Hit musical The Bodyguard is coming to the Lyceum Theatre for a two-week run starring three-time Brit nominee and X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke.
The lavish production is based on the 1992 Oscar-nominated movie starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner and features one of the biggest selling songs of all time, I Will Always Love You, along with other hits Run to You, Jesus Loves Me, Queen of the Night and I Have Nothing .
I was lucky to get a first part that feels natural for meAlexandra Burke
When last year Alexandra Burke took over in the West End from Beverley Knight in the role of Rachel Marron – a superstar plagued by a stalker who falls in love with the new bodyguard hired to protect her – it was her stage debut.
“The transition was quite smooth,“ she reflects. “I am used to performing on stage but I must admit it was nerve-wracking for me at first because it was different from anything I had done.
“I was helped so much by the company and cast. I walked into the show last year as soon as Beverly had left and I had less than a month to rehearse. I learned the script within a week and was quite impressed with myself and in the end I found it fun.
“I had a dialect coach to work on my American accent but actually I have an American management team and I’ve always mimicked them a bit and I was living in New York for a year and a bit. So I was lucky to get a part that feels natural to me.”
She admits she did have worries about putting her singing career on hold for at least a year to commit to The Bodyguard.
“I had to think about it and weigh up the options. Two years ago I turned it down because I didn’t think I was ready for it and could do it justice.
“Then it came round again. I believe in God and am quite spiritual and have faith and I thought to myself, what’s God doing? This is an opportunity and he needs you to take it.
“I thought not everyone gets an opportunity like this and is given it twice.
“Acting was something I have enjoyed since I was five but when I was 16 I had to give it up when my mother told me I had to prove I was great at one thing – singing – rather than three things, singing, dancing and acting. Acting will follow on,” she says.
Her mother is Melissa Bell, herself a soul and R&B singer and member of the group Soul II Soul. Was it inevitable she would follow her lead?
“I have always wanted to sing and have a career in music and my mother only enhanced this and encouraged me,” she says.
“Seeing how hard she worked and the sacrifices she had to make, I thought that was what I was prepared to do.
“She’s been a massive support and is always around. She came up to Birmingham to see the show when it was my birthday.”
l The Bodyguard is at the Lyceum from next Tuesday to November 7. Alexandra Burke will perform at all evening performances. At matinees, the role of Rachel Marron will be played by Pop Idol’s Zoe Birkett.