The Bodyguard (musical)

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The Bodyguard
The Bodyguard musical.jpg
Original London production poster
Music Songs recorded by Whitney Houston
Book Alexander Dinelaris
Basis 1992 film The Bodyguard
Premiere 5 December 2012 (2012-12-05) – Adelphi Theatre
Productions 2012 West End
2015 UK tour
2015 Utrecht
2016 North American 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".[1] 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[2] which starred and featuring songs by Whitney Houston.[3] The show was officially confirmed in February 2012[4][5] and following six years of development,[6] producers confirmed the show would play London's Adelphi Theatre from November 2012.[7] Costing around five million pounds to produce[8] the show is written by Alexander Dinelaris, produced by Michael Harrison and David Ian[9] 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,[10] choreography by Arthur Pita,[11] musical arrangements, orchestrations and underscore by Chris Egan[12]

The show's book by Alexander Dinelaris brings the story forward to present day[13] and changes the focus of the story to bring the character of Rachel Marron to the forefront rather than The Bodyguard.[14] The script adapted from the original screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan[15] also expands the role of Rachel Marron's sister Nicki.[16] The stage musical like the original film features music by Whitney Houston[17] which in addition to the original movie soundtrack[18] 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,[19] Oh Yes, All the Man That I Need, All at Once and I Wanna Dance with Somebody.[18][20]

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.[21] 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."[6]


West End (2012–2014)[edit]

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.[22] The production which initially was booking until April 2013,[23] opening cast included Grammy and Tony Award winner Heather Headley as Rachel Marron, Lloyd Owen as Frank Farmer and Debbie Kurup as Nicki Marron.[24] A month after opening with advance sales of more than four million pounds[25] booking was extended until 28 September 2013.[26] Headley departed the show at the start of August[27] with her alternate Gloria Onitiri[28] taking over the role short term until 7 September 2013.[29] 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.[30] The show initially extended to March after Knight took over but later extended booking to 30 August 2014.[31] In March 2014, it was announced that The X Factor winner Alexandra Burke[32] will take over from Knight on 2 June.[33] A typical London performance runs two hours and 25 minutes, including one interval of 20 mins.[34]

The show closed at the Adelphi Theatre on 29 August 2014,[35][36] to make way for Made in Dagenham[37] having come to the end of its contract with the theatre.[38] 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.[39] 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.”[38]

UK and Ireland tour (2015–)[edit]

A tour of the United Kingdom was to commence at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton in February 2015.[40] A new set will be built for the touring production.[41] The tour is then scheduled to visit Glasgow, Aberdeen, Newcastle, Wolverhampton, Bradford, Cardiff, Plymouth, Dublin, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Sheffield, Oxford and Manchester.[42] Alexandra Burke will reprise her role as Rachel Marron from the West End production, with Pop Idol and Thriller – Live actress Zoe Birkett playing the role at matinee performances.[43]

Future productions[edit]

The first non-English production will premiere fall 2015 in The Netherlands. The show will play at the Utrecht Beatrix Theater. Singer Romy Monteiro, who competed in the 2014 season of The Voice of Holland, will star as Rachel Marron, with the role of Frank Farmer being shared by Dutch actors Mark van Eeuwen en Dave Mantel. Carolina Dijkuizen will portay Rachel's sister, Nicki.

According to one of the musical's producer's David Ian, productions are planned for Australia, Broadway, Germany and the Far East.[30]

On May 15, 2015, it was announced that the show will make its North American Debut on a National Tour in the Fall of 2016. The tour will star Grammy nominated superstar Deborah Cox as Rachel Marron.


Musical Numbers[edit]


The musical uses a ten-member orchestra consisting of 3 keyboards, 2 guitars, bass guitar, drums, percussion, trumpet/flugel and woodwind (tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet & ewi).[44]

Principal roles and cast members[edit]

Cast in order of appearance:

Characters Original West End actor[45][46][47] Original UK tour actor
Rachel Marron Heather Headley Alexandra Burke
Rachel Marron (alternate) Gloria Onitiri Zoe Birkett
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, Joshua-James Thomas
Rory David Page
Sy Spector Sean Chapman
Nicki Marron Debbie Kurup
Douglas James Wooldbridge
Terry Minella Robert Jezek
Ray Court Oliver Le Sueur
Jimmy Gil Kolirin
Maria Ramirez Janet Kumah
Herb Farmer Mark McKerracher
Skip James Wooldbridge
Notable West End replacements

Critial reception[edit]

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.”[51] 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.”[52]

Libby Purves, from The Times described it as giving “throbbing new life to that thin story, half gig, half thriller.”[53] 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”,[54] 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.”[55]

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".[56]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original London production[edit]

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2013 Awards Best New Musical[57] Won[58]
Best Actress in a Musical Heather Headley[57] Nominated[58]
Best Actor in a Musical Lloyd Owen[57] Nominated[58]
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical Debbie Kurup[57] Nominated[58]
Best Director Thea Sharrock[57] Nominated[58]
Best Set Designer Tim Hatley[57] Nominated[58]
Laurence Olivier Award Best New Musical[59] Nominated
Best Actress in a Musical Heather Headley[59] Nominated
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical Debbie Kurup[59] Nominated
Best Set Design Tim Hatley[59] Nominated
Evening Standard Award Best Night Out[60] Nominated[60]
2014 Awards Best Takeover in a Role Beverley Knight[61] Nominated[62]


  1. ^ "The Bodyguard musical comes to the West End". London Evening Standard. 1 May 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Lloyd Owen on turning The Bodyguard into a West End musical". Radio Times. 4 December 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "Stage Version of Costner/Houston Flick The Bodyguard in the Works". 5 June 2009. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  4. ^ "Whitney Houston film The Bodyguard to be turned into West End musical". The Metro. 20 February 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  5. ^ Trueman, Matt (20 February 2012). "The Bodyguard: musical of Whitney Houston film to open in West End". The Guardian (London). 20 February 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Bodyguard musical star Heather Headley wants to make Whitney role her own". BBC. 2 May 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "Whitney Houston Bodyguard musical debuts at West End's Adelphi, 6 Nov". Whats On Stage. 29 March 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  8. ^ Bamigboye, Baz (8 November 2012). "Why we'll always love Heather... The Bodyguard musical set to be a smash hit". (London: Daily Mail). Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  9. ^ "The Bodyguard musical confirms December opening at Adelphi". The Stage. 1 May 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  10. ^ "Film to Stage". Stage Directions. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  11. ^ "New Musical The Bodyguard Begins Nov. 6 at London's Adelphi Theatre; Heather Headley Stars". Playbill. 6 November 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  12. ^ Bamigboye, Baz (5 October 2012). "Heather Headley makes the Bodyguard her own". London: Mail Online. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  13. ^ Brantley, Ben (18 March 2013). "‘Bodyguard’ and Its Diva, Now Onstage". (New York Times). Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  14. ^ "The Bodyguard review Adelphi theatre, London". The Guardian. 6 December 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  15. ^ "Heather Headley Offered Leading Role in The Bodyguard Stage Musical". Playbill. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  16. ^ "The Bodyguard musical earns a mixed critical response". (BBC News). 6 December 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  17. ^ "Song List of Whitney Houston Hits for The Bodyguard Musical, Starring Heather Headley, Revealed". 23 March 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  18. ^ a b "The Bodyguard [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]". All Music. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  19. ^ "T&T’s Heather Headley stars in The Bodyguard". Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  20. ^ a b c "The Bodyguard Musical Sound Track". Shows In London. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  21. ^ "Heather Headley Almost Exited The Bodyguard Musical After Whitney Houston’s Death". 5 October 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  22. ^ "The Bodyguard Musical Sets West End Dates; Lloyd Owen Joins Cast". 1 May 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  23. ^ "Trinidad’s Heather Headley stars in The Bodyguard, opening this week in London". Truly Caribbean. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  24. ^ "Casting: New recruits announced for The Bodyguard". Whats On Stage. 3 August 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  25. ^ "THE BODYGUARD Advance Hits 4 Million Pounds in London". Broadway World. 17 January 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  26. ^ Bamigboye, Baz (17 January 2013). "Watch out for...". (London: Daily Mail). Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  27. ^ a b "Introducing...". The Bodyguard. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  28. ^ "Full cast announced for The Bodyguard at Adelphi theatre". London Theatre. 3 August 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  29. ^ "Are Beverley Knight and Tristan Gemmill the new Bodyguard stars? We think so!". Whats On Stage. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  30. ^ a b "British Soul Singer Beverley Knight and Tristan Gemmill to Take Over in West End's The Bodyguard". Playbill. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  31. ^ "The Bodyguard extends West End run". The Stage. 18 November 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  32. ^ "Alexandra Burke to star in The Bodyguard stage show". (BBC News). 28 March 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  33. ^ "U.K. "X Factor" Winner Alexandra Burke to Take Over in the West End's The Bodyguard". Playbill. 28 March 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  34. ^ "The Bodyguard a new musical". Adelphi Theatre programme: p25. April 2013. 
  35. ^ "The Bodyguard". London Theatres. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  36. ^ "Alexandra Burke Leads The Bodyguard". Official London Theatre. 28 March 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  37. ^ "Bodyguard makes way for Made in Dagenham at Adelphi". Whats On Stage. 21 February 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  38. ^ a b "The Bodyguard Musical coming to Newcastle's Theatre Royal". Chronicle Live. 25 April 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  39. ^ "Will Sophie dance over to London?". Daily Mail. 28 March 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  40. ^ "Alexandra Burke cast in The Bodyguard tour". The Stage. 17 October 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  41. ^ "The Bodyguard musical opens its UK tour at The Mayflower in Southampton in 2015". Southern Daily Echo. 25 April 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  42. ^ "The Bodyguard tour". Musical Theatre News. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  43. ^ "Alexandra Burke leads Bodyguard tour". Whats On Stage. 17 October 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  44. ^ "The Bodyguard the Musical". Adelphi Theatre programme: p27. March 2014. 
  45. ^ "The Bodyguard Opens Tonight". David Ian Productions. 5 December 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  46. ^ "Full Cast Announced for The Bodyguard Musical, Starring Heather Headley, Lloyd Owen". Theatre Mania. 3 August 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  47. ^ "The Bodyguard a new musical". Adelphi Theatre programme: p24. April 2013. 
  48. ^ "Beverley Knight to star in The Bodyguard". 14 June 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  49. ^ Dex, Robert (28 March 2014). "'I am a massive fan of Whitney Houston!' Alexandra Burke succeeds Beverley Knight in lead role in The Bodyguard musical". (London). Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  50. ^ a b c d e f g "Tristan Gemmill is Beverley Knight's Bodyguard from September". Whats On Stage. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  51. ^ The Bodyguard | Adelphi Theatre | Plays and shows | Time Out London
  52. ^ Spencer, Charles (6 December 2012). "The Bodyguard, Adelphi Theatre, review". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  53. ^ The Bodyguard, Adelphi, WC2 | The Times
  54. ^ The Bodyguard Review - Best of Theatre News
  55. ^ Review of The Bodyguard at the Adelphi Theatre
  56. ^ "'The Bodyguard' Musical Opens in London to Rave Reviews". Billboard. 6 December 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  57. ^ a b c d e f "Whitney Houston musical, The Bodyguard, up for six awards". (London: The Telegraph). 7 December 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  58. ^ a b c d e f "Winners announced of the 2013 Awards". Awards. 17 February 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  59. ^ a b c d Bowie-Sell, Daisy (26 March 2013). "Olivier Award nominations 2013". (London: The Telegraph). Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  60. ^ a b "Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2013: Book of Mormon voted Best Night Out in London". London Evening Standard. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013. 
  61. ^ "The full 2014 WhatsOnStage Awards shortlists". Whats On Stage. 6 December 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  62. ^ Singh, Anita (23 February 2014). "Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint win at WhatsOnStage Awards". (London: The Telegraph). Retrieved 23 February 2014. 

External links[edit]