Theatre Review

‘The Bodyguard’: from hit movie to hit musical

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“The Bodyguard-The Musical,” the American story of a former Secret Service agent hired to protect a superstar from an unknown stalker, became a rare hit when it was turned into a musical, opening on London’s West End before finally moving across the pond.

The musical stars Grammy Award nominee and R & B superstar Deborah Cox as Rachel Marron, with TV and movie veteran Judson Mills playing Frank Farmer, aka “The Bodyguard.”

I talked with Mills, who was between shows in Salt Lake City before their two-week Christmas break and a cross-country trip to Rhode Island where the musical will be at the Providence Performing Arts Center January 9-14.

“It’s a very challenging role,” he said. “Frank is an interesting character. He’s an unsung hero who shows little emotion. That is easy to do in a movie where the camera can zero in on your face, but it’s not the same on the stage.

“I had to breathe life into the character, making him more interesting. It is easy to just be boring. While the stage version follows the film story, there are a couple of changes. We’re trapped on the stage and have to adapt to the outdoor scenes.”

Mills speaks highly of Deborah Cox.

“First of all, I really like her,” he said. “She is a phenomenal person, singer and actress, a consummate pro. She’s like nobody else.”

Judson Mills has had an extensive career in television and movies, spending three years as a major character on “As the World Turns” and enjoying many roles in TV series and movies.

“I’m enjoying working on the stage with a live audience, and would welcome the opportunity to continue that part of my career,” he said.

He has been with the show for a year and a half, with bookings scheduled through April 2018.

“I am anxious to get home to California to see my kids,” he said. “Right now they have been evacuated due to the fires and air quality.

“The Bodyguard-The Musical” opens the 2018 Broadway Series at PPAC on January 9. The added bonus is hearing Deborah Cox sing such great songs as “One Moment in Time,” “Saving All My Love” and, of course, one of the biggest selling songs of all time, “I Will Always Love You.”

For tickets call 421-ARTS.

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