SCHENECTADY — As college undergraduate, Judson Mills and Alexander Dinelaris roomed together at Barry University in Miami, Fla. Both in theatre, Mills said the two would stay up late, “drinking Coors Extra Gold, talking smack about going to the Oscars [and] going to Broadway.”
“Sure enough,” said The Bodyguard actor, “25 years later, he’s got an Oscar and we’re doing a Broadway show together. It’s pretty exciting.”
Dinelaris tapped his old roommate on the shoulder after having trouble finding his Frank Farmer, the role portrayed by Kevin Costner in the 1992 Oscar nominated film. As difficult as one would expect to follow Whitney Houston — singing songs during Houston’s prime — it’s perhaps just as difficult translating the stoic and subtle actions of Costner’s Secret Service agent-turned bodyguard from film to stage.
“Capturing the essence of the character, and trying to stay true to the material but give something that is entertaining, that is engaging, that has personality and have some relevance to the 15th row or to the mezzanine has been a challenge for this thing since Day One,” said Mills. “But, it’s been great. We’ve had a really good time.”
Mills, a veteran of both television and film, comes back to the stage to star opposite of Grammy Award nominee and R&B singer Deborah Cox, who plays Rachel Marron. Mills said Cox is best person for the role originally played by Houston in the Warner Bros. film.
“I don’t know anybody alive who is better suited to do it than Deborah Cox,” he said.
The plot includes former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge; what they don’t expect is to fall in love.
A romantic thriller, “The Bodyguard” features a host of irresistible classics including “So Emotional,” “One Moment in Time,” “Saving All My Love,” “Run to You,” “I Have Nothing,” “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and one of the biggest selling songs of all time – “I Will Always Love You.”
Since Dinelaris’ musical adaptation of Lawrence Kasdan’s Oscar nominated film, it has been nominated for four Laurence Olivier Awards including Best New Musical and Best Set Design and won Best New Musical at the Whatsonstage Awards. The UK production of the musical recently completed a return run in London’s West End after a sell-out 16-month UK and Ireland tour.
The musical comes to Proctors as part of the musical’s first U.S. National tour from Tuesday, Jan. 30 to Sunday, Feb. 4.
Ticket prices range from $20 to $85 and are available at the Box Office at Proctors, by phone at (518) 346-6204, and online at proctors.org.
Michael Hallisey is Managing Editor of Spotlight Newspapers.