Deborah Cox’s Musical
When one extraordinary woman steals the show, it is hard not to like it. Grammy-nominated Deborah Cox stars in The Bodyguard at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis until January 15th. The role was originally played by Whitney Houston in the 1992 film of the same title. The musical originated in London in 2012. It tells the story of Rachel Marron, one of the biggest pop stars of her time, using the music of Whitney Houston. Cox’s character struggles with staying protected in the public eye, but gets a new bodyguard to protect her. This compelling love story features all of Whitney Houston’s biggest hits including “How Will I Know,” “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” and of course, “I Will Always Love You” (with an outstanding performance by Deborah Cox).
Since the main character is a pop star, there are some invigorating dance numbers. There is an entire ensemble of dancers/singers who help carry the show almost as much as Cox does. Their energy prolonged throughout the entire show and helped the audience have a blast all the way through the end of the bows. The part that was disappointing about the cast were the characters who didn’t sing or dance. Judson Mills as Frank Farmer, the bodyguard, did not give an impressive performance. He was supposed to be tough but loveable, but it just came off as speaking monotone the whole time and occasionally giving a hug or two. However, Deborah Cox outshined the rest of the cast.
Cox brought a special light to the stage that is very rare to see in any actor. Her flawless vocal performance did not mimic Whitney Houston; she brought her own style to the timeless songs while still paying tribute to the iconic Whitney Houston. The other person who shined was the sister of the main character, played by Jasmin Richardson. She gave another flawless vocal performance in songs like “Saving All My Love for You.” Obviously, the best thing about this show is the singing.
The rest of the show is not as exciting as the singing. The lighting was disappointing and also quite distracting. It could have been some opening night flaws, but there were many moments when the actors were in insufficient lighting. This took away from the story almost as much as the sets did. Even though the movie is originally from 1992, the sets look too outdated and dull. They were fairly intricate but still not exciting enough to match the story. Other than the lights and sets that don’t add to the story, the costumes were amazing. Cox performed “I Will Always Love You” in a beautiful sparkly dress that makes her look perfect.
There are a few things about the show that were questionable, but overall, it is very high quality theatre. If you are on the fence of seeing this show, it is worth it just to see Deborah Cox sing for a few hours.