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.”
Playing through Feb. 26
The Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St.