Q&A With ‘The Bodyguard: The Musical’ Star Deborah Cox

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“The Bodyguard: The Musical” starring Deborah Cox will be at the Fabulous Fox Theatre Oct. 3-15. In the musical, according to the Fox website, “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 breathtakingly romantic thriller, ‘The Bodyguard’ features a host of irresistible classics including ‘Queen of the Night,’ ‘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.'” To purchase tickets, visit fabulousfox.com/events/detail/bodyguard.

Below, check out our Q-and-A with the star of the show.

Do you remember the first time you saw the “The Bodyguard?” What was your first impression?

I remember it very well. I remember being a huge fan of Whitney and her music, so to see that love story in a film was really great. Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston made for a perfect date night movie to see and I love the music. I remember leaving the movie and waiting to see when the soundtrack was going to come out. It was just a great time in music, so I’m thrilled to be able to do the musical and to bring the stage version to St. Louis.

A lot of people don’t know that you were on the same label as Whitney Houston at the time that the film came out. Can you talk about that?

We didn’t become label mates until 1995, and by then, she was already such an iconic figure but it really took it to a whole other level because those songs and that soundtrack just defined real moments in time. I really think about myself as a young singer practicing in front of the mirror and trying to hit all of those notes and singing all the songs. I feel like this moment has come full circle for me stepping into the biggest role of my career, and I don’t know if there will ever be another role that is as huge as this one just because of the expectations that people have every single night and the way it really resonates and touches people when they see the show. Young and old, everyone is moved, not just by the story, but by the sounds and the music.

Did working with Whitney in the past give you a unique perspective or advantage for this role?

I had to step away, not listen to it, not watch the film and just read the lyrics and words on the page and gain a new perspective. Otherwise, it would have just been me getting up on stage and doing a caricature of the character, and I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to inject a different spirit into the piece. My Rachel Marron is different because of the platform that I have to show her. Musical theater is very different from film; I had to have a whole new approach to this role when I took it on.

Do you remember the first time you saw “The Bodyguard” on stage and did you have any reservations about how it would translate?

No, I didn’t see any production of it. There are a few clips online but it’s very hard to get a sense of anything so I tried to stay away from all that and just go into rehearsals with an open mind and try to feed off of the energy of the other characters and my cast mates. When I got into the rehearsals with Justin, the two of us really connected and our first priority was trying to deliver this love story and let the people feel the experience and see these two people fall in love with each other but also recognizing that they also have a deep love for what they do and they’re not willing to sacrifice that either. 

What do you think will surprise people most about seeing the show live in person?

I think it is, in some ways, more powerful. They’ll be hearing a lot of the songs in their entirety; they’ll see the stalker and what he’s doing. They’ll be like a fly on the wall in every moment of Rachel’s life and what’s going on with her and with Frank, her sister and her child. They will get a better sense of what her world is rather than just focusing on the love story. In the film, there were more scenes with Frank and Rachel and this show has a lot more musical moments that help describe what Rachel’s going through, and you hear the songs in their entirety, which helps tell the story. 

What is the most challenging song to perform?

It depends on the day and sometimes the moment. Some nights it is hard to sing “I’m Every Woman” because that part of the show is so physically demanding. By the second act, so much has gone by and to do “I’m Every Woman” on top of that is even more work. Sometimes it’s emotional singing “I Will Always Love You” because I’m thinking about being away from home, away from my family and being on stage delivering this show. 

Any crazy fan encounters?

I had an incident with a photographer that was a little weird who just happened to be at most of the shows that I was doing so that became a little weird but it was never to that level of stalking where someone is sending letters or that kind of thing. 

If you could drop in one of your own songs into the show, which one would you pick?

It’s funny, you know, if I ended the show with “Nobody’s Supposed To Be,” they would have been totally fine with it, so it would probably be that one.

What about a Whitney song?

Oh, she has so many. I think there are some really great ones in the show. M