“Donny & Marie Christmas in Arizona” – ASU Gammage

This review aired on KBAQ November 29, 2012


ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

A Las Vegas celebrity attraction arrived in Tempe Tuesday with the opening of “Donny & Marie Christmas in Arizona” at ASU Gammage.  It wasn’t even a particularly good Las Vegas production as the tacky looking show lacks elaborate mounting, the supporting dancer/singers weren’t anything special, the choreography was rudimentary, and even the stars themselves just ramble around chatting and adlibbing as they do as they please.  The show is supposed to be a Christmas extravaganza but it lacks any holiday spirit or sparkle.

I was amazed to observe that Donny is the pair’s true talent while sister Marie is just a passable singer who lacks personality, and can’t hold the stage when she’s solo.  Marie’s just window dressing for male audiences as she wears a succession of rather ordinary looking gowns the women ogle.

The show is conceived and created by the stars and therein lies it’s major problem.  The performance lacks focus and never seems to know what it wants to do.  It’s part nostalgia as the stars recreate famous but now rather bland musical moments from their television careers.  It’s part new material as some current songs and dances are sprinkled among the familiar material, and it’s part just a collection of popular song hits that the pair thinks their fans will enjoy.  The show desperately needs a creative writer to give it a point, to edit it dramatically as it drags on way too long, and to give it a huge spark of clever genius to make it interesting. 

The sets, lights, and costumes smack of Las Vegas tacky and don’t give the show a bit of much needed style, flair, or visual allure.  The chorus is dressed blandly and dances with mediocrity.

Like so many celebrity attractions, the back-up band is loud and obnoxious as it makes it impossible to comprehend song lyrics as the words get garbled in torrents of ridiculously loud orchestrations and extraneous noise.

What is really on stage at ASU Gammage is the Donny and Marie Las Vegas show with a few extraneous holiday songs thrown in to justify the “Christmas in Arizona” title.  Other than a lame, decorated cactus, there’s nothing about the show that makes it an Arizona Christmas as there are no local holiday traditions evident.  It is a solid family show, though, because nothing is offensive.

“Donny & Marie Christmas in Arizona” show is for the pair’s fans.  Others will be amazed at the lack of theatrical flourish.  They will be surprised to realize that Marie brings little to the proceedings and that the show relies on Donny’s singing and dancing talents.  The show lumbers on through Sunday at ASU Gammage and earns three stars out of five.  For tickets, call the ASU Gammage box office at Ticketmaster, 800-982-2787 or order tickets online at www.asugammage.com.

Grade: C

4 Responses to ““Donny & Marie Christmas in Arizona” – ASU Gammage”

  1. jean windsor said:

    Dec 05, 12 at 14:28

    i thought the show was absolutely fantastic,Donny and Marie make this world a better place….so professional wonderful with the audience…a full house on sunday…iam just hoping that arizona
    will bring them back and i told the Gammage that personally..they are truely one of a kind artists,,,they appreciate the celebrities and thank them so wonderfully by showing a film days past…especially to the one and only super great andy williams…the standing ovations never stopped…they are versatile artists who dont lip sink or rip off their guests like some teenager canadian who threw up on thew stage…REPULSIVE….a fan always,jean W.

  2. cheryl heiligenthal said:

    Dec 14, 12 at 09:16

    this review is not accurate; donny and marie are excellent performers and role models for everyone; they are very down to earth and value their fans; having met marie several times, i can tell you that she is full of personality and spunk; they are deserving of only the best reviews not this one

  3. Genie said:

    Dec 24, 12 at 05:17

    Well, I’ve not even seen the Arizona version of D&M’s show and I can tell your review was not accurate. While it may be your opinion, it smacked of something close to jealousy. Your account of the show sounded as if you were letting your dislike of Donny & Marie (for whatever reason) color your perception. They are talented and they put on an excellent show. Too bad this review did more to discredit YOU, than it did to pan the show.

  4. Chole said:

    Dec 25, 12 at 22:26

    ARE YOU SERIOUS? Obviously, you did NOT see the same show that I did! Nor did you see/hear the same Ms. Osmond, whose voice has more range than any other singer I’ve recently had the pleasure of listening to. I heard their Vegas show was voted best in the city (I now understand why), which is what prompted me to go in the first place. All I can say is, Mr. Curcio, you obviously need a hearing aid and/or better glasses!