Protecting Marron

Fol­low­ing in Kev­in Cost­ner’s foot­steps, Jud­son Mills has the task of pro­tect­ing a su­per­star sing­er in “The Body­guard.” 

The U.S. tour of “The Body­guard” will be at The Academy of Mu­sic through Sunday.

The Kim­mel Cen­ter for the Per­form­ing Arts and the Shubert Or­gan­iz­a­tion present the Broad­way Phil­adelphia run of the hit mu­sic­al The Body­guard as part of the show’s first U.S. tour.

The show runs at the Academy of Mu­sic through Feb. 26, and stars Grammy Award-nom­in­ated De­borah Cox as Rachel Mar­ron, the role cre­ated by the late Whit­ney Hou­s­ton in the 1992 film, along with tele­vi­sion star Jud­son Mills in the role of the body­guard Frank Farm­er.

The show re­volves around Farm­er, a former Secret Ser­vice agent turned body­guard, who is hired to pro­tect su­per­star Mar­ron from an un­known stalk­er. Each ex­pects to be in charge, but they don’t ex­pect to fall in love.

“Kev­in Cost­ner played the role in the movie, and I’m of­ten com­pared to him,” Mills said. “It’s hard not to use some of the things Kev­in used in the film to bring the char­ac­ter to life, but I did get some help from Larry Kas­dan (who wrote the Oscar-nom­in­ated film). He gave me some point­ers on how to ap­proach the role.

“But once I di­ges­ted all that, I de­cided to start from scratch and al­low some ele­ments from my own per­son­al­ity to slowly con­geal as the re­la­tion­ships in the show were get­ting stronger. In any event, even as some people say I even sound like Kev­in, I’m just glad they’re en­joy­ing the show.”

Mills grew up just out­side of Wash­ing­ton, D.C. in a little house in the woods built by George Wash­ing­ton be­fore he was pres­id­ent. As a boy, Mills pre­ferred ath­let­ics to act­ing, but in high school he had a drama coach who saw something in him that im­pressed her.

“She had been an act­ress at one time and pushed me in­to do­ing some plays. I did and found I en­joyed them very much,” Mill said. “From high school, I went to Barry Uni­versity in Miami to ma­jor in theat­er. And after one year, I moved to New York and entered the Amer­ic­an Academy of Dra­mat­ic Arts to bet­ter learn my craft.”

After school, he landed his first au­di­tion and spent three years on the soap op­era, “As The World Turns.”

“That’s how it all star­ted for me. I moved out to Los Angeles and have since done a great deal of tele­vi­sion work.”

Aside from nu­mer­ous guest-star­ring roles, Mills was a series reg­u­lar along­side Chuck Nor­ris on the ac­tion show, “Walk­er, Texas Ranger.”

Mills ad­mits he nev­er did a tour­ing show be­fore, so he’s find­ing some parts of it very daunt­ing, like all the trav­el­ing, wak­ing in a new city and start­ing over tech­nic­ally every week.

“But it also keeps you fresh, which is good be­cause as act­ors you have to re­main open and aware since you nev­er know what’s go­ing to hap­pen next.”

While this act­or wouldn’t mind if more stage work came his way, he’s just wait­ing and very ex­cited to see what hap­pens next.

He said, “I cer­tainly wouldn’t be op­posed to work­ing on the stage more. But for the time be­ing, I’m just try­ing to keep my op­tions open and do­ing the best job I can.” 

The Body­guard 
Play­ing through Feb. 26
The Academy of Mu­sic, 240 S. Broad St. 
Tick­ets: $20-$140   
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