BWW Review: THE BODYGUARD: THE MUSICAL at White Plains Performing Arts Center
While the "Avengers, Endgame" movie is breaking records and bedazzling audiences with superhuman fireworks at the local movie theaters, another impressive pyrotechnic feat is taking place. White Plains Performing Arts Center is currently presenting "The Bodyguard, the Musical" in a limited engagement. With the Whitney Houston catalog at its disposal, this show blows the roof off the theatre with vocal special effects rivaling the power of any Marvel hero.
It certainly helps that musical director Stephen Ferri, and Director Frank Portonova have assembled a cast and crew that never condescends to the goofy plot lifted from the 1992 movie, written by Lawrence Kasdan. The movie was created to showcase Ms. Houston and Kevin Costner at their dreamiest. Yes, it was fluff, but it certainly was a sign of the times when those two stars exploded on the screen with sheer chemistry and over-the-top musical moments. It also was the first interracial onscreen romance to simply ignore that genre.
The musical keeps a lot of the familiar dialogue intact and bumps up Nikki Marron (the bitter, yet
talented sister of superstar Rachel Marron) to create more dramatic rivalry for Frank Farmer's (the Bodyguard's) affection-hokey, for sure. This "Bodyguard" is like "Mamma Mia" in how it interpolates Ms. Houston's biggest hits in pivotal plot moments, but any show that gives me a version of "Run to You" with vocal harmonies and a reprise is well worth the price of admission.
LaToya London was a former contestant on "American Idol." As Rachel Marron, she shows why she originally got the golden ticket. In vocal control and pacing, Ms. London never tries to mimic Ms. Houston, but gives her own impressive stylings. Cecilia Snow, as Nicki Marron, is certainly no shrinking violet, and delivers an Act One 11' o'clock rendition of "Saving All My Love for You." It could have closed the first act and then some. Sean Hayden as Frank Farmer, made for a dashing leading man and even had a glimmer of a vocal moment in the first act - it is kind of shame they did not give him more to sing, but his acting and chemistry crackled with the two sisters.
The WPPAC continues to impress with its set design and production values. The staging of the ensemble and the interesting choice to have pit singers added to a robust musical sound design. If you are looking to lose yourself in a time when musicals made you smile instead of think, "The Bodyguard, the Musical" is not a bad way to spend a few hours.
THE BODYGUARD is playing at White Plains Performing Arts Center from April 26 to May 12, 2019.
For tickets and more information, please visit https://wppac.com/shows/the-bodyguard/