The musical adaption of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory is doing pretty well for itself since first opening in June this year: It passed the critical eye of the reviewers with flying colours and has gone on to break the West End record for the highest weekly gross sales, as well as recently extending its booking period to 1st November 2014. Charlie isn’t the only show which is earning its place in the West End though. The West End stage production of The Bodyguard announced this week that it is releasing more than 300,000 extra tickets for sale as it extends its booking period, taking the show through to next summer. Tickets are now available up until 30th August 2013.
The musical made its world premiere at the Adelphi Theatre on 5th December 2012 (previews from 6th November). Alexander Dinelaris adapted the show’s book from the original 1992 film version of the same title, which starred Kevin Costner and the late Whitney Houston as romantic leads Frank Framer and Rachel Marron. The Bodyguard is an unlikely love story between a singing superstar and a former Secret Service agent-turned bodyguard which develops when he is hired to protect her after receiving death threats from an unknown stalker. It has since gained status as a film classic, with a soundtrack that is still one of the best-selling of all time.
The stage musical features the songs which Whitney Houston sang in the film and became big hits for her, such as ‘Run To You’, ‘I Am Nothing’, ‘Queen Of The Night’, and of course, ‘I Will Always Love You’. In addition, further Houston songs were added to the show’s score, including ‘Saving All My Love For You’, ‘One Moment In Time’, ‘How Will I Know’ and ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’. Grammy and Tony Award-winner Heather Headley originated the leading role of Rachel Marron in the musical, despite reservations about taking on the part following the death of Whitney Houston. She did though, and the American singer/actress’s performance won her critical acclaim and saw her nominated for ‘Best Actress in a Musical’ at the 2013 Laurence Olivier Awards.
Headley starred opposite stage and screen star Lloyd Owen as Frank Framer, in a cast which also featured Debbie Kurup (Nicki Marron), Nicolas Colicos (Tony Scibelli), Ray Shell (Bill Devaney), Sean Chapman (Sy Spector) and Mark Letheren (The Stalker), to name a few. Headley left the show in August 2013, with alternate Gloria Onitiri taking over the role full-time until the first major cast change in September. The two principal roles were then taken over by recording artist Beverly Knight and Tristan Gemmill, who now lead the show’s current cast at the Adelphi Theatre.
The Bodyguard: The Musical is directed by Thea Sharrock and includes choreography by Arthur Pita as well as musical arrangements, orchestrations and underscore by Chris Egan. It also features set and costume designs by Tim Hatley, lighting design by Mark Henderson, sound by Richard Brooker and video projection by Duncan McLean. The show, produced by Michael Harrison and David Ian, was nominated for four Olivier Awards and won ‘Best New Musical’ at the 2013 Whatsonstage.com Awards. Adapting such a popular film for the stage is a tricky task as it can be difficult to live up to fans’ expectations. The majority of critics gave The Bodyguard pretty positive reviews when it first opened however, and the fact that it is still here one year later and looking ahead into the middle of 2014 shows that it seems to have managed to follow in the footsteps of its successful counterpart. If you haven’t seen it yet, then take yourself down to the Adelphi Theatre sometime. Based on a classic film, the West End stage production has all the makings of a classic musical as well.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Thursday 21st November 2013