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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 27, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 43
Embodying The Bodyguard: An interview with Deborah Cox
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Embodying The Bodyguard: An interview with Deborah Cox

by Eric Andrews-Katz - SGN A&E Writer

BROADWAY AT THE PARAMOUNT
THE BODYGUARD, THE MUSICAL
PARAMOUNT THEATRE
November 14-19


Deborah Cox's talent is without question. Starting her singing career at age twelve, the Canadian sensation Ms. Cox soon began singing backup for Celine Dion and Whitney Houston. Her hit single, 'Nobody's Supposed to Be Here' topped Billboard's charts for over 14 weeks, holding the record for almost eight years. Currently moving her talents to stage, the Seattle Gay News caught up with the superstar as she takes the lead role in the stage musical version of The Bodyguard.

Eric Andrews-Katz: Who were your earliest influences in becoming a singer?

Deborah Cox: Whitney Houston was the highest on the list. Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight were influences. I also liked a lot of jazz. Those are the ones that I most remember because they were the records my parents' played all the time. Whitney was definitely the biggest influence. It was The Bodyguard soundtrack that helped me shape my voice and tonality, by my listening to that album over and over and over.

Andrews-Katz: Your professional singing career started at age 12. When did you start songwriting?

Cox: That came later - out of necessity. When I knew it was time for me to find my own voice and cut my own identity as an artist. Putting pen to paper started when I was 17 or 18. I wrote poems before that, but I never considered myself a strong songwriter. But it was those songs that got me my deal, so I guess they weren't too bad. That was a part of me trying to find my own voice.

Andrews-Katz: Who were your earliest influences in becoming a stage performer?

Cox: It was from watching artists like Tina Turner, Cher, Madonna, Janet Jackson, and Whitney. When I think about performance on stage, I think about those women. They did tons of costume changes, and I feel like that's what I am doing in this show.

Rachel Marron is a throwback to those women who are larger than life on stage. We have amazing costumes and an amazing ensemble, tons of dancers. It's a fun, big show. When I'm doing 'I'm Every Woman' or 'Queen of the Night' those kinds of big productions make this show fun. You'll be sitting in the audience and are transported to the Oscars, then Rachel's mansion, or at one of her concerts.

Andrews-Katz: On Broadway you performed in AIDA, Jekyll & Hyde, and now The Bodyguard. What is it about stage work that you like that differs from concerts?

Cox: This one is totally different because it is about a celebrity that is being stalked. It is similar to my world [of concert performing] so I feel like I'm doing one of my own shows. But with Jekyll & Hyde, it was me taking on a different persona, and a different character to play. In The Bodyguard, the experience is taking the film and putting it on stage, but it's more than that. We've added other songs from Whitney's catalogue, so you are getting a full songbook of incredible music with a backdrop of suspense thrill and love story.

Andrews-Katz: How did you first get involved with The Bodyguard?

Cox: The producers of the show approached me to originate the role here in the US and start touring. I was reluctant at first but I read the script and loved the way the story was told. I felt really connected to it because the film was such an impact on my life - I saw it when I was shaping my own self into an artist, so I fell in love with the whole thing.

Andrews-Katz: In 2013 you participated in a stage musical workshop about the life of Josephine Baker. Can you tell us more about the show?

Cox: We ran it in Florida for about a month to workshop it. The project is still on hold and we're not sure if it will get a feeder. That process also helped me as an artist to not be inhibited. When I was getting ready for the photo session for The Bodyguard, I was finishing up with Josephine. It was great to see how similar these women were.

Andrews-Katz: Does that mean we get to see Rachel doing a Banana Dance?

Cox: (laughing) No. There's no Banana Dance, although she is scantily clad at times. For 'Queen of the Night' I can't believe I'm dressed like that on a Sunday morning! Josephine struggled with not having children, and then sort of went over her head. Rachel is dedicated to her son. These two women allowed me to pick things from their storylines and bring them together.

Andrews-Katz: The Bodyguard has become an iconic film. What influences do you retain from the film, and how do you make the role your own?

Cox: That's a really interesting question. It's the hardest thing about this, is finding my own voice and finding Rachel's voice on stage. We all know and love the film, we know the songs and you get to hear all the passion and love because we sing the song in its entirety. I don't think you can get that if it were in snippets. You really get to experience the emotional roller coaster; all the suspense in the show and then, it's like a big dance party. We sing, 'I'm Every Woman,' and it takes you on a journey. It's what I love about the show.

Andrews-Katz: If you could play any role - regardless of limitations - what would it be and why?

Cox: Probably Tina Turner. Yeah, if there were a musical about her, that would be a compelling story.

Andrews-Katz: Rumors say there is already a 'Tina Turner musical' being planned?

Cox: Yeah? Well, maybe I'll get my chance, then. Deborah Cox has had 13 hits reach the number-one position on the Billboard charts. On Broadway she played 'Lucy' in Jekyll & Hyde as well as the title role in Elton John's AIDA.

Tickets for The Bodyguard are available online at https://www.stgpresents.org/tickets/alphabetical/eventdetail/3157/-/the-bodyguard. By phone at 1-800-745-3000. In-person at the Paramount Theatre box office.

The Paramount Theatre box office is open Monday through Friday from 10am to 6pm for ticket purchases to Paramount, Moore and Neptune Theatre shows. Our box office is closed on most major holidays. In the evening and on weekends, our box offices open 90 minutes prior to showtime for sales to that day's event.

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