BWW Review: THE BODYGUARD is Pure Entertainment at the Eccles
The national tour of THE BODYGUARD: THE MUSICAL has arrived at the Eccles Theater with drama, suspense, upbeat dance numbers, and stirring power ballads--pure entertainment in its many forms.
THE BODYGUARD: THE MUSICAL (book by Alexander Dinelaris) is based on the Warner Brothers film written by Lawrence Kasdan and starring Whitney Houston. It features the music from the hit soundtrack, as well as a number of other Houston favorites. Music and film star Rachel Marron has a reached a defining moment in her career, but when an anonymous stalker threatens her and her son, she must deal with the restrictions placed on her by intriguing new bodyguard, Frank Farmer.
Art imitates life as multi-platinum recording artist and actress Deborah Cox stars as multi-platinum recording artist and actress Rachel Marron. With range befitting the diverse elements of the material, Cox becomes the character as she displays impressive acting chops and explosive, yet controlled vocals.
At the reviewed performance, understudy Naomi C. Walley played the role of Rachel's sister, Nicki (usually played by Jasmin Richardson). Her acting and singing are both technically remarkable and filled with passion.
The dance numbers, choreographed by Karen Bruce, are enjoyable and well performed, and they never seem gratuitous.
The arresting set design by Tim Hatley leverages a simple setup to effectively realize many different locations with subtle alterations. The quality and detail of the set pieces is significant and unexpected.
The thrilling lighting design by Mark Henderson is wonderfully exciting and energetic for Rachel's onstage performances, but it also brings a cool cinematic realism to the real-life drama.
THE BODYGUARD: THE MUSICAL plays the Eccles Theater for a limited engagement through Sunday, December 10, 2017. For tickets, call ArtTix at 801-355-ARTS (2787) or visit www.artsaltlake.org.