A new show in London, The Bodyguard the Musical, based on the film The Bodyguard starring the late Whitney Houston, is due to open at London’s Adelphi theatre this December. However, the star of the new West End musical, Heather Headley says she does not want to be compared to the late Whitney Houston.
Heather Headley and Lloyd Owen are to take on the lead roles made famous by Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner in the 1992 movie. With Whitney’s sad and untimely death there is bound to be a renewed interest into the star’s life and times, with the performance of the show on a London stage. "It's going to be the greatest challenge of my life, but I'm ready to step into those heels," said Headley.
The West End show will feature many of Houston's greatest hits, including Saving All My Love, How Will I Know, I Wanna Dance With Somebody and I Will Always Love You. “I want people to come in and say this is Heather's version” said the star of the London show, Heather Headley.
Houston, one of the world's best known female singers of the '80s and '90s, was found dead in a Los Angeles hotel room on the eve of the Grammy Awards in February 2012.
Trinidad-born Headley said her preparation for the role in the musical was like "training for a tough marathon". Her biggest challenge she said, was separating the character of Rachel Marron from Whitney Houston. "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 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."
Headley, who will be making her debut in London’s West End, originated the role of Nala in The Lion King on Broadway. She went on to play the title role in Aida, for which she won the Tony Award. Her third studio album, Audience of One, won a Grammy award for best contemporary R&B gospel album in 2010.
The Bodyguard the Musical producers, Michael Harrison and David Ian, began work on the show six years ago. They managed to enlist renowned theatre director Thea Sharrock for the show due to the fact that Thea claimed she was "the world's biggest Whitney fan".
Sharrock is better known for her work at the National Theatre. Her production of After the Dance won the 2011 Olivier award for best revival, and she directed Danny DeVito and Richard Griffiths in Neil Simon's comedy The Sunshine Boys at the Savoy Theatre in London, 2012.
Sharrock admitted at The Bodyguard the Musical show’s launch event at the Savoy Hotel that she had once played I Wanna Dance With Somebody to inspire two actresses who had been struggling with a scene. "The two girls went crazy, it was like a school disco. They did the scene and they did it brilliantly. I don't know why it worked, but it did."
Sharrock added: "Later they came up and said, 'If there is a Whitney musical you have to have to direct it.' I said, 'That is a deal', and here I am."
The Bodyguard the Musical is the story of Frank Farmer, a former secret service agent turned bodyguard who is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker.
Lloyd Owen, who plays the role of Frank Farmer, has had a long theatre career, but is probably best known for playing Paul Bowman-MacDonald in the BBC drama Monarch of the Glen. The Bodyguard will be Lloyd Owen’s first London musical, but he hinted that he would not have a conventional singing role. "If you think of Frank Farmer singing and tap-dancing, he loses his enigma and it could potentially be quite cheesy. That's not the case in this show," he said.
The Bodyguard the Musical begins previews at the Adelphi Theatre in London on 6th November 2012 and will have its opening night on 6th December 2012.
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