Deborah Cox steps into 'The Bodyguard'

Deborah Cox steps into ‘The Bodyguard’

Cox knows a little about iconic voices herself, as a Grammy-nominated and multiplatinum recording artist. Her song, “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here” became the longest-running No. 1 R&B single, topping the charts for 14 consecutive weeks. She also played Lucy in Broadway’s “Jekyll & Hyde” and has made numerous television and film appearances.

“I think what is the most challenging is making my Rachel my own and departing from the way that I’ve heard these songs sung by the greatest voice of all time,” she said during the rehearsal process. “We’re so familiar with all of these iconic songs, that to hear them infused in the piece makes it challenging. That has been the thing for me that I’ve been working through in these rehearsals is really finding her voice because Whitney Houston really made all of these songs so iconic.”

Cox first encountered “The Bodyguard” in the early 1990s.

“I saw ‘The Bodyguard’ back before I moved to LA. I was still getting my own demo tape together, I was doing background (vocals) for Celine Dion, I was gigging and doing live shows. I remember hearing that soundtrack and seeing the movie and I was just mesmerized.”

She acknowledges there’s a tightrope between finding Rachel’s voice in the musical, while honoring the legacy of her origins.

“I want to make sure that (Houston is) represented right. I know what the expectations are, I’m fully aware of that. And that’s pretty much what I’m going in there to do – give it my all. Really make this show a huge success because the show deserves it. She deserves it. Her legacy deserves it. We’ll all be better for it.”

Cox sings 13 songs in the show.

“It’s a lot of material, but every beat works. These songs come out of emotional moments that make sense. Songs like ‘Run to You,’ ‘I have Nothing,’ they’re just not placed in a jukebox setting. They’re placed in a way where you’re coming out of a certain emotion and you have to follow through that emotion in song. So that’s the beauty that I love about it.”

The show, which runs from Nov. 25 to Jan. 1, at Paper Mill, premiered in London in 2012. A national tour will kick off in Minneapolis in January. Based on the film written by Lawrence Kasdan, it features a book by Alexander Dinelaris (“Birdman”), is directed by Thea Sharrock (“Equus”) and has choreography by Karen Bruce (“Strictly Come Dancing”).

“The Bodyguard” also stars Judson Mills (“Walker, Texas Ranger”) as bodyguard Frank Farmer, and features Alex Corrado (“Gotham,” “Hannibal”) as Tony Scibelli, Rachel’s personal security guard, Charles Gray (“The Color Purple,” “Grease”) as manager Bill Devaney, Jonathan Hadley (“Jersey Boys,” “A Class Act”) as publicist Sy Spector, Jorge Paniagua as the Stalker, Jasmin Richardson as Rachel’s sister Nicki Marron, and Douglas Baldeo (“Kinky Boots”) and Kevelin B. Jones III alternating in the role of Rachel’s son Fletcher. Continue reading

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