BODYGUARD, THE – THE MUSICAL
You could say, as they sometimes do in Hollywood, The Bodyguard is a ‘high concept’ story: former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard Frank Farmer is hired to protect superstar singer Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge – what they don’t expect is to fall in love. The 1992 movie (d: Mick Jackson) starred Kevin Costner as Frank Farmer and Whitney Houston as pop star Rachel Marron.
High concept really means it’s a straight forward and appealing idea succinctly stated. The promise of action, glamour and music all rolled into one made The Bodyguard a stand out, with several songs becoming hummable and popular tunes, notably I Will Always Love You. Indeed, for a film full of songs about a singer it has taken a long time to be adapted into a full blown stage musical.
Adapted by Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Big Chill, The Empire Strikes Back), and a book by Oscar winner Alexander Dinelaris (Birdman), The Bodyguard is based on the film.
The needs of a stage musical are not that different from a high concept movie: the leads have to be engaging and develop chemistry for the romance to be not merely credible but exciting. It’s more a love story than a thriller, after all.
Andrew L. Urban says:
"It's more a concert-with-drama than a musical,” says Andrew, “in this spectacular production at The Lyric, in which pyrotechnics and explosive theatrical punctuation give the audience a high voltage experience. Paulini’s superb voice is well suited to the material and her dramatic performance is a solid match.
Kip Gamblin meets the challenge of playing a stoic bodyguard and their romance – after a bad start – develops through the show to the bitter sweet end.
Prinnie Stevens is a delight, and her delivery is pitch perfect as the sister who doesn’t have it all …
Practically stealing the show at the media preview was Tyrese Medina, the kid playing Fletcher, Rachel’s 10 year old son. (The role alternates between four boys.) Excellent work, too by Patrick Williams as Bill and Andrew Hazzard as Sy."
Louise Keller says:
"A crowd pleasing musical with spectacular set pieces, ever-changing staging and a fabulous leading lady, The Bodyguard is a fast paced, uplifting piece of theatre. It starts with a bang before settling into wall to wall song and dance routines, leaving no doubt about Paulini’s vocal talents.
I especially liked the recording studio scene and the fun idea of the karaoke segment works well as a tease for the much awaited rendition of I Will Always Love You, which doesn’t disappoint in the climactic finish. Other musical highlights include Run To You (duet between Paulini and Prinnie Stevens) and Don’t Walk Away from Me, set before a glittering backdrop of night stars.
There is often a concert-esque feel about the show, along with its projected images and flashy lighting effects. Judging by the spontaneous standing ovation at the end of the show, The Bodyguard seems to have hit its mark."
If you’re new to the material, you may still be familiar with some of the songs: Queen of the Night, So Emotional, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, Run to You, I Have Nothing, Greatest Love Of All, Million Dollar Bill, I Wanna Dance With Somebody and I Will Always Love You.
“We have an incredible cast for THE BODYGUARD, led by two extraordinary singers, Paulini and Prinnie Stevens, and leading man Kip Gamblin in his first musical theatre role,” said John Frost on behalf of his co-producers. “I have no doubt Australia will fall in love with this iconic story and those soaring ballads all over again.”
Fijian born Australian singer Paulini is making her theatrical debut as Rachel in The Bodyguard. She got her break on Australian Idol, but has since become an international star. Paulini’s sound has been Influenced by some of the most iconic voices in music, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson and her childhood idol Whitney Houston, having won the National Star Search Competition in her teens with her incredible rendition of Whitney’s timeless classic When You Believe, showcasing her talent from a young age.
Kip Gamblin is also making his stage musical debut as Frank Farmer. known to Australian audiences for his roles in a wide range of television dramas including Home and Away, All Saints, Tricky Business, Dance Academy and most recently Neighbours. His role as Scott Hunter in Home and Away won him the TV Week Logie award for Best New Talent. Kip later gained international acclaim for his performances in the BBC London’s drama series Casualty where he spent two years working as a series regular. Kip commenced his training in dance, theatre and drama at the McDonald College of Performing Arts in Sydney, and later at the Australian Ballet School. His theatre credits include principal dance roles with Australian Ballet, Western Australian Ballet, Sydney Dance Company and Royal Opera Covent Garden.
Prinnie Stevens, who plays Nicki, burst on to the scene at age 17 performing in the Australian premiere of Rent: The Musical. It was her Helpmann Award nominated performance in Oh, What A Night! that took her to the next level - she was asked to move to New York and front an all-girl group for Sony Music. Whilst in New York, Prinnie performed alongside Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Mary J Blige, John Legend and many more. Prinnie recently made her return to musical theatre and her West End debut in London with Thriller LIVE. Prinnie's performance of Michael Jackson’s songs gained her rave reviews touring Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia before returning home and starring in Bonnie Lythgoe’s production of Aladdin at the State Theatre.
Published April 27, 2017
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Lyric Theatre, The Star, from April 21, 2017
Lyric Theatre, QPAC, from July 19, 2017
Regent Theatre, from August 24, 2017
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