It takes a soaring voice—and nerves of steel—to re-create Whitney Houston’s most iconic role. Meet the woman up for the challenge.
Miami native Deborah Cox stars in The Bodyguard: The Musical.
This month, R&B superstar and Miami local Deborah Cox demonstrates that full, virtuosic range in the stage production of The Bodyguard: The Musical at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts (April 3-8). Based on the 1992 blockbuster starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, the show features Houston’s most beloved anthems, delivered with startling verisimilitude by Cox. The Grammy nominee and mother of three talks about her personal connection to the role.
You’re filling the shoes of a legend while singing from the bestselling soundtrack of all time. No pressure, right? Oh no, none at all. I’ll admit the idea of stepping into this role was daunting at first. But the stage production really allows the music to tell Rachel Marron’s story. You see her as a superstar with ‘Queen of the Night,’ you see her inner monologue with ‘Greatest Love of All.’
You also had a personal relationship with the original Rachel Marron, Whitney Houston. I hear you accepted this role with her family’s blessing. Yes, Whitney and I were label mates. We recorded a duet at Hit Factory in Miami, we partied together at the Versace mansion. She had a huge influence on me. In a way, this show allows me to pay homage to the person who really, really inspired me. That’s why I give it 200 percent every night.
That’s a huge demand, considering you’ve been touring with this production for a year and a half. How will it feel to perform close to home at the Arsht Center? Performing with friends and family and neighbors in the audience is going to be very emotional.
And afterwards, you get to drive home instead of staying at a hotel… Yeah, I can help with school in the mornings and the regular day-to-day. My daughter has a birthday coming up, so I’m in birthday mode trying to decide where to have it. I’m thinking the Miami Ice Cream Museum.
Have your kids seen the show? They have; it’s a family show. And of course, they’re hearing the music that had such an influence on me. [Before] Whitney, I had never seen such a beautiful, elegant black woman sing and resonate the way she did, outside my mother.