It’s been announced that County Durham-born singer Zoe Birkett will return to her home region in hit musical The Bodyguard.
The former Pop Idol contestant will step into the shoes of Whitney Houston to play Rachel Marron in the musical based on the film of the same name.
Sunderland Empire will host the show for a two week run next March.
Zoe said “Playing Rachel Marron is a dream come true for me. Whitney Houston has always been an idol of mine, singing those legendary songs I have to pinch myself.”
Since appearing on Pop Idol in 2002, Zoe, from Consett, has appeared in the West End productions of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, originated the female lead in Thriller Live and was also a lead role in Respect La Diva.
Her other theatre credits include the Acid Queen in Tommy, Maureen in Rent and Dion in Hair.
Producer Michael Harrison said: “Not only am I thrilled that our production of the musical The Bodyguard is returning to the North East next March, but for the North East’s very own leading lady, the amazing Zoe Birkett, to be playing the role of star Rachel Marron is truly the icing on the cake.
“Zoe is such a wonderful actress and singer that I’m sure the theatregoers of Sunderland will welcome her home with the same fantastic reception she has been receiving throughout the UK.”
Based on the 1992 Oscar-nominated film starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, The Bodyguard tells the story of former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, who is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker.
The score features tracks from the film, as well as additional Whitney hits, including Queen of the Night, So Emotional, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, I’m Your Baby Tonight, Run to You, I Have Nothing, I Wanna Dance with Somebody and I Will Always Love You.
•The Bodyguard will be at Sunderland Empire from March 1-12. Tickets are on sale now and available in person at the Box Office on High Street West, from the Ticket Centre on 0844 871 3022 or online at www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland.
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