Deborah Cox Offers New Interpretation of Whitney Houston Role

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Deborah Cox stars in the stage adaptation of the hit 1992 film, “The Bodyguard,” coming to both the Arsht and Kravis Centers. Credit: Joan Marcus.

Broadway has long turned to Hollywood for inspiration. The marquees in New York’s famed theater district advertise stage adaptations of many hit movies, ranging from Disney’s “The Lion King,” “Frozen,” and “Aladdin” to “School of Rock,” “Kinky Boots” and “Waitress.”

Whitney Houston’s 1992 Oscar-nominated musical thriller “The Bodyguard” has also undergone a theatrical transformation and the current touring production will stop in Miami and West Palm Beach in April.

Grammy nominee and dance hit diva Deborah Cox takes on the role made famous by Houston, a pop singer who is being terrorized by a hitman and must secure the services of a handsome former Secret Service agent for her protection.

But, there are still plenty of surprises in store for even the most avid movie fans, Cox promised.

“It’s very close to the film, but the difference is the music really tells a lot of the story, as opposed to the film. This show is more of a mixture of a Broadway show and a concert and we break the fourth wall and talk to the audience to get them involved.”

And don’t expect Cox to mimic the familiar on-screen performance of Houston, either.

“I’ve worked hard to make it my own and bring a different sentiment to the character. I think when you hear the songs, you go back to the place where you were when you first heard the music, but the difference in my performance is these songs have to be sung in a way to give the audience a better understanding of the character.”

Like many successful artists, Cox is comfortable both in the studio or the concert hall, but performing in a musical offers a different kind of satisfaction.

“The collaboration with other artists, cast members, dancers, crew—there’s something that is more exhilarating, as opposed to being in concert. I have a lot of control when it’s my own show, I love storytelling. I lucked out with great leading man (Judson Mills) and a great supporting cast. We’re having fun and it’s like being in a great workshop every night finding new moments in the show. This is really a dream role.”

Fans will discover compelling new sides to Cox’s character, thanks to the iconic soundtrack, along with an added bonus, “The Greatest Love of All,” she said:

“The songs are all sung in their entirety. With ‘The Greatest Love of All,’ (we reveal) Rachel Marron as a mother and discover her maternal side. There are a lot of beautiful moments in the show that give Rachel a little more of an arc in who she is, not just a superstar who has everything at her fingertips.”

A generation of gay men and women first came out to Cox’s chart-topping dance hits. Many of these gay fans have enthusiastically supported the show, which concludes its current tour after performances in Miami and West Palm Beach.

“It’s so funny. A few fans said they came out to my music and, now that they’re older, have money and can come watch me in the theater. It shows how fans have grown and matured and (are) comfortable coming out and being their authentic selves. I’m proud to help them.”

The singer won’t be slowing down much, though.

“I’m going to get back in the studio…music is always something I do, so that will never change.”

Deborah Cox stars in “The Bodyguard,” April 3 – 8 at the Arsht Center in Miami, and April 10 – 15 at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach. Tickets and more information at ArshtCenter.org and Kravis.org.


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