Trinidad star Heather Headley lauded for her role in London production of The Bodyguard
LONDON, England, Thursday December 13, 2012 – Grammy and Tony award-winning artist Heather Headley has taken London’s West End by storm with her powerful performance in the stage version of the Whitney Houston film The Bodyguard.
The Trinidadian R&B and soul singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress has drawn universal praise and critical acclaim for her starring role as Rachel Marron, which was originally played by Houston at the height of her fame in 1992.
Houston, one of the world's best selling singers of the '80s and '90s, was found dead in a Los Angeles hotel room on the eve of the Grammy Awards in February this year.
Headley, a former Broadway star who recently returned to musical theatre after a break of more than twelve years, did Houston’s memory proud, winning rave reviews for her "sassy stage presence" and "vocal swoops and trills... at least as fine a singer as Houston in her heyday, if not even better," according to critic Charles Spencer.
Writing in The Telegraph, Spencer summed up the production as "proof that if you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, you can sometimes come surprisingly close".
"By no stretch of the imagination is The Bodyguard a great musical," he added. "But with all the big Whitney Houston hits superbly delivered by Headley and a cracking pit band, I suspect it is destined for a long and lucrative run."
The production, which recently premiered at London's Adelphi Theatre, has been reworked by Alexander Dinelaris putting Headley's Rachel Marron at the centre of the action and beefing up the role of Rachel's sister and love rival, while also highlighting Houston's canon of songs.
"The Bodyguard manages to fall simultaneously into two pretty suspect categories - the screen-to-stage adaptation and the jukebox musical," wrote Paul Taylor in The Independent. He nevertheless added that "the show is an altogether more pleasurable experience than that doubly dubious distinction might make it sound".
"It's loud, it's soupy, it is as predictable as the tides - yet it makes for a pumpy, undemanding evening," agreed Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail, labelling it "a modern romantic classic".
Widely considered to have made the production her own, Heather Headley was born in Trinidad in 1974, the daughter of Hannah and Eric Headley. By age four, she was captivated by music including her native calypso and soca.
She moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana at the age of 15 with her mother and brother Junior, when her father became pastor of McKee Street Church of God with headquarters in Anderson, Indiana.
The young Trinidadian went on to attend Northrop High School, and was a member of its resident show choir, Charisma, and starred as Fanny Brice in the school's production of Funny Girl.
After graduating from Northrop, Headley attended Northwestern University to study communications and musical theatre until the last day of her junior year, when she made the difficult decision to become a part of the musical Ragtime and drop out of school. The rest, as they say, is history.
In 2003 Headley married Brian Musso, formerly of the New York Jets. In December 2009, they welcomed their first child John David. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)