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Later, during the Joseph tour, he was stricken by panic attacks so crippling that he wondered whether he could ever perform again. Finding relief in an herbal remedy that included a minute amount of vodka, Osmond later wrote, "My mind was deteriorating so rapidly, I seriously started to consider drinking alcohol for real" -- an act tantamount to Mormon heresy. With the aid of a therapist who specializes in anxiety phobias, Osmond says he's learned to work through his sporadic attacks, episodes he believes were triggered by his inability to accept failure at any level. Conquering the syndrome heralded the start of a mini-comeback co-hosting a short-lived daytime talk show with sister Marie.
A firm believer in the notion that you can't step in the same lazy river twice, an older, wiser and still wisecracking Osmond sees the current show-tune tour as a way of testing the waters for a possible Broadway performing career. Which, gentle Puppy Lover, is not to suggest you will go away disappointed.
"I really went through an interesting dynamic putting this show together," says Osmond. "I decided that it's got to be more than just this album, it's got to be about everything I've ever done, just the right amount of current and old stuff."
To that end, Osmond has assembled a compilation reel of career highlights that will open the show's second act. Digging around in his basement, he uncovered some lost footage from his first appearance on The Andy Williams Show.
"It was like watching a different person perform," says Osmond, who uses the archival clip to open and close the video segment. "Then, at the end, I come back onstage and sing a duet with myself" -- à la Natalie and Nat "King" Cole's Unforgettable.
Osmond's live set also includes a Q&A session with audience members -- in which he claims anything goes. It says something about the nature of his appeal that one of the most memorable questions to date came from a 5-year-old girl who wanted to know, "Can I have a hug?"
Of course, Osmond complied, "It's my favorite part of the show."