By Deborah Howell
I am 8 inches from Angela Bassett’s fabulous face. I try not to gasp at her lovely eyes, flawless skin and electric personality as she accepts her tickets, then moves along the red carpet with grace and authority–every inch the A-list superstar she is. (This alone was worth getting out of bed today.)
Meanwhile, I turn around just in time to witness the languid gait of Academy Award winning actor, J. K. Simmons (Whiplash, La La Land, and those Farmers Insurance commercials) as he ambles down the sidewalk in front of the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. So it’s going to be that kind of night. I’m good with that! 🙂
Fans and photogs, pretty people and paparazzi ring the red carpet and there she steps–Deborah Cox herself–wearing black heels and black short shorts and the winning-est smile on the planet. (I notice she’s not saying anything…and for good reason. She’s in virtually every scene of the musical we’re about to see, and she needs to save every bit of vocal power to unleash a stream of smash hits in the spirit of powerhouse pop megastar Ms. Whitney Houston. I wouldn’t utter a single extra syllable, either!)
Blockbuster film turned award-winning musical, The Bodyguard, hit the Pantages last night. And talk about making an entrance! It literally begins with a bang and never lets up. Opening night was insanely entertaining; showcasing top-notch vocals, expert acting, some of the most beloved songs ever written, exciting scenery and infectious dance sequences straight out of the MTV era and into our hearts.
In case you missed the movie, here’s a quick catch-up: Frank Farmer is a former Secret Service agent who is now employed to protect pop/r & b superstar Rachel Marron. GRAMMY Award-nominated and multi-platinum recording artist Deborah Cox plays the singer, whom her bodyguard, Frank Farmer (the endearing Judson Mills) must protect from an unknown stalker. A power struggle between the two blossoms into an unlikely love story. And the rest of the show is just all about those hits.
Since Frank Farmer does not sing, (except for in one of the funniest scenes, which I won’t wreck for you by spilling the beans) the task of bringing these beloved Whitney smashes to life falls to Deborah Cox AND Jasmine Richardson, who plays the part of Rachel Marron’s under-recognized sister, Nicki. And she delivers the goods. Most recognized for her media campaign with Clinique Cosmetics, Jasmine/Nicki’s vocal tone reminds me a bit of a young Dionne Warwick–clear as a bell, pleasing and penetrating. It pairs beautifully with Deborah’s earthy, full, soaring vocal amazingness. Seriously, Deborah Cox knocks it out tha box! There is currently no better singer on Broadway or in the West End theatre scene, period.
You think you’ve heard songs like “All The Man That I Need”, “Greatest Love of All”, “I Have Nothing”, and “Run To You” a sufficient amount of times in your life. Until you’ve heard them done live by this cast.
Do yourself a favor and run to the box office and grab your tickets for this ridiculously entertaining evening of dance, humor, musical memories and more. “How Will You Know” unless you go?
The Bodyguard is all the way live at The Pantages through May 21st, 2017.
6233 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028