The West End version of The Bodyguard was launched today at London’s Savoy Hotel. Tony Award-winner Heather Headley, set to step into Whitney Houston’s shoes as diva-in-danger Rachel Marron at the Adelphi Theatre on November 6, knocked a seen-it-all-before Press crowd flat with renditions of two of the show’s standout numbers.
Radiant, relaxed and looking every inch a star, Headley had the audience eating out of her hand as soon as she took the stage. Professing a long-standing admiration for the late Ms Houston, she described how she first turned down the role of Rachel Marron because of too-high expectations to live up to Whitney’s legacy. Luckily, her husband talked her around.
She sang "Run to You" and it was gorgeous, channelling the spirit of Whitney without slavishly copying the late singer’s style. Audience members were moved by Headley’s elegant, emotional delivery of I Will Always Love You. Fans of the movie and the much-missed Ms Houston won’t be disappointed come opening night.
Joining Headley was rugged co-star Lloyd Owen, who will be taking on Kevin Costner’s title role of ex-Secret Service bodyguard Frank Farmer. The show’s acclaimed director Thea Sharrock, currently directing The Sunshine Boys at the Savoy Theatre, also took the stage. She spoke about her lifelong love of Whitney, and her delight that original Bodyguard screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan has played a major role in bringing his much-loved story to the stage.
The Bodyguard tells the story of superstar singer Rachel Marron. When she receives death threats from an unknown source, former Presidential bodyguard Frank Farmer is hired to protect her. Though Rachel is icy to Frank at first, love blossoms between the unlikely pair. But if he can’t save her from her would-be assassin, it may be short-lived.