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BWW Review: The BODYGUARD at Paper Mill Playhouse is Thrilling

The Bodyguard is now making its North American premiere at Paper Mill Playhouse through January 1st. This thrilling musical theater production is based on Lawrence Kasdan's 1992 Warner Brothers film that starred Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. It has been adapted for the stage by Alexander Dinelaris. The show takes the hit movie's story about stardom, romance, and danger to a whole new level. The Bodyguard features fabulous direction by Thea Sharrock, dazzling choreography by Karen Bruce and an all-star cast that includes Grammy Award nominee, Deborah Cox. See it while it is being performed on the Millburn stage. It is a show that will go far.

In The Bodyguard, Frank Farmer, a former Secret Service agent, has been hired as a bodyguard to protect pop music superstar Rachel Marron. Rachel has received threats from an anonymous stalker. While she is determined to be independent, Rachel soon realizes that she and her young son Fletcher need protection. Frank and Rachel's relationship gets off to a rocky start and they hardly expect to fall in love. To complicate personal matters, Rachel's sister Nikki also falls for Frank. Anxieties run high as Rachel deals with a busy performance schedule and her Oscar nomination while the dangerous threats persist.

The cast of The Bodyguard is spectacular. Deborah Cox owns the role of Rachel Marron. Cox's portrayal of the glamorous pop star is absolutely breathtaking. Judson Mills is ideal in the part of Frank Farmer, a serious, take charge yet sincere individual. Jasmin Richardson captures the role of Rachel's conflicted sister, Nikki. Douglas Baldeo as Rachel's young son Fletcher is a real charmer. The thespians that play the members of Rachel's entourage include Alex Corrado as Tony Scibelli; Charles Gray as Bill Devaney; Jonathan Hadley as Sy Spector and Jorge Paniagua as the Stalker.

The talented ensemble rounds out the cast. They include Arielle Campbell, Brendon Chan, Jarid Faubel, Megan Elyse Fulmer, Emily Jenda, Alejandra Matos, Bradford Rahmlow, Sean Rozanski, Benjamin Rivera, Matthew Schmidt, Jaquez Andre Sims, Jaquez Andre Sims, Lauren Tanner and Naomi C. Walley. The Swings are Willie Dee and Maria Cristina Slye. Kevelin B. Jones III also plays the role of Fletcher.

While many of the musical numbers have been hit songs, they take on a stunning new life in the Paper Mill Playhouse production. The thrills start with the opening number "Queen of the Night" by Rachel and Ensemble. Outstanding pieces include "Saving All My Love" by Nikki; "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" by Rachel; "Run to You" by Rachel and Nikki; "I'm Every Woman" by Rachel and Ensemble" and the show's iconic song, "I Will Always Love You" by Rachel.

The Creative Team has done an excellent job of bringing The Bodyguard to the Paper Mill Playhouse stage with set and costume design by Tim Hatley; lighting design by Mark Henderson; sound design by Richard Brooker; video design by Duncan McLean; hair, wig and makeup design by Campbell Young Associates. Orchestrations are by Chris Egan; musical supervision by Richard Beadle and production musical supervision by Mike Dixon. Matthew Smedal conducts the live orchestra. The Production Stage Manager is Melissa Chacon.

We applaud Producing Artistic Director Mark. S. Hoebee and Managing Director, Todd Schmidt for making such an awe-inspiring show available to metro area audiences. Experience the glamour, passion and intrigue that is The Bodyguard.

The Bodyguard is on a limited run through Sunday, January 1, 2017 prior to the official national tour opening at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, MN, on January 10, 2017. Paper Mill Playhouse is located at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn. The show will be performed eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets are now on sale starting at $32. They may be purchased by calling 973.376.4343, at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office or online at Groups of 10 or more can receive up to a 40% discount and should call 973.315.1680 for information. Students may order $20 rush tickets over the phone or in person at the Box Office on the day of the performance. Paper Mill Playhouse's 2016-2017 season is sponsored by Investors Bank.

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

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From This Author Marina Kennedy