Disclaimer: I received tickets to The Bodyguard as opportunity through the Tampa Bay Bloggers and the Straz Center for the purpose of this review. The opinions shared are my own.
I do not remember much about the movie, The Bodyguard, but honestly not remembering the plot made the stage version even more enjoyable for me.
After receiving threatening mail, Frank Farmer is hired to protect diva pop star Rachel Marron. Obviously, the perfect plot for a production filled with pop music, love and murder.
Deborah Cox (Rachel Marron) steps up to the diva challenge with finesse and incredible chops. Seriously, the women brings down the house in her final number “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” and the audience discovers why Ms. Cox is the perfect pick in “I Will Always Love You”.
A diva casts a rather large shadow and in Rachel Marron’s shadow, we find an equally talented, yet undiscovered counterpart, Rachel’s sister, Nicki. Working as her assistant during the day, Nicki’s true talents are unveiled at a local dive bar at night as well as her interest in Frank Farmer.
If you’re still not sure if The Bodyguard is the musical for you, let me spell it out for you.
W – Whitney
For the true Whitney Houston fan, The Bodyguard is a must-see; all your favorite Whitney Houston hits are featured throughout the show. Heck, even if you’re not a Whitney fan, you need to see The Bodyguard just to imagine what it must have been like to see a larger than life diva live.
H – Humor
Small doses of comic relief pop up through the performance, which are welcomed and needed to offset the intense storyline. Watch for the karaoke scene; it’s my favorite fan girl comedic moment.
I – Intense
Scenes featuring The Stalker are truly creepy and very intense. At the start of the show, bullets are fired which caused me to jump out of my seat.
T – True Love
While the plot touches upon a love triangle and the love affair between a star and her bodyguard, the true love is represented by a mother’s love for her son and the bond between two sisters. Rachel will do anything to protect her son and save her sister and the audience feels this incredible love in “Jesus Loves Me”. Losing her sister softens Rachel and redefines her outlook on life.
N – Nailed It
Judson Mills (Frank Farmer) produces a carbon copy performance of Kevin Costner’s style and cadence. Deborah Cox delivers a performance that must bring a smile to Whitney’s face, as though the spotlight shines down from heaven.
Both Ms. Cox and Ms. Richardson deliver performances that will give you goosebumps. As the sister in the shadow, Jasmin Richardson (Nicki Marron) commands the spotlight during her solo numbers. Ms. Richardson also serves as an understudy for Rachel Marron. When you hear her sing, it’s superb casting; the two complement each other perfectly.
It should also be noted that Fletcher Marron played by Kevelin B. Jones III carries an outstanding performance that is on par with his adult counterparts. That boy can SING!
E – Entertainment
The Bodyguard hits the mark for the WOW factor. A diva is defined not only by her musical talents but also by the way she carries herself and her style. Rachel Marron’s costumes are truly red-carpet worthy. From the costumes to the elaborate sets and video presentations, the show delivers all the traditional Broadway razzle dazzle audiences love.
Y – Yearning
Deborah Cox’s final number leaves the audience salivating for more. Thankfully, the production provides an encore number with the entire cast singing and dancing to “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and the cast encourages the audience to sing, dance and clap along. Even when the house lights came up, the audience continued to dance through the aisles and into the lobby.