BWW Review: THE BODYGUARD at Starlight Theatre
If you want guaranteed show-stopping numbers create a musical with some of Whitney Houston's greatest hits. That's what Warner Brothers did when they released the movie THE BODYGUARD and what works the best in the touring production of the hit London show of the same name.
Deborah Cox plays Houston's character, Rachel Marron, a superstar who is being stalked by an unstable fan (the very menacing Jorge Paniagua). To keep safe, Marron hires bodyguard Frank Farmer (the handsome Judson Mills), and while the two don't get along at first, spoiler alert, they end up falling in love with each other.
Cox is definitely the highlight of the show; her powerhouse vocals brought the crowd to raucous cheers after each song. It has to be daunting taking on such an iconic woman's musical catalogue that includes "How Will I Know," "I'm Every Woman," and "I Wanna Dance with Somebody," but she doesn't try to sound exactly like the late Houston, instead using her own style to make her mark on the songs. The choreography by Karen Bruce and multiple costume changes also helped to make the numbers feel more like a concert than a musical.
While Cox sings most of the songs, Rachel's sister, played by Jasmin Richardson, uses her stellar vocals to perform "Saving All My Love" and, my favorite, "I Have Nothing." Proving that Richardson can hold her own next to Cox.
The show itself, adapted by book writer Alexander Dinelaris, could have used more work. The characters are one-dimensional and I'm still not sure the love connection between Marron and Farmer was earned after disliking each other so intensely, but the cast works with it and provides an entertaining two hours.
THE BODYGUARD plays at Starlight through the 13th. For tickets go to https://www.kcstarlight.com/events/event-detail-production/the-bodyguard.