geisha to tackle "Nessun Dorma," the aria from Puccini's "Turandot," surrounded by ballet dancers as fog filled the stage, the audience seemed shocked at how amazing her voice was, offering Marie a standing ovation in the middle of the show.
Other highlights included a swing set as Donny & Marie performed "Rock This Town" and "Jump Jive an' Wail"; Donny offering "Moon River" as a tribute to his late friend and idol Andy Williams, complete with nostalgic video; an Osmond hits section that featured Donny & Marie rolling out everything from "A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock and Roll" to "I'm Leaving It All Up To You" to "Make The World Go Away"; a video and musical tribute to the people they met and admire such as John Wayne, George Burns, Tina Turner, the Rat Pack and more while singing "Remember When"; and a nod to their Broadway work that has included Marie in "The King & I" and Donny in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Donny & Marie is the way they engage the audience. Like their former TV variety show, they still have fun bickering on stage, with Donny teasing Marie that he won "Dancing with the Stars" while she placed third, followed by Donny making fun of Marie for fainting on "Dancing" with Marie retorting that at least she didn't have to have her "butt sewed up" like he did.
They also offer great interaction. Donny might pop in the audience to take selfies with the crowd, while Marie might grab a tube of lipstick and autograph men's foreheads - and bald heads - with it.
When you really think about it and look at all of their accomplishments as child and adult stars, you can admire how they have shared their entire lives together. And if practice makes perfect, Donny & Marie have it down pat.
Donny & Marie
Perform 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays to Aug. 21in Circus Maximus Theater at Caesars Atlantic City. Tickets $45 and $85, are available at Caesars' box office, Ticketmaster and PressofAtlanticCity.com/Tickets