“The Bodyguard” gives a Broadway-tier performance

One could say that Deborah Cox’s take on Rachel Marron, a character originally portrayed by the incomparable Whitney Houston, is So Emotional. Now whether that’s because she’s “Every Woman” or the “Queen of the Night,” is for anyone to say. But it’s indisputable that “The Bodyguard,” the musically-reimagined stage production based on the Warner Bros. film of the same name, was a masterful and evocative piece of art that provided audiences an escape from their everyday lives while simultaneously allowing them to experience some of life’s more difficult situations.
A typical theatrical experience usually starts with a friendly reminder to silence one’s cell phone and remain quiet and courteous to your fellow entertainment viewers. “The Bodyguard” took a more explosive approach, beginning with a loud gunshot coupled with the lights going out. From there on the show remained fast-paced and exciting, alternating between intense and suspenseful insights into the mindset of a highly functioning sociopath, and coupled with exuberant and elaborate musical sequences that showcased the casts amazing abilities.
The show’s leading lady, Deborah Cox, certainly lived up to the high expectations held for anyone taking on Whitney Houston’s range and infamy. Cox started her career as an R&B singer-songwriter in Canada. In the early 90’s she began performing as a back-up singer to Céline Dion, and from there decided to try her hand at a solo career by moving to Los Angeles. In 1995, Deborah Cox released her self-titled debut album through Arista Records, and released her second album, “One Wish,” in 1998. “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here,” the first single on Cox’s second album, launched her career to new heights, spending 14 weeks at #1 on USA’s Hot R&B charts. In 2004, Cox began her Broadway career, starring in Elton John and Tim Rice’s “Aida.” Cox continued to write and release music for various movies and theatrical productions and joined the cast of “The Bodyguard” in the fall of 2016.
While Cox is without a doubt the main ticket item for “The Bodyguard,” the show would not be complete without her right-hand woman, Jasmin Richardson, who plays Marron’s sister, Nikki. Jasmin grew up in Houston, Texas, singing in the gospel church and writing music. She attended Abilene Christian University and earned a degree in tTheater, and then moved to New York to pursue her acting dreams. Richardson’s haunting vocals and powerful stage presence afforded her the opportunity to star in a short film alongside Kevin Reeves, as well as several broadway productions leading up to her role in “The Bodyguard.”
Now I’m normally a temple kind of girl, but Richardson’s insanely strong and dynamic rendition of Saving All My Love took me straight to church. In fact, several numbers in the show evoked a strong sense of spirituality, such as with “Greatest Love of All” and “Jesus Loves Me.” These extremely emotional moments in the show were juxtaposed with a surprising amount of suspense and action found mostly in the character of The Stalker, as played by Jorge Paniagua. At one point in the show, The Stalker actually takes a gun and shines the red laser pointer of the barrel into the audience for a solid 60 seconds. The audience was truly part of the show and it was somewhat comical and terrifying to watch viewers clutch their loved ones and duck behind the shoulders of those sitting around them.
The show closed as one would expect, with a fatality, a sickeningly sweet romantic gesture, and a quintessential dance number to the original Whitney anthem, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” which brought audiences to their feet with equal amounts of hand clapping and toe tapping.

Post Author: Tori Gellman