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BWW #TBT CD Review: THE BODYGUARD – THE MUSICAL (World Premiere Cast Recording) May Become Your New Guilty Pleasure

BWW #TBT CD Review: THE BODYGUARD – THE MUSICAL (World Premiere Cast Recording) May Become Your New Guilty Pleasure
Cover art courtesy of First Night Records/R.E.D.

To call THE BODYGAURD - THE MUSICAL good would be kind. But, being completely honest, the theatrical confection is simply high-octane fun. The show's book, based on the script for the Whitney Houston cinematic vehicle, is as flimsy and full of cheese as anyone could expect. Where the show excels is its score, which is essentially Houston's greatest hits and the songs from the film shoehorned into the production. So, it's no surprise that First Night Records/R.E.D.'s release of THE BODYGUARD - THE MUSICAL (World Premiere Cast Recording) is a treasure trove of excellently sung covers of iconic pop hits.

On the album, Alexandra Burke, a previous star of the London cast production and winner of the fifth season of the British television series "The X-Factor," stars as Rachel Marron. Across the album's 20 tracks she avoids mimicking Houston's indelible performances while paying smartly homage to the beloved diva. With tenacity, clarity, lush riffs, and sultry tones, Burke's radiant instrument sparkles on every track. Standout performances include her plaintive and sentimental rendition of "The Greatest Love of All," her emotionally charged version of "I Have Nothing," her devastatingly sensual take on "All the Man That I Need," and her poised and dignified interpretation of "I Will Always Love You."

As Rachel's sister Nikki, Melissa James (who played the role on the original UK tour) shines in her limited solo moments as well. Her jazzy take on "Saving All My Love For You" is heartfelt and sweet. She starts the track softly and builds to an impressive and powerful belt. Likewise, her "All at Once" is beautiful in its sincerity and her ability to convey heartbreak.

Far from perfect and rather campy, THE BODYGAURD - THE MUSICAL is entertainment for the sake of being entertaining. The album follows suit, and stands on its own as a delightful collection of music you already know. If you're willing to hear someone other than Whitney Houston sing these tunes, give the record a spin and enjoy it for what it is. If you're like me, this album may just become your new favorite guilty pleasure.

You can currently catch THE BODYGAURD - THE MUSICAL in Atlanta, where it is playing the Fox Theatre through April 2, 2017. For more information about the ongoing US tour, please visit www.thebodyguardmusical.com. You can purchase the album, which was released in the US on November 18, 2016, from iTunes or Amazon.

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