...And it kinda delivered. This show, based on the iconic 1992 thriller starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, had breathtaking solo performances, innovative video design, and a legendary finale, but the characterization and duets/trios in The Bodyguard failed to give me chills- besides the kind created by jump scares. Overall, the show was a fun way to spend a Tuesday night, but had a clunky delivery that only a fan of the movie could love.
It is not surprising that the music was best part of The Bodyguard, but even the show’s crowning jewel sometimes missed the mark. Any songs with a soloist and ensemble were absolutely phenomenal, but the duets/trios sounded like sing-offs. During songs like “Saving All My Love” and “I’m Every Woman,” I was utterly blown away by the sheer artistry and vocal control shown by Deborah Cox and Jasmin Richardson (the Marron sisters.) Watching Cox lounge on a loveseat during her solo in “Run To You,” as if singing with effortless perfection was an everyday task, I just about died of jealousy. However, Cox and Richardson blended together about as well as oil and water. These impressive performers refused to blend at all during their joint songs, including “Run To You,” which was not only disappointing to hear in such a high-caliber setting, but was also annoying because (as my choir teacher put it,) “sisters are supposed to blend!” Furthermore, Douglas Baldeo’s (Fletcher’s) singing was painfully forced and nasal. The poor kid stuck out like a sore thumb during “Jesus Loves Me,” in what was supposed to be an emotional moment, but fell flat due to distractingly poor musicianship. Although Baldeo's performance was not entirely his fault since he is so young, I mention it because he deserves a new vocal coach that will not wreck his voice in an attempt to make him sound like a fog horn with a specialization in musical theater.
One aspect of this show that stuck out in a positive way was the incorporation of video clips- like what one would see in a movie- into the musical. Seeing the ominous stalker’s profile on a big screen directly above his true form, the actor and projection moving in unison, was eerie and dare I say it- awesome. This brief use of technology, designed by Dunclan McLean, recreated the movie experience without infringing on the live performance.
However, not all facets of The Bodyguard were worth resurrecting. Although the source material did not have very innovative characterization, none of the characters in the musical felt tangible- unless the archetypes they blatantly fell into were considered realistic. Every character had a worn-out stereotype, from the angelic child (Fletcher) to the all-sacrificing detective (Tony.)
To be honest, though, despite this show’s shortcomings, it is worth seeing just for the finale, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” I had so much fun dancing during those last five minutes, I would probably recommend this show to anyone looking for an exciting, nostalgic evening.