Jay Osmond has written a musical about his chart-topping family. Ahead of The Osmonds: A New Musical arriving in Dublin, he talks to John Byrne about a pop phenomenon that was much more than the sum of his siblings' sparkling smiles.

Remember The Osmonds? If you're too young, ask your parents. They were an all-smiling, all-singing family group that are nowadays regarded as the first boyband.

But they were also the ones that gave the world varied musical moments such as Little Jimmy Osmond’s Long Haired Lover From Liverpool to the sublime and still relevant Crazy Horses - as well as the Boyzone breakthrough hit Love Me For a Reason.

But even aside from the above three songs, which range from pre-teen pop to rock to boy band ballad, the Osmonds brothers (and sometimes sister Marie) covered such a wide range of musical styles, they’re almost a genre on their own.

Early Osmonds: Donny, Jay, Merrill, Wayne, Alan, circa 1962/1963

So no wonder Jay Osmond, the band’s drummer who famously sang lead on Crazy Horses, decided a few years back that - hey! - maybe there’s a musical to be made from this story.

The Osmonds: A New Musical tells the story of the five brothers from Utah who were pushed into the spotlight as children and went on to superstardom, and the show arrives at Dublin’s Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in March.

And, as can be the case in show business, it’s a story that only seems believable because it’s true. You just couldn’t make this up and hope to convince an audience that it’s realistic. I mean, just consider the following:

From their star residency on the then huge TV series The Andy Williams Show from 1962 to 1969, to pop stars and Osmondmania (think: Beatlemania but with better teeth) from 1971 to 1975, to the arrival of The Donny & Marie Show, a popular variety TV show, from 1976 to 1979, The Osmonds lived a remarkable music life.

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Even after the mania that followed the band through the 1970s, they reinvented themselves as a country act in the 1980s - and that was after dabbling in the concept album/prog rock field with 1973’s ambitious The Plan.

In terms of numbers and nods, The Osmonds have sold over 100 million records worldwide and won 59 Gold and Platinum awards.

It’s no wonder Jay Osmond was determined to go beyond the hits to reveal the real family behind all these hits: parents George and Olive Osmond and their nine children: Virl, Tom, Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay, Donny, Marie and Jimmy.

So, walking into the Bord Gais Energy Theatre to meet the man himself was quite a singular experience. Especially as I’m old enough to have owned a copy of Crazy Horses way back then.

Jamie Chatterton, Danny Nattrass, Ryan Anderson, Joseph Peacock and Alex Lodge as The Osmonds

John Byrne: The Osmonds’ story goes back such a long way, Jay. Were you even old enough to walk when it all started?

Jay Osmond: That’s what the musical does too - it goes all the way back. It starts around 1963, when I was about five or six-years-old. And it ends around 2008. So it’s a big span. It’s been a lot of years.

But this particular musical started five years ago, when we were in Sweden. Bose Andersson, a great big producer there in Scandinavia, he said, I’ve always wanted to put your life on stage, in something like a living memoir.

And we thought about that, because we were writing my second book, and I was putting all these stories together about my life, so that’s when it started. Oh boy, it’s been an amazing journey putting it together.

It’s not just the story of a family, though - for fans, a lot of the attraction had to be about the songs and the music you produced as much as how you looked?

A lot of people wanted to know how the songs came along. How did the songs happen? Why did you do this song and not that song? Why did you do rock ’n’ roll then all of a sudden you did no rock ’n’ roll? Why did you back up Donny in his pop singing?

There were all these stories . . . and I wanted to tell the story because there are so many questions out there.

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The range of music genres you covered is ridiculous! From barber shop in your very early days to country, and on and on. There’s so much more to The Osmonds than being a boy band singing Love Me For A Reason . .

That’s what this musical does. It shows what The Osmonds was all about. And I think we got our training to do all genres on The Andy Williams Show.

Well, Walt Disney discovered us, basically. Then it takes about nine years of gruelling, hard work and discipline, learning different numbers. Every week we had to do something different.

A tap-dance number, a piano number, a banjo number, a saxophone number. Every week! And we didn’t even know how to do it the week before.

That show was huge in the 1960s - but you started off as singers before becoming a performing band. Can you tell me about that?

We were told to do a Beatles number, in 1964, when they first came out [to the USA], and we hadn’t even learned how to play our instruments. And we were saying to each other, oh you be the drummer, you pick up the bass - and that’s when I picked up the drums. And I had to learn to do a drum solo. In a week!

The Osmonds: A New Musical

But we all figured it out, because behind the training, we would always be on things, trying instruments. That’s when I said, Okay, I’ll do the drums. And It took with me. I loved the drums.

And Merrill picked up the bass and became an amazing bass player. Everything we did was a struggle, but there was progress. Hours and hours of rehearsal.

As you said, we did a lot of genres. One year, the year Crazy Horses came out and Puppy Love came out that same year. Talk about two different types of music!

But that’s the way The Osmonds were. Our identity was 'variety’, in our minds, because we were known as the variety acts of the Sixties.

And that led us into becoming a boy band, and we had this rivalry with the Jackson Five, and Michael [Jackson] said, ‘You win. You’re the first boy band. We had to watch you on The Andy Williams Show. You had to beat us.’

The story seems to hit a chord with fans of all ages . . . not just those who were a certain age in the 1970s?

The musical explains, in a fun way - there’s fun parts and sad parts in the show - but what I love the most is when people come up at half-time or after the show and say, I went back to when I was 15 years old and I relived it! You know how songs will take you back?

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And our audience span is pretty wide, and some are saying, I love your music and I’m just discovering it. Wow! This is cool! Crazy Horses - that was 50 years ago.

It shows what a family can do when you’re up against all odds. Especially when you’re told you’ll never make it in show business. You’re too clean. Or, you’ll never do this. When everything was impossible - but if you have a goal, you go for it.

My father said, if you guys want it enough, you’ll achieve it. Because he believed that with persistence and determination, you could do anything. He was really the backbone of the whole thing for us.

The Osmonds: A New Musical plays at Dublin's Bord Gáis Energy Theatre March 22 to 26. Tickets from €16.00 on sale through Ticketmaster.