BWW Review: The Long Island Premiere of THE BODYGUARD at The Gateway
The dazzling 70th season at The Gateway continues with the Long Island premiere of The Bodyguard. Excellently directed by Keith Andrews, the production runs at the charming Bellport venue through July 20th. Indeed, this show is one not to miss.
Based on the 1992 movie, the tale centers on pop star Rachel who has a stalker. Her team hires Frank, a former Secret Service agent, as her bodyguard to which she grudgingly complies. Fans of the film are sure to enjoy the staged creation even with the differences from the movie.
Among the cast are Kimber Sprawl and Michael Shenefelt who strongly lead as Rachel and Frank, Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner's roles from the movie. Ms. Sprawl skillfully performs the bulk of the score filled with Houston's most beloved songs. Long Island native Matt Baguth is also a highlight as the stalker. In truth, the whole company is terrific, and it seems they're enjoying their time in the production.
An intriguing choice is the use of smartphones and taking "selfies." The story is from the early 1990s, and smartphones didn't become available until the 2000s. To add, "selfies" became mainstream just several years ago. However, I digress at this point. I'm not a millennial, and, in the end, it is fun and entertaining.
On the talented creative team, the set by Christopher and Justin Swader is well done. It is a bi-level stage with the majority of the action taking place on the lower level. The stalker's room is on the top level. Kim Hanson's top-notch lighting and Joe Greene's stunning costumes are also a highlight. A favorite of the audience is Rachel's "Queen Of The Night" outfit when she is "in concert." And, of course, it is always great to have a brilliant live orchestra this one headed up Alexander Rovang.
Do I recommend this production? Absolutely. In spite of the differences from the movie, this is a stirring production. Houston's songs are nostalgic, the stalker is super creepy, and the audience is engaged. It's an emotional rollercoaster, really. Combined with a stellar cast, this is an enjoyable night of theatre.