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Copyright 2016: The Celebrity Front Page. Entertainment Information in Chicago. All rights reserved. 
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   IF Deborah Cox’s rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” at the annual Broadway in Chicago Summer Concert is any indication, then her upcoming role in the stage version of The Bodyguard should be a one-of-a-kind, memorable performance. In the midst of a soaking, driving rain at Millennium Park, the singer/actress had the crowd hanging onto each note of the Dolly Parton-written song that was featured in the 1992 romantic thriller, which starred Kevin Costner and heightened Houston’s level of superstardom.
   Cox, a Grammy Award-nominee known for songs such as “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here” and “We Can’t Be Friends,” is an accomplished actress who, among other roles, co-starred in the Broadway production of Jekyll & Hyde. In The Bodyguard, she will assume Whitney’s role of pop diva Rachel Marron, a best-selling superstar who hires a former secret service agent to protect her from an unknown stalker. Before leaving the Jay Pritzker Pavilion stage, Cox sang another song that will be included in the theater production, Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” which had the drenched but enthusiastic crowd singing along and dancing in the aisles.
   The Bodyguard, which will be on the Oriental Theatre stage from January 31 through February 12, was one of the 10 previews of shows that will be coming to Chicago theaters during the 2016-2017 season. At the Broadway in Chicago presentation, theater enthusiasts also had the opportunity to get a brief look at STOMPFinding NeverlandAladdinFun HomeThe Phantom of the OperaThe King and IHedwig and the Angry InchSomething Rotten and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which returns to Chicago by popular demand. Rebecca LaChance reminded the audience of the production’s many hits when she performed “Beautiful” and “I Feel The Earth Move.”
   Perhaps the most anticipated show in next season’s lineup is Disney’s Aladdin, which already has been seen by more than a million people on Broadway. The show will launch its North American tour at the Cadillac Palace Theatre for a 12-week engagement from April 11 through July 2, 2017. "Aladdin will be the fourth new production we've launched in Chicago in 16 years. Chicago's canny audiences, its theatrical infrastructure and its stunning theaters make it a peerless town for creating new productions," said Thomas Schumacher, president and producer of Disney Theatrical Productions. "We are thrilled to return with Aladdin." The production will feature all of the beloved songs from the Academy Award-winning soundtrack––including “A Whole New World” and “Friend Like Me.” Also included will be new numbers written for the stage such as “Somebody’s Got Your Back” and “Proud of Your Boy.”
   This year’s concert, again hosted by Janet Davies of ABC7 Chicago, was dedicated to Broadway and Chicago theater king James Nederlander, chairman of the Nederlander Organization. As head of the operation, he built the business into one of the largest producers of live entertainment and created a highly impressive national theater chain that includes nine Broadway houses. The 94-year-old, 12-time Tony Award-winner died on July 25.
Photograph by Dot Ward
Photograph by Dot Ward
Photograph by Dot Ward
Broadway In Chicago's Summer Concert 2016
Rain didn't dampen the spirit of theatergoers who got a glimpse of some highly anticipated shows 
Actress/singer Deborah Cox will be in the Whitney Houston role when The Bodyguard comes to the Oriental Theatre on January 31 through February 12.
Christine Dwyer sings a tune from Finding Neverland, coming to the Cadillac Palace Theatre. At right, Travis Taylor, a Chicagoan and graduate of Roosevelt University, will star in The Phantom of The OperaMajor Attaway (below) will be in Disney's Aladdin.
STOMP is scheduled for a run at Broadway Playhouse, beginning November 16.
Singers (left to right) Rebecca LaChance, Daniella Dalli and Stephen Trask highlight tunes from Beautiful: The Carole King MusicalThe King and I, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Alessandra Baldacchino (below, left) is front and center in Fun Home, and (right) some cast members offer a peek at Something Rotten
For more information, go to
Fun Home, November 2 through November 13, Oriental Theatre
STOMP, November 16 through January 1, Broadway Playhouse
Finding Neverland, November 22 through December 4, Cadillac Palace Theatre
The Phantom of The Opera, December 14 through January 8, Cadillac Palace Theatre
The Bodyguard, January 31 through February 12, Oriental Theatre
Hedwig and the Angry Inch, March 7 through March 19, Oriental Theatre
Disney’s Aladdin, April 11 through July 2, Cadillac Palace Theatre
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I, June 13 through July 9, Oriental Theatre
Something Rotten, July 11 through July 23, Oriental Theatre
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, December 7 through December 31, Cadillac Palace Theatre
–– Walter Leavy