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
2016 West End Revival
2016 US 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.
- 1 Background
- 2 Productions
- 3 Music
- 4 Principal roles and cast members
- 5 Critical reception
- 6 Awards and nominations
- 7 References
- 8 External links
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 closed at the Adelphi Theatre on 29 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 and Ireland Tour (2015–2016)
A tour of the United Kingdom commenced at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton in February 2015. A new set was be built for the touring production. The production also included a new Whitney Houston song, Million Dollar Bill. The tour visited Glasgow, Aberdeen, Newcastle, Wolverhampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Bradford, Cardiff, Plymouth, Dublin, Bristol, Birmingham, Southend, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Sheffield, Oxford and Manchester. Alexandra Burke reprised 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 for the first half of the tour. Stuart Reid played Frank Farmer. After Zoe Birkett left the production, singer Carole Stennett played Rachel Marron at the matinee performances for the remainder of the tour. The tour ended on June 27, 2016.
The first non-English production had its first try-out on September 12, 2015 in the Netherlands. The show currently plays at the Utrecht Beatrix Theater and had its premiere on the 27th of September. This production uses all-new costume, set, lighting and sound designs (sound design by Gareth Owen) and includes the new song that was also included in the UK and Ireland tour.
Singer Romy Monteiro, who competed in the 2014 season of The Voice of Holland, stars as Rachel Marron, with the role of Frank Farmer being shared by Dutch actors Mark van Eeuwen and Dave Mantel. Actor Miro Kloosterman was announced on January 25, 2016 as the third first cast Frank Farmer. Starting mid-February, he now shares the role with Van Eeuwen and Mantel.
Carolina Dijkuizen portrays the role of Rachel's sister, Nicki Marron, until September 2016, after which singer Nurlaila Karim will take over the role. April Darby performs the role of Rachel Marron twice a week, while understudies Samantha Klots and Tjindjara Metschendorp portray the role when both singers are unable to perform.
The other main cast includes Nickelodeon presenter Patrick Martens as Sy Spector, Ruurt de Maesschalck as Bill Devaney, model and actor Bram Blankestijn als The Stalker, Zjon Smaal as Tony Scibelli and Robbert van den Bergh as Ray Court (who, in this version, is slightly based on the character Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds). Roy Kullick will take over the role of Ray Court starting on July 25, 2016.
In November 2015 Bodyguard made its German debut in the Musical Dome in Cologne. The show will presumably run until 2017.
German singer and actress Patricia Meeden, who was a contestant of The Voice of Germany plays the role of Rachel Marron. Jürgen Fischer portrays Frank Farmer and South African actress Tertia Botha plays Nicky Marron. The other main cast includes American musical actor Dennis Kozeluh as Bill Devaney, Jadran Malkovich as Sy Spector, Tom Viehöfer als The Stalker, Christian Peter Hauser as Tony Scibelli and Michael Clauder as Ray Court.
West End Revival (2016–)
Following completion of the first UK tour, the production is scheduled to transfer to the West End's Dominion Theatre, from 15 July 2016, booking for a limited run until 7 January 2017. Beverley Knight will reprise her role as Rachel Marron and will be joined by Ben Richards as Frank Farmer.
US Tour (2016–)
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.
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).
Principal roles and cast members
|Characters||Original West End actor||Original UK tour actor||West End Revival|
|Rachel Marron||Heather Headley||Alexandra Burke||Beverley Knight|
|Rachel Marron (alternate)||Gloria Onitiri||Zoe Birkett||Carole Stennett|
|Frank Farmer||Lloyd Owen||Stuart Reid||Ben Richards|
|Bill Devaney||Ray Shell||Mensah Bediako||Mark Holden|
|Tony Scibelli||Nicolas Colicos||Siôn Lloyd||Alex Andreas|
|The Stalker||Mark Letheren||Mike Denman||Matthew Stathers|
|Fletcher||Luis Buddy, Caius Duncombe, Jaydon Fowora Knight, Kwame Kandekore, Taylor Lockhart, Malaki Paul, Joshua-James Thomas||Elliot Aubrey, Jhayheim Davis, Mark Jones, Xhanti Mbonzongwana, Chiesa Musonda, Seito Smith|
|Sy Spector||Sean Chapman||Adam Venus|
|Nicki Marron||Debbie Kurup||Melissa James||Rachel John|
|Terry Minella||Robert Jezek|
|Ray Court||Oliver Le Sueur||Glen Fox|
|Maria Ramirez||Janet Kumah|
|Herb Farmer||Mark McKerracher||DNA|
- 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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