As a rising recording artist, Deborah Cox felt a special connection when she first met Whitney Houston.
That bond has led to her paying homage to the memory of her former Arista label mate in “The Bodyguard — The Musical,” a winning adaptation of the beloved film currently running through May 22 at the Hollywood Pantages.
The two met while recording “Same Script, Different Cast,” co-written by the team responsible for Cox’s biggest song, “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here,” for “Whitney: The Greatest Hits.”
“She was like a mentor,” recalled the Canadian-born star. “We talked about a lot of personal things. She helped steer me to make the right choices and not depend so much on success in the business but with family as well. That was important. I was between albums and trying to figure out what I should do.”
The show marks the second time Cox’s powerhouse vocals have been utilized in conjunction with a Houston-based project after she lent her talents to the Lifetime biopic “Whitney.”
This time she takes on the role of Rachel Marron, the threatened superstar who unexpectedly falls for her protector Frank Farmer (endearingly played by Judson Mills).
Though the Houston estate has yet to comment on the crowd-pleasing production that is Broadway bound with film potential, Cox did say that Whitney’s aunt, Dionne Warwick, came to see the show and told her she enjoyed it. As did many after a surprise sensational post-curtain call finale that turns theaters out.
An EP of some of the show-stopping numbers has just been released.
“It’s arguably the most requested songs that people wanted to hear me sing,” Cox said. “[Among the eight songs covered are] ‘I Will Always Love You;’ ‘All the Man That I Need,’ which has always been a favorite of mine; ‘I Want To Dance With Somebody’ and ‘I’m Every Woman.’”
The tour continues nationwide through April 2018 with a few layoffs, but there are other “sheroes” stories Cox would love to take on, including Miriam Makeba, Lena Horne and Diana Ross.
In the meantime, she wants her fans to know she’s putting together some new music as well.
“I haven’t forgotten about them,” she said. “People have been asking about that for quite a while.”
BEATING THE DRUM: Peerless percussionist Sheila E. has joined forces with PledgeMusic to launch a pre-order campaign for “Iconic,” her new project described as a “protest album for modern times.” George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Ringo Starr and Freddie Stone are but a few of the collaborators reinventing revolution songs drawn from American musical history.
Pledgers can pre-order now and bid on extras like exclusive tracks; signed drumsticks; a full performance drum kit played by Sheila on tour; a limited-edition 45 single of “Girl Meets Boy” by Prince and Sheila E.; and much more. Visit www.pledgemusic.com/projects/sheilae for details.
CLIPPETTES: Ozomatli and 40 other acts perform on May 6 at Mission for South Pasadena’s ninth annual Eclectic Music Festival & Art Walk; while Shang brings his insightful comedy to the Hollywood Improv …
Grammy-nominated rapper Wale’s hugely anticipated fifth studio album, “Shine,” has arrived, featuring collaborations with Travis Scott, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Major Lazer, G-Eazy, J Balvin and even Wale’s daughter Zyla, to name a few …
“Hope in the Hood,” a script-flipped Snow White play written and directed by Wendy Raquel Robinson, is having a 20th anniversary staging by Amazing Grace Conservatory on May 7 for two shows at the Gindi Auditorium …
Pianist/composer Gerald Clayton has a two-night stand at the Blue Whale beginning May 9 in support of his new album “Tributary Tales” …
Rap star Devin the Dude hits the Regent Theater on May 10.
TC ON TV: May 5 – “The View” (ABC): Wanda Sykes joins guest co-host Deion Sanders. “Ginormous Food” (Food): Eagle eyes may spot a Tasty Clips sighting as host Josh Denny tackles Henry’s Hungriest Bennett, a 12-pound hash brown casserole jam-packed with everything the restaurant has to offer for breakfast. “Dennis Rodman‘s Big Bang in Pyongyang” (Reelz): About that time the former NBA baller visited North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Hijinks ensue. “Tavis Smiley” (PBS): Trombone Shorty
May 7 – “2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards” (MTV): “Fast & Furious” stars Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriquez, Tyrese Gibson and Jordana Brewster get recognized. Big Sean performs. “Real Housewives of Atlanta” (Bravo): The fourth and final episode of The Reunion finds Phaedra Parks exposed. “United Shades of America” (TNT): W. Kamau Bell visits Chicago gangs. “Dear Mama: An Event To Honor Moms” (VH1): Anthony Anderson and La La Anthony host Mary J. Blige, Maxwell, Kelly Rowland, Ludacris, Robin Thicke, DJ Khaled and more.
May 8 – “The Therapist” (Viceland): L.A. Dr. Siri Sat Sam Singh sits down to speak with celebs such as Young M.A., Waka Flocka Flame, Dej Loaf, D.R.A.M.,and Freddie Gibbs to discover what lies beneath their public personas in this new series.
May 10 – “Black-ish” (ABC): Eva Longoria directed this season finale. “Underground (WGN): In the season two finale, Rosalee (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and Noah (Aldis Hodge) reunite with Cato (Alano Miller); Harriet Tubman (Aisha Hinds) gets recruited by John Brown’s men; and we’ll see how slave catcher August (Christopher Meloni) fares against the wiles of his prisoner Ernestine (Amirah Vann).
May 11 – “American Race” (TNT): Charles Barkley journeys across America to discuss race, beginning in Baltimore, a city central to the Black Lives Matter movement, where he embeds with the community and police.
JUMP BALL: The participants have been named for this year’s highly anticipated BET Experience Celebrity Basketball Game at L.A. LIVE on June 24. Among those suiting up are Nick Cannon, The Game, YG, Joey Bada$$, Tank, Soulja Boy, Bell Biv DeVoe, DJ Mustard, Jidenna, Brandon T Jackson, Trevor Jackson, Doug Christie, Dave East, Stevie J, and Rotimi, alongside ESPN guest announcers Jemele Hill and Michael Smith. Tip-off is at noon and will be livestreamed on www.bet.com.
TASTY QUIP: “It’s not about politics. It’s about people, the world, relationships, and just love.” – JANET JACKSON upon announcing her return this fall on the 56-city State of the World Tour. Tickets go on sale May 5 via Ticketmaster.com for the dates including Oct. 8 at the Hollywood Bowl.
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment newspaper columns on the West Coast, serving nearly one million weekly readers. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to email@example.com or via Twitter @tastyclips.