Whether you are a lover of the film The Bodyguard, or in the camp that brushed it off as a cheesy love story, there’s one thing on which most people agree – the soundtrack was, and is, magnificent. So, it’s no wonder that a musical adaptation, since its 2012 opening, has taken stages across the world by storm, and will make its début tonight in Philadelphia at the Academy of Music.
With an energetically talented cast, led by the multi-platinum selling artist Deborah Cox in the lead role of Rachel Marron, made famous by the legendary Whitney Houston, and a book by Alexander Dinelaris adapted from Lawrence Kasdan’s screenplay, The Bodyguard: The Musical incorporates the Grammy award-winning soundtrack along with songs from Houston’s discography – including “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” “So Emotional,” and “One Moment in Time.”
Also a part of this production is Jasmin Richardson, who takes on the role of Rachel’s sister Nicki Marron. No stranger to the theater stage, Ms. Richardson has been in the National/ International tours of Memphis (Felicia) and Dreamgirls (Deena). She’s also recognizable from her media campaign with Clinique Cosmetics.
MMT asked Ms. Richardson a few questions, including her reflections on the late Ms. Houston, working with Ms. Cox and what theater goers can expect from the musical version of the story.
February 11th marked the fifth anniversary of Whitney Houston’s passing and The Bodyguard is one of her most highlighted works. What are your reflections of Ms. Houston and her in the landmark role of Rachel Marron?
Whitney Houston is one of a kind and can never be replaced. Her voice is timeless. She was sexy, classy and very out spoken; she was the ultimate superstar.
Were you a fan of Ms. Houston’s prior to he being cast in the musical, and do you have any favorite Houston songs (to sing or listen)?
I learned how to tell a song through listening to Whitney’s music. The way she nuances a song was dynamic and her vocal ability is unmatched. She was known as the “The Voice” – it doesn’t get any bigger than that.
For those who’ve yet to see the show, what differences from the movie should they expect?
It really is a romantic thriller, so that cinematic element is woven into the script. My character Nicki has more of an arc (than the film), and you get to know her a bit better in our show. We also have additional songs intertwined into the story, not just the ones from The Bodyguard soundtrack.
What has been your favorite fan/audience member reaction to this production so far?
We opened in Jersey and it was nice to have a lot of hometown fans come and give us their stamp of approval. That was a wonderful way to start the tour.
Were you a fan of Ms. Cox prior to the musical and what is it like working with her on set?
Absolutely! She’s a beautiful person inside and out, and she has truly set the tone for our tour. She is a singing masterclass every night on stage, and amazing to work with.
MMT signature question: If you could portray any artist (any medium) past or present, who would it be and why?
Maya Angelou because she was a light on this earth. She had a beautiful way with words, especially when it came to addressing the plight of the black woman and her inner strength.
Speaking of the plight of the black woman, and in the spirit of #BlackGirlMagic, please share one piece of advice to young girls/aspiring artists coming to see musical?
Commitment to your craft and consistency are key. You have everything it takes to succeed. Work hard and trust yourself. Anything is possible!
The Bodyguard: The Musical runs February 21-26. Tickets and information are available at kimmelcenter.org.