By Edward Henderson
Running at San Diego Civic Theatre June 13-18, Debora Cox will star in the stage rendition of ‘The Bodyguard’.
Based on Lawrence Kasdan’s 1992 Oscar nominated Warner Bros. film, and adapted by Academy Award-winner (Birdman) Alexander Dinelaris, The Bodyguard had its world premiere on December 5, 2012 at London’s Adelphi Theatre. It was nominated for four Laurence Olivier Awards including Best New Musical and Best Set Design and won Best New Musical at the Whatsonstage Awards. The UK production of the musical recently completed a return run in London’s West End after a sell-out 16-month UK and Ireland tour.
Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge; what they don’t expect is to fall in love. A romantic thriller, The Bodyguard features a host of irresistible classics including So Emotional, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, Run to You, I Have Nothing, I Wanna Dance with Somebody and one of the biggest selling songs of all time – I Will Always Love You. Tickets can be purchased online at broadwaysd.com
Voice and Viewpoint had the opportunity to interview Cox and get her thoughts on taking on this iconic role.
How did you get involved with this project and what can people expect when they come out to see it?
I was approached by the producers to bring this project across the US in the national tour, but I was reluctant at first. But when I saw how close the script was to the original film and how they added new music and songs from Whitney’s catalog to tell the story I fell in love with it. I thought it was something different for the stage. It’s very engaging for the audience and it’s a thriller and suspense all in one as well as being a love story. I love that it had all of those elements in it.
We’re hearing the Broadway version has some changes to the story and a modern twist. What is the biggest difference between the stage and film versions?
The film focused more on Rachel and Frank’s connection. You see their romance unfold. Whereas the stage musical, you have the stalker that is a lot more present in the show. You see more of Rachel and Fletcher’s relationship. You see her as very guarded as a mother and a professional and a woman who has her team around her. You see more of that and a sense of who she is. You’re really on the edge of your seat watching this stuff unfold hoping that Rachel comes to her senses.
What do you love about being on stage in this capacity and bringing stories to life in this way?
I don’t think a lot of people know that before my recording career I had a musical theatre background. I did a lot of it back home. It was something that really resonated with me because I love telling a story, being part of a cast and hearing an orchestra. It was my first love. When I got the opportunity to do my own music, that took off and it kept me away from the stage. I was able to do Aida, Jekyll and Hyde and take part in some other musical reviews. This was a natural fit. Being that I was such a fan of Whitney and her music, it made it that more thrilling and an honor. I got to sing these iconic songs every night and shape my own vocal ability. I feel like I’ve come full circle.
Are there any songs in particular that take you to a special place when you perform them?
I love ‘One Moment in Time’. I remember when the Olympics were happening and that amazing performance Whitney gave. That song was one of those really powerful songs that’s a triumphant moment and helps tell the story. It’s the real climax of the show. Of course ‘All the Man that I Need’ is a favorite of mine because it transitions so beautifully in telling the story. You see Rachel just as a girl in love singing in a very pure and simple way. It goes from that moment to a real passionate studio scene where she’s expressing her love for Frank. That transitional scene is one of my favorite moments.
I hear you’re working on some new music. What are some of the developments in your studio recording career?
A lot of people have been asking that. I’ve been feverishly working on new music as well. I don’t know the exact date when we will release, but it will probably be next year. People can look out for that. I haven’t stopped recording. Usually people can check Facebook, Twitter and other social media to stay informed with that.
How do you feel about the state of the music industry and the ways it’s different from when you first came out?
It’s very different. From the record company standpoint, I don’t think there is enough artist development. It just kind of feels like artists are thrown against the wall and if you stick, you stick. If not, they move on to the next. When I was coming up, you had a team of people to groom you and assist you to navigate the business. With YouTube and social media there can be a lot of exposure but there is a lot of do it yourself stuff that is happening now. It’s moved away from talent and more about the spectacle or how crazy you can be online. It’s a double edge sword. You gotta be progressive, but you also have to know what works for you. I use social media to connect with my audience and people who are passionate about music and singing and projects that I’m part of.
What is the feeling you want people to walk away with after they’ve left the show?
I want people to feel good and be inspired. That’s what’s been happening with these audiences. They really are just so engaged and leave the show dancing. They don’t expect to see such suspense and to see this love story unfold in front of them. It’s all of those mixed emotions that leave them really overwhelmed and really in a good place. At the end of the day, that’s what the audience is leaving with. That’s the beauty of being a part of this show.