The Bodyguard the Musical, based on the 1992 movie, has arrived in Minneapolis at the Orpheum theater. It is a show that starts with a bang, and left me with a smile on my face. I have never seen the movie, so I all knew going into it was its affiliation to Whitney Houston. I also had a feeling that a bodyguard was involved with the plot.
I wasn't too far off my expected plot. The story revolves around superstar Rachel Marron who is receiving threatening letters, so she gets a new bodyguard. And as the promotional materials says, "each expects to be in charge, what they don't expect is to fall in love." In the midst of all of this is a love triangle involving Rachel's sister. Luckily for those who, like me, are tired of love triangles, it isn't harped on too much.
As the pull quote from the promotional material hints at, the show is more than a little bit cheesy. There are large projections of close up slow-mos of the characters and dramatic music is played whenever the bad guy appears on stage. Although the 1992 movie has clearly been moved forward to modern day, the staging and direction still nods to movies of the 80s and 90s. With the abundance of overly dramatic staging I found myself laughing more at the play itself than at obvious laugh lines, many of which fell flat. For some this style may be endearing and be another reason to enjoy the show, and for others it may eventually wear thin.
What is without question is that the singing and the cast lead by Deborah Cox are stellar. Cox steps into an iconically Whitney roll very smoothly. She performs favorite songs "I Want to Dance with Somebody" and "I Will Always Love You" with all the power and muster that those songs deserve. Other stand outs in the cast were Jasmin Richardson as Nicki Marron, Rachel's sister, who also has a killer voice. Completing the Marron clan as Fletcher (Rachel's 10 year old son) is Douglas Baldeo and Kevelin B. Jones III, performing on alternating nights. This is a role that, like most in the show, require major dancing and singing chops, and Kevelin who I saw, brought it all.
My final note is, if you do go and see Bodyguard the Musical, don't leave before the bows, for multiple reasons. For one, it is very disrespectful to everyone whose work went into putting together the show you just saw, stay and clap for them, avoiding parking lines isn't that important. And also, The Bodyguard, like many jukebox musicals, have really fun numbers after the bows. I won't spoil anything, but it is the most fun musical number in the whole show.
The Bodyguard the Musical is playing at the Orpheum Theater until January 15th.
*Above photo by Joan Marcus
Thank you to the Hennepin Theater Trust for inviting me to this performance.