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Editorial: From Donny to Troy...

My sister wanted to become a Mormon.

Not that she'd had a religious epiphany that changed her life in the early 1970s.

She was in love with Donny Osmond, like thousands of other young girls who swooned when the young singer first hit the music scene.

My sister figured her odds of becoming Mrs. Donny were greatly enhanced if she converted to the Osmond family's religious denomination.

As she waited for her opportunity to sweep Donny off his feet, my sister and her friends constructed an Osmond shrine in our dark, two-car garage. They hung up pictures of Donny (and his less desirable brothers) and would spend hours singing songs in their make-shift clubhouse. They even kissed Donny's pictures when the spirit moved them. It was all part of being members of the club.

My brother and I couldn't understand all the fuss. What was so great about the guy?

Despite all the power of positive thinking, it never worked out for my sister -- the Mormon conversion nor the "Mrs. Donny Osmond" dream.

I was reminded of the big Donny craze of thirty years ago this past Christmas when my youngest daughter declared her interest in attending "High School Musical On Ice" at the Xcel Center in St. Paul.

It was her birthday, and she and a friend wanted to check out the show.

My wife bought the tickets, with the intention of taking the girls for a teenybopper Saturday filled with everything "High School Musical."

In the end, my wife couldn't go. I was stuck with the assignment -- a 47-year-old man in an arena filled with screaming girls. It was my family's 1970s-era garage all over again, only much more money was being spent on Troy Bolton (a.k.a. teen actor Zac Efron) pictures and t-shirts than my sister spent on Osmond stuff.

To be fair, it wasn't just teenage and pre-teen girls who were all pumped up about the show. There were a number of moms (probably former Donny, David Cassidy and Bobby Sherman fans when in their teens) who did a fair amount of screaming that day. The mom on my left was mouthing all the words to the now popular songs.

As I soaked in the "High School Musical Love Fest," it dawned on me that young girls must be genetically wired to adore the hottest new guy on the Hollywood and television scene.

My sister and her friends proved it, and my wife even admits to early crushes on Paul McCartney and Prince Charles.

My daughter, it seems, is just continuing that right of passage from childhood into womanhood.

She's got the pictures hanging on her wall, although she doesn't admit to kissing any images of Zac Efron just yet. She's got most of the songs from High School Musical I and II memorized, and she's been buying teen magazines that have any mention of her favorite musical on the cover.

But at least with the current HSM craze, my youngest is not thinking about a religious conversion. Maybe she would, however, if she knew Efron's denominational preference.