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The Bodyguard is a 2012 stage musical written by Alexander Dinelaris, based on the 1992 film The Bodyguard, with the score featuring songs recorded by Whitney Houston including "One Moment in Time", "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" and her cover version of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You". The show began previews at the Adelphi Theatre in London's West End, on 6 November 2012, and officially opened on 5 December 2012.
The musical is based on the 1992 film The Bodyguard which starred and featured songs by Whitney Houston. The show was officially confirmed in February 2012 and following six years of development, producers confirmed the show would play London's Adelphi Theatre from November 2012. Costing around five million pounds to produce the show is written by Alexander Dinelaris, produced by Michael Harrison and David Ian directed by Thea Sharrock, set and costumes are designed by Tim Hatley, with lighting by Mark Henderson, sound by Richard Brooker, video projection by Duncan McLean, choreography by Arthur Pita, musical arrangements, orchestrations and underscore by Chris Egan
The show's book by Alexander Dinelaris brings the story forward to present day and changes the focus of the story to bring the character of Rachel Marron to the forefront rather than the bodyguard. The script adapted from the original screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan also expands the role of Rachel Marron's sister Nicki. The stage musical like the original film features music by Whitney Houston which in addition to the original movie soundtrack adds the following additional Houston tracks So Emotional, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love for You, I'm Your Baby Tonight, How Will I Know, Oh Yes, All the Man That I Need, All at Once and I Wanna Dance with Somebody.
Following Whitney Houston's death the show's star Heather Headley considered withdrawing from the role of Rachel Marron originated by Houston in the film. She later said "You don't want people to compare you to Whitney. I didn't want it before and especially not now after her passing. I want people to come in and say this is Heather's version - this is Heather playing Rachel Marron and singing Whitney songs. I am always trying to find a way to make them my own but still acknowledge and keep the integrity of her music."
Revised Version (beginning UK Tour)
Rachel Marron is one of the most famous singers around but is unaware that a stalker has been sending her deranged and disturbing death threats. She continues to perform while her manager searches for a bodyguard that can protect her ("Queen of the Night"). Frank Farmer is a former Secret Service Agent hired to serve as Rachel's bodyguard. Farmer manages to get into Rachel's mansion without needing any clearance and explains that security needs to be heightened, but Rachel is oblivious to her stalkers threatening notes and believes that she is perfectly safe. Farmer watches as Rachel rehearses one of her songs with her young ten-year-old son Fletcher ("How Will I Know"). Afterward, Farmer is introduced to Rachel's existing bodyguard, Tony, who believes that he is good enough and that Rachel doesn't need Farmer to protect her.
Rachel works on a new song with her sister, Nikki ("Greatest love of All"). Meanwhile, Farmer equips Rachel's mansion with security, and Fletcher imprints on him, looking up to Farmer as a fatherly figure. Rachel sees them interacting and goes up to Farmer and tells him that she does not want him to interact with her or her family. Farmer leaves for the night to see Nikki perform at a small club. After performing, Nikki sits down with Farmer and shares a drink with him. She tells him about her childhood band, and that after Rachel joined it became clear that there could only be one singer in the family. Farmer gives a chilly Nikki his coat, and Nikki flirts with him, hoping to begin a romantic relationship with him ("Saving All My Love for You").
Sy, Rachel's music producer, pressures an angry Rachel to perform at a nightclub called the Mayan. Rachel ignores him and angrily vents about Farmer, who won't let her go to Sunday Brunch. Farmer tells Rachel that she can't do anything that she's normally done, like weekly Sunday Brunch. Rachel asks Farmer if she can perform at the Mayan, but Farmer tells her that it is too dangerous. In an effort to anger Farmer, Rachel tells Sy to book the show at the Mayan.
The night of the show at the Mayan approaches and Rachel's stalker prepares to kill her.
Rachel arrives at the Mayan to find a death threat in her dressing room. Farmer reveals to Rachel that this isn't the first note and that a stalker is trying to kill her. Farmer tells Rachel that they should leave, but Rachel declines, explaining that she doesn't want to be a coward. Rachel gets on stage and performs, but the stalker comes on stage and almost stabs her, before being thrown off stage by Farmer. Farmer swoops Rachel up into his arms and runs out of the club with her, saving her from death. ("Mayan Medley: Million Dollar Bill/I Wanna Dance With Somebody/So Emotional").
Rachel begins to be more cautious and asks Farmer out on a date since she can't leave the house unless he's with her. Farmer reluctantly agrees, and the two go to a small karaoke bar, where a group of college girls performs a hilarious and broken rendition of "Where Do Broken Hearts Go". Rachel tries to figure out Farmer's life and says that if she gets him figured out then he has to sing. Farmer agrees and Rachel guesses incorrectly, but Farmer decides to sing anyway. He goes up to the stage and sings a shaky rendition of "I Will Always Love You". Rachel goes up after him and surprises the audience as they realize that she is the real Rachel Marron ("Run To You"). Rachel proclaims her love for Farmer and Farmer has to choose between Rachel and Nikki, but ultimately chooses Rachel. The two embrace and share a passionate kiss ("I Have Nothing").
Rachel wakes up in bed next to a sleeping Farmer, presumably after sex. Nikki sees this and grows jealous of her sister ("All the Man That I Need").
Farmer later gets a call from his employer that he needs to break off his relationship with Rachel, explaining that the stalker followed them to the karaoke bar and stole Rachel's scarf. Farmer tells Rachel that he was reckless and can't be romantically involved with a "client". Rachel is extremely mad and storms off. Farmer comforts a troubled Fletcher by giving him a clearance badge for the night of the Oscars. Farmer then leaves with Rachel for a benefit concert in Miami, Florida, where Rachel performs a splendid routine ("I'm Every Woman").
Farmer checks in with the temporary bodyguard who is watching Nikki and Fletcher. Everything is presumably fine, but Farmer is unaware that the temporary bodyguard is actually the stalker. The stalker tells Fletcher that he needs help with Rachel's "present", and Fletcher eagerly goes to help him. Nikki sits in her room thinking about her love for her nephew Fletcher, but upon going inside his room she sees that he has disappeared and in his place on the bed is one of Rachel's dresses, stolen from her dressing room ("All at Once"). Nikki calls Farmer and Rachel and they return home from Miami. Fletcher is alright, but the stalker took his clearance badge for the Oscars. Realizing that her son and sister are in as much danger as she is, Rachel tells Farmer that she will do whatever he says if it will keep them protected. Farmer has Rachel cancel the rest of her tour and the four of them travel to Farmer's deceased parent's cabin. Farmer confides in Rachel that this cabin holds lots of memories and that he misses his father and his mother, who he wishes he had spent more time with before they died. Farmer watches happily as Rachel shares a tender moment with her sister and son ("Jesus Loves Me").
That night a drunken Nikki admits to Farmer that she wrote to the stalker pretending to be Rachel in order to feel attention. Nikki now believes that it is her fault that all of this has happened, and Farmer comforts her and promises to catch the stalker. Soon afterward the stalker breaks into the cabin and approaches a sleeping Nikki. She wakes up and believes it is Farmer, but screams in terror as the stalker fatally stabs Nikki ("Nikki's Death"). Farmer, Rachel, and Fletcher run into the room and find Nikki on the ground. The stalker runs off and Farmer chases after him, trying to shoot him down. Meanwhile, Rachel tries to keep her sister alive but weeps as she dies in her arms ("Jesus Loves Me (Reprise)").
Farmer, Rachel, and Fletcher return home. Farmer comforts a fearful Fletcher and asks Rachel if she is still going to attend the Oscars. Rachel tells Farmer about her and her sister's dream of winning an Oscar and decides to do it for her sister.
At the Oscars, Rachel performs "One Moment in Time" from the Oscar nominated film Queen of the Night that she co-wrote with Nikki. As she performs the stalker prepares to shoot her. Farmer notices just in time and jumps in front of Rachel. He gets shot, and Rachel holds him in her arms, uttering the famous line, "Let him go, he's my bodyguard!" ("He's My Bodyguard").
Farmer returns to the mansion sometime later, still recovering from a shot to the arm. Farmer shares a tender goodbye with Fletcher and Rachel, who kisses him goodbye as they presumably go on another tour with a new bodyguard ("I Will Always Love You").
After the final bows, the entire cast returns on stage to perform a spectacular rendition of the song "I Wanna Dance With Somebody".
West End (2012–2014)
The Bodyguard's premiere production opened in London's West End on 5 December 2012, following previews at the Adelphi Theatre from 6 November 2012. The production which initially was booking until April 2013, opening cast included Grammy and Tony Award winner Heather Headley as Rachel Marron, Lloyd Owen as Frank Farmer and Debbie Kurup as Nicki Marron. Ray Shell created the role of DEVANEY, Rachel Marron's manager. A month after opening with advance sales of more than four million pounds booking was extended until 28 September 2013. Headley departed the show at the start of August with her alternate Gloria Onitiri taking over the role short term until 7 September 2013. From 9 September the show's first major cast change took place with soul artist Beverley Knight taking over the role of Rachel Marron and Tristan Gemmill as Frank Farmer. The show initially extended to March after Knight took over but later extended booking to 30 August 2014. In March 2014, producers announced that The X Factor winner Alexandra Burke would take over from Knight on 2 June. A typical London performance runs two hours and 25 minutes, including one interval of 20 mins.
The show closed at the Adelphi Theatre on 29 August 2014, to make way for Made in Dagenham having come to the end of its contract with the theatre. Producers had explored the option of transferring to the nearby Aldwych Theatre, but as the venue had 350 less seats they decided against moving. Commenting on the closure, producer Michael Harrison said, "We always knew we would have to leave the Adelphi to make way for another show and we looked at length for an alternative theatre as the business has been phenomenal. The only other theatre we could have moved to, and we rang more numbers than you could imagine, had 300 less seats. It's a big show, there are nearly 30 people in the company, a 10-piece orchestra, automation, more computers and technical staff than you can imagine, so it can't just run cheap and cheerfully like certain other West End shows."
UK, Ireland and Monaco Tour (2015–2016)
A tour of the United Kingdom commenced at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton in February 2015. Producers created a new set for the touring production and added a new Whitney Houston song, Million Dollar Bill. The tour visited Glasgow, Aberdeen, Newcastle, Wolverhampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Bradford, Cardiff, Plymouth, Dublin, Bristol, Birmingham, Southend, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Sheffield, Oxford, Manchester, and Eastbourne. Alexandra Burke reprised her role as Rachel Marron from the West End production, with Pop Idol and Thriller – Live actress Zoe Birkett playing the role at matinee performances for the first half of the tour. Stuart Reid played Frank Farmer. After Zoe Birkett left the production, singer Carole Stennett played Rachel Marron at the matinee performances for the remainder of the tour. After its final performance in the United Kingdom, the tour was transferred to Monaco for a limited engagement from 23 to 26 June 2016 at the Grimaldi Forum.
The first non-English production had its first try-out on 12 September 2015, in the Netherlands. The show currently plays at the Utrecht Beatrix Theater and had its premiere on the 27 September. This production uses all-new costume, set, lighting and sound designs (sound design by Gareth Owen) and includes the new song that was also included in the UK and Ireland tour.
Singer Romy Monteiro, who competed in the 2014 season of The Voice of Holland, was cast as Rachel Marron, with the role of Frank Farmer shared by Dutch actors Mark van Eeuwen and Dave Mantel. On 25 January 2016, producers announced actor Miro Kloosterman had joined the cast. From mid-February 2016 to January 2017, he shared the role of Frank Farmer with Van Eeuwen and Mantel.
Carolina Dijkuizen portrayed the role of Rachel's sister, Nicki Marron, until September 2016, after which singer Nurlaila Karim took over the role.
April Darby alternates the role of Rachel Marron with Monteiro, while understudies Samantha Klots and Tjindjara Metschendorp portray the role when both singers are unable to perform. In February 2017 Samantha Klots left the show and was replaced by Anne Apello as understudy Rachel Marron/Backing Vocal. In March 2017 Talita Angwarmasse joined the cast as alternate Rachel Marron.
The other main cast includes Nickelodeon presenter Patrick Martens and actor Ferry Doedens alternating the role of Sy Spector, Ruurt de Maesschalck and Mike Ho Sam Sooi alternating as Bill Devaney, model and actor Bram Blankestijn als The Stalker, Zjon Smaal as Tony Scibelli and Robbert van den Bergh as Ray Court (who, in this version, is slightly based on the character Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds). Roy Kullick assumed the role of Ray Court on 25 July 2016. Paul Donkers took over the role of Tony Scibelli at the end of September 2016. Donkers will leave the show again in May 2017, after which Zjon Smaal will return to portray Tony Scibelli until the final performance.
The show closed at the Beatrix Theatre on 16 July 2017.
In November 2015 Bodyguard made its German debut in the Musical Dome in Cologne. The show is expected to run until 2017.
German singer and actress Patricia Meeden, who was a contestant of The Voice of Germany plays the role of Rachel Marron. Jürgen Fischer and alternately Jadran Malkovich portray Frank Farmer, and South African actress Tertia Botha plays Nicky Marron. The other main cast includes American musical actor Dennis Kozeluh as Bill Devaney, Jadran Malkovich as Sy Spector (Carsten Lepper is taking over as Sy Spector from March 2017), Tom Viehöfer as The Stalker, Christian Peter Hauser as Tony Scibelli and Michael Clauder as Ray Court.
West End Revival (2016–2017)
Following completion of the first UK tour, the production was scheduled to transfer to the West End's Dominion Theatre which had been running the musical made from Queen songs, "We Will Rock You", from 15 July 2016, booking for a limited run until 7 January 2017. Beverley Knight will reprise her role as Rachel Marron and will be joined by Ben Richards as Frank Farmer.
US Tour (2016–)
On 15 May 2015, producers announced that the show would make its North American Debut in the Fall of 2016 at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey for previews. The National Tour would launch from the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis and would star Grammy-nominated singer Deborah Cox as Rachel Marron, and Judson Mills as Frank Farmer.
In December 2016, Bodyguard made its Korean debut in LG Arts Center in Seoul and it is first production in Far East country. The show will run until 5 March 2017.
Korean actress Jung Sun Ah, Korean Singer Yangpa and Son Seung Yeon will play the role of Rachel Marron. Lee Jong Hyuk and Park Sung Woong portray Frank Farmer and Choi Hyun Sun plays Nicki Marron. The other main cast includes Han Dong Gyu as Bill Devaney, Lim Ki Hong as Sy Spector, Lee Yool The Stalker, Jeon Jae Hyeon as Tony Scibelli and Kim Dae Ryeong as Ray Court. Fletcher will be played by Yoon Felix, Moon Seo Yoon and Lee Tae Kyung.
Producers announced that Beverley Knight will play the role of Rachel in the Toronto production. Rachel John confirmed that the entire London Revival Cast will transfer with Beverley Knight. The production played a short limited engagement from 11 February 2017 through 9 April 2017 at the Ed Mirvish Theatre.
On 9 October 2016, producers confirmed that the Australian tour of the musical would begin in Sydney on 21 April 2017 at the Lyric Theatre before moving on to Brisbane in July and Melbourne in August. The lead role will be played by Paulini, while Kip Gamblin will portray Frank Farmer.
A Spanish production will open on 28 September 2017 at the Coliseum Theatre in Madrid, Spain, produced by Stage Entertainment and starring Fela Domínguez as Rachel Marron, Iván Sánchez and Maxi Iglesias alternating as Frank Farmer, Damaris Martínez as Nicki Marron, Armando Buika as Bill Devaney, Alberto Cañas as Tony Scibelli, Juan Bey as Sy Spector, Dani Tatay as the stalker, and Javier Martínez as Ray Court. This version of the show will use the same new designs as the Dutch version.
Original London production
UK tour and international productions
The musical uses a ten-member orchestra consisting of 3 keyboards, 2 guitars, bass guitar, drums, percussion, trumpet/flugel and woodwind (tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet & ewi).
Principal roles and cast members
Notable West End replacements
Rachel Marron –Gloria Onitiri, Beverley Knight, Alexandra Burke
Rachel Marron (alternate) –Joelle Moses
Frank Farmer – Tristan Gemmill
Bill Devaney – Richard Lloyd King
Tony Scibelli – Stephen Marcus
The Stalker – Michael Rouse
Sy Spector – Dominic Taylor
Ray Court – Stuart Reid
The West End performance of The Bodyguard has received generally positive reviews from critics. Paul Coltas of Time Out opens his critique on a positive: "There is surely an excruciatingly tacky musical adaptation of the Whitney Houston-starring romantic thriller 'The Bodyguard' to be made. But this is not it." Charles Spencer of The Daily Telegraph echoes Coltas' initial reservations in the opening of his review but ultimately praises the director's work (Thea Sharrock), saying "Her production, spectacularly and ingeniously designed by Tim Hatley, is far more enjoyable than the movie."
Libby Purves of The Times described it as giving "throbbing new life to that thin story, half gig, half thriller." Best of Theatre commented on the stage adaptation saying "There is no denying that these songs really are some of the most energetic and catchy pop songs ever written and they have been cleverly weaved into the narrative of the musical", and London Theatre's writer, Peter Brown praised the overall production despite the character and stories stating "I found Thea Sharrock's production incredibly slick in terms of the design and functionality, and the singing and songs are great. But overall, I felt a little disappointed with the lack of character and story detail."
There were also some negative critics including Michael Billington from The Guardian, who said that the musical was "one more example of the necrophiliac musical morbidly attracted to a cinematic corpse".
Awards and nominations
Original London production