The Bodyguard (musical)
Original London production poster
|Music||Songs recorded by Whitney Houston|
|Basis||1992 film The Bodyguard|
|Premiere||5 December 2012Adelphi Theatre –|
|Productions||2012 West End
2015 UK tour
The Bodyguard is a 2012 stage musical written by Alexander Dinelaris, based on the 1992 film The Bodyguard, with the score featuring songs recorded by Whitney Houston including "One Moment in Time", "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" and her cover version of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You". The show began previews at the Adelphi Theatre in London's West End, on 6 November 2012, with its opening night being held on 5 December 2012.
The musical is based on the 1992 film The Bodyguard which starred and featuring songs by Whitney Houston. The show was officially confirmed in February 2012 and following six years of development, producers confirmed the show would play London's Adelphi Theatre from November 2012. Costing around five million pounds to produce the show is written by Alexander Dinelaris, produced by Michael Harrison and David Ian directed by Thea Sharrock, set and costumes are designed by Tim Hatley, with lighting by Mark Henderson, sound by Richard Brooker, video projection by Duncan McLean, choreography by Arthur Pita, musical arrangements, orchestrations and underscore by Chris Egan
The show's book by Alexander Dinelaris brings the story forward to present day and changes the focus of the story to bring the character of Rachel Marron to the forefront rather than The Bodyguard. The script adapted from the original screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan also expands the role of Rachel Marron's sister Nicki. The stage musical like the original film features music by Whitney Houston which in addition to the original movie soundtrack adds the following additional Houston tracks So Emotional, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love for You, I'm Your Baby Tonight, How Will I Know, Oh Yes, All the Man That I Need, All at Once and I Wanna Dance with Somebody.
Following Whitney Houston's death the show's star Heather Headley considered pulling out of the role of Rachel Marron originated by Houston in the film. She later said "You don't want people to compare you to Whitney. I didn't want it before and especially not now after her passing. "I want people to come in and say this is Heather's version - this is Heather playing Rachel Marron and singing Whitney songs. "I am always trying to find a way to make them my own but still acknowledge and keep the integrity of her music."
West End (2012–2014)
The Bodyguard's premiere production opened in London's West End on 5 December 2012, following previews at the Adelphi Theatre from 6 November 2012. The production which initially was booking until April 2013, opening cast included Grammy and Tony Award winner Heather Headley as Rachel Marron, Lloyd Owen as Frank Farmer and Debbie Kurup as Nicki Marron. A month after opening with advance sales of more than four million pounds booking was extended until 28 September 2013. Headley departed the show at the start of August with her alternate Gloria Onitiri taking over the role short term until 7 September 2013. From 9 September the show's first major cast change took place with soul artist Beverley Knight taking over the role of Rachel Marron and Tristan Gemmill as Frank Farmer. The show initially extended to March after Knight took over but later extended booking to 30 August 2014. In March 2014, it was announced that The X Factor winner Alexandra Burke will take over from Knight on 2 June. A typical London performance runs two hours and 25 minutes, including one interval of 20 mins.
The show will close at the Adelphi Theatre on 30 August 2014, to make way for Made in Dagenham having come to the end of its contract with the theatre. The production had explored the option of transferring to the nearby Aldwych Theatre, but as the venue had 350 less seats this was decided against. Commenting on the closure one of the producers Michael Harrison said “We always knew we would have to leave the Adelphi to make way for another show and we looked at length for an alternative theatre as the business has been phenomenal. The only other theatre we could have moved to, and we rang more numbers than you could imagine, had 300 less seats. It’s a big show, there are nearly 30 people in the company, a 10-piece orchestra, automation, more computers and technical staff than you can imagine, so it can’t just run cheap and cheerfully like certain other West End shows.”
UK tour (2015–)
A tour of the United Kingdom will commence at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton in February 2015. A new set will be built for the touring production. The tour is then scheduled to visit Aberdeen and Newcastle, with further venues to be announced.
The musical uses a ten-member orchestra consisting of keyboard, piano, guitar, bass, drums, percussion, flugel, trumpet, saxophone, flute and clarinet.
Principal roles and cast members
Cast in order of appearance:
|Characters||Original West End actor|
|Rachel Marron||Heather Headley|
|Rachel Marron (alternate)||Gloria Onitiri|
|Frank Farmer||Lloyd Owen|
|Bill Devaney||Ray Shell|
|Tony Scibelli||Nicolas Colicos|
|The Stalker||Mark Letheren|
|Fletcher||Luis Buddy, Caius Duncombe, Jaydon Fowora Knight, Kwame Kandekore, Taylor Lockhart, Malaki Paul|
|Sy Spector||Sean Chapman|
|Nicki Marron||Debbie Kurup|
|Terry Minella||Robert Jezek|
|Ray Court||Oliver Le Sueur|
|Maria Ramirez||Janet Kumah|
|Herb Farmer||Mark McKerracher|
- Notable West End replacements
- Rachel Marron –Gloria Onitiri, Beverley Knight, Alexandra Burke
- Rachel Marron (alternate) –Joelle Moses
- Frank Farmer – Tristan Gemmill
- Bill Devaney – Richard Lloyd King
- Tony Scibelli – Stephen Marcus
- The Stalker – Michael Rouse
- Sy Spector – Dominic Taylor
- Ray Court – Stuart Reid
The West End performance of The Bodyguard has received generally positive reviews from critics. Paul Coltas, from Time Out magazine opens his critique on a positive: “There is surely an excruciatingly tacky musical adaptation of the Whitney Houston-starring romantic thriller 'The Bodyguard' to be made. But this is not it.” Charles Spencer from the Telegraph echoes Coltas’ initial reservations in the opening of his review but ultimately praises the director’s work (Thea Sharrock), saying “Her production, spectacularly and ingeniously designed by Tim Hatley, is far more enjoyable than the movie.”
Libby Purves, from The Times described it as giving “throbbing new life to that thin story, half gig, half thriller.” Best of Theatre commented on the stage adaptation saying “There is no denying that these songs really are some of the most energetic and catchy pop songs ever written and they have been cleverly weaved into the narrative of the musical”, and London Theatre’s writer, Peter Brown praised the overall production despite the character and stories stating “I found Thea Sharrock's production incredibly slick in terms of the design and functionality, and the singing and songs are great. But overall, I felt a little disappointed with the lack of character and story detail.”
There was also some negative critics including Michael Billington from The Guardian, who said that the musical was "one more example of the necrophiliac musical morbidly attracted to a cinematic corpse".
Awards and nominations
Original London production
|2013||Whatsonstage.com Awards||Best New Musical||Won|
|Best Actress in a Musical||Heather Headley||Nominated|
|Best Actor in a Musical||Lloyd Owen||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress in a Musical||Debbie Kurup||Nominated|
|Best Director||Thea Sharrock||Nominated|
|Best Set Designer||Tim Hatley||Nominated|
|Laurence Olivier Award||Best New Musical||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Musical||Heather Headley||Nominated|
|Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical||Debbie Kurup||Nominated|
|Best Set Design||Tim Hatley||Nominated|
|Evening Standard Award||Best Night Out||Nominated|
|2014||Whatsonstage.com Awards||Best Takeover in a Role||Beverley Knight||Nominated|
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