Deb­o­rah Cox says Whit­ney Hous­ton role is 'in good hands'

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

There's one im­por­tant per­son to thank for Deb­o­rah Cox step­ping into Whit­ney Hous­ton's shoes for the na­tional tour of "The Body­guard." That per­son would be Whit­ney Hous­ton her­self. Cox and Hous­ton were la­bel-mates and friends, with the late pop star men­tor­ing the Cana­dian singer and of­ten telling Cox to put fam­ily first. "I take plea­sure in the fact that I did know her. I did have a re­la­tion­ship with her," Cox says. "There was a com­radery there. She was a men­tor. There was a sis­ter­hood that we shared."

Cox trea­sures the piv­otal time she and Hous­ton shared a Mi­ami stu­dio to record the duet "Same Script, Dif­fer­ent Cast" in 2000. Hous­ton came in, kicked off her shoes and, af­ter the song was done, the two chat­ted. "She'd al­ways say to me, 'Girl, where them ba­bies at? Where them ba­bies at? When are you go­ing to have some ba­bies?' And it was re­ally lit­er­ally at the time where I was be­tween al­bums, try­ing to fig­ure out when I should start my fam­ily," Cox says. "That re­ally helped to bring me to where I am to­day, where I have a fam­ily, I have a ca­reer, I have a won­der­ful hus­band, I have a team sup­port sys­tem and it's be­cause of that ad­vice."

Cox says she's honor­ing Hous­ton's memory with the mu­si­cal based on "The Body­guard ," the Os­car-nom­i­nated 1992 ro­man­tic thriller about a diva who falls for a for­mer Se­cret Service agent. The stage ver­sion fea­tures songs from the movie such as "I Have Noth­ing," "Run to You" and "I Will Al­ways Love You" and adds other Hous­ton hits like "I Wanna Dance with Some­body," "Sav­ing All My Love for You" and "How Will I Know." Hous­ton died in 2012.

Singing those songs is both a re­spon­si­bil­ity and a pres­sure for Cox, who made her Broad­way de­but in El­ton John and Tim Rice's mu­si­cal "Aida" and most re­cently starred op­po­site Con­stan­tine Maroulis in a re­vival of "Jekyll & Hyde." "I know what the ex­pec­ta­tions are. I know what peo­ple want to hear. But also as an ac­tor, as an artist, as a singer, as a per­former, I want to be able to de­liver as well," she says. "I want peo­ple to know that, for me, this role is in good hands. I re­ally take it very, very se­ri­ous."

Jud­son Mills, the ac­tor play­ing the love-in­ter­est role played pre­vi­ously by Kevin Cost­ner, says the ad­di­tion of Cox was a key rea­son he signed up for the tour and that she has put her own mark on Hous­ton's songs. "Her en­ergy and her per­son­al­ity is so in­tox­i­cat­ing. You can't help but like her, and I re­ally think there's no one else I can think of who can play the role the way she does," says Mills. The tour kicked off at New Jersey's Pa­per Mill Play­house this month. It will make stops in more than 20 US cities, in­clud­ing Chicago, Philadelphia, Nashville, At­lanta, Los An­ge­les, San Diego and Dallas. — AP

— AP

In this Aug. 28, 2015 file photo, Deb­o­rah Cox at­tends the 2015 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards in Bev­erly Hills.

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