Thea Sharrock will direct the much-anticipated and long rumoured musical The Bodyguard at the Adelphi theatre later this year, with Tony Award-winning actress Heather Headley and Lloyd Owen in the starring roles.
The stage adaptation of the 1992 smash hit film, which starred Kevin Costner and the late Whitney Houston, will open on 5 December (previews from 6 November) and feature a score comprising some of Houston’s most famous songs, including Queen Of The Night, So Emotional, One Moment In Time, I Have Nothing, How Will I Know, and, of course, the legendary I Will Always Love You.
Headley will star as Rachel Marron, a world famous singer who comes under threat when she starts receiving sinister letters from an unknown stalker. When her management hires Frank Farmer (Owen), a former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, a power battle begins between the two, with neither expecting to fall in love.
The Tony and Grammy Award-winning Headley – who proved her stage credentials at today’s launch performing a hair-raising version of I Will Always Love You – will make her West End debut in the production as the legendary diva. The actress, who has also released three studio albums as a solo artist, has previously starred in The Lion King and Aida on Broadway. Speaking to us today, she said: "I am very honoured, nervous and scared out of my boots. It will be one of the most challenging things I've ever done or sung, but I think I'm ready for it. This is going to be the role and ride of a lifetime."
Her co-star Owen was last seen on the London stage in Loyalty at the Hampstead theatre and Blood And Gifts at the National Theatre. The British actor, who returns home from the USA to make his musical debut in the production, is best known for his screen performances in Monarch Of The Glen, Ghost Squad, The Vice, Apollo 18 and Miss Potter, but is a great believer in live performance, telling us: "If you think you were moved watching the movie, I guarantee you are going to have a greater experience at the theatre, because I know the power of theatre if you get it right."
Also making her musical debut with the production, director Sharrock declared herself “the world’s biggest Houston fan” when speaking at the launch today. Well known for her work on National Theatre plays After The Dance, Happy Now? and 13, Sharrock is currently directing comedy The Sunshine Boys at the Savoy theatre. Her other many credits include The Misanthrope (Comedy), Cause Célèbre (Old Vic) and Equus in the West End and on Broadway.
The Bodyguard features a book by Still Life playwright Alex Dinelaris, who has worked with the original film’s screenplay writer Lawrence Kasdan. The writers are joined in the creative team by designer Tim Hatley (Betty Blue Eyes, Shrek The Musical) and lighting designer Mark Henderson, whose numerous credits include current productions Sweeney Todd and Long Day’s Journey Into Night.
Tickets for The Bodyguard went on sale today and the production is currently booking until 27 April 2013.