Walking into the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis last night, there appeared to be a mutual lack of excitement coming from the students walking around before the start of The Bodyguard. I didn’t know much about the show at all, having never seen the movie, and I don’t listen to much Whitney Houston, so, unlike every other show this season, I really had no idea what to expect. When the initial gunshot went off, I was terrified and riveted and immediately pulled into the story.
The captivating hook was immediately followed by Rachel Marron’s concert where she and her dancers sang “Queen of the Night”. The number was an excellent preview of every element that made this show captivating.. The stunning choreography, done by Karen Bruce, and the wonderful dancing combined with the technical effect of the strobe lights and smoke really brought the illusion of a concert to life. I really liked how the “pop” style of dancing meshed its way in with classical styles to bring the world of Whitney Houston to the world of musical theater and it was really interesting to watch that in-between-area.
One of the strongest aspects of this show were the vocals, particularly from the female leads. I have never listened to the music of Deborah Cox, so I was concerned that she wouldn’t live up to Houston’s legacy, but she did an amazing job of maintaining the incredibly difficult vocals throughout the show. Cox’s fame, though present, must not overshadow Jasmin Richardson, who played Rachel’s sister, Nicki. There was a beautiful silence following her performance of “Saving All my Love” before the audience erupted into applause, which, to me, is a sure sign of a powerful performance.
The technical elements in this production also played a large role in making this show what it was. For components like The Stalker’s appearances, they happen so infrequently for such a short amount of time that it could be difficult to interpret what is going on without the help of technology. Frequently, when The Stalker appeared on stage or was mentioned, there would be a projection on the screen of what he was doing that tied into the dialogue. This really helped me, as an audience member unfamiliar with the show, follow the plot, as it can get confusing sometimes.
Overall, the show was very entertaining, although difficult to follow at times. The initial gunshot in the beginning was effective in captivating the audience, but didn’t seem to serve any purpose other than to grab our attention. When Nicki was shot, Frank, the bodyguard, ran out to find the shooter and we heard several gunshots, yet in the next scene, both Frank and The Stalker were still alive and uninjured without any mention of the gunshots. With the exception of these few unclear moments, this musical was entertaining and passionate, filling the Orpheum with power and incredible talent. Anyone looking for a fun night to relive the wonderful music of Whitney Houston, The Bodyguard was an impressive and enjoyable production and will be at the Orpheum Theatre until January 15th.