Exclusive! "She Was Like a Big Sister" — Deborah Cox Remembers Whitney Houston As She Readies For The Bodyguard | Playbill

News Exclusive! "She Was Like a Big Sister" — Deborah Cox Remembers Whitney Houston As She Readies For The Bodyguard
Grammy-nominated singer and Broadway actress Deborah Cox will headline a U.S. national tour of The Bodyguard, the property that gave Cox's former collaborator, the late Whitney Houston — arguably the voice of her generation — her acting debut.

Directed by Thea Sharrock, who directed its West End bow (starring Heather Headley), the tour will launch in fall 2016. Prior to the announcement May 14 that Cox would take on the role of Rachel Marron, she shared her excitement with Playbill.com.

She said, "The opportunity to sing all of these songs that people have grown to love over the years — to share her legacy and her catalogue of music and bring it right to the people. I mean, 'Bodyguard' is one of my all-time favorite movies, and it just has the best music, and I think the show is going to be compelling and mysterious, and it's going to have the backdrop of all this really beautiful classic music."

Deborah Cox
Deborah Cox

The Bodyguard features a multitude of Houston's greatest hits including "Queen of the Night," "So Emotional," "One Moment in Time," "Saving All My Love," "I'm Your Baby Tonight," "Run to You," "I Have Nothing," "How Will I Know," "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" and "I Will Always Love You."

Before Houston died suddenly at the age of 48 in February 2012, Cox had the opportunity to record with the Grammy winner. They recorded "Same Script, Different Cast," released as a single in 2000 and featured on "Whitney: The Greatest Hits."

What are Cox's favorite memories from working with Houston? "Oh, man, laughing and cutting it up in the studio," she said. "We were label mates. She was a mentor and a friend, and I think about the times dancing in Miami and hanging out and just the close camaraderie… "She was like a big sister. She would give me advice on the business, on songs, on the way I should go about performing certain things. We had some really great, in-depth conversations about a lot of different things — having a family, keeping balance in my life — these are all gold nuggets of wisdom that she imparted and took the time to really [share] within her crazy schedule. I mean, she made you feel like you were the only one in the room when she was having a conversation with you. She just had that connection."

Aside from her Broadway bouts in Aida and the 2013 revival of Jekyll & Hyde, Cox provided the vocals for the Whitney Houston Lifetime movie "Whitney." She feels a strong connection to her catalogue.

"Well, when I first heard 'Run to You,' I mean, I melted," Cox confided. "When I first heard her voice and her style — songs like 'Saving All My Love For You,' 'You Give Good Love,' 'Greatest Love of All' — those are the songs that really, I think, helped to inspire me. Those are the songs that I used to sing in the mirror as a child. Coming up in the business, I knew that those were the kinds of songs and that was the kind of style that I wanted to do. She set the bar and set the tone for a lot of us singers, and I think that is what kind of needs to come back and be represented — just classic music and classic, great songwriting. And, being able to perform these songs on stage with a full orchestra every single night is going to be just thrilling."

When Houston was found dead in her guest room at the Beverly Hilton, in Beverly Hills, CA, in February 2012, the music industry at large was left heartbroken. Cox included.

"Heartbreaking," said Cox on Houston's death. "Heartbroken, very sad. Just heartbreaking. Tragic — the way she left us so suddenly. But, I feel really blessed to have had the opportunity to perform, work with her and record a duet with her. Our duet 'Same Script, Different Cast' was, again, one of the highlights of my career, so to take the stage every night [and] perform this legacy of music is an honor because…what I think is really missing in today's industry [are those] classic, well-penned songs and hearing a voice that can capture the sentiment of each story."

Based on Lawrence Kasdan's 1992 Oscar-nominated Warner Bros. film of the same name, and adapted for the stage by Academy Award winner Alexander Dinelaris, the musical had its world premiere Dec. 5, 2012, at London's Adelphi Theatre. It was nominated for four Laurence Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical, and concluded its West End run Aug. 29, 2014. It is currently touring the U.K. and Ireland.

The creative team includes set and costume designer Tim Hatley, lighting designer Mark Henderson, sound designer Richard Brooker and choreographer Karen Bruce. Orchestrations and additional music is by Chris Egan.

The North American tour of The Bodyguard is produced by Michael Harrison, David Ian and Nederlander Presentations, Inc.

Additional casting and cities will be announced at a later date. Visit TheBodyguardMusical.com.

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