Mount Vernon’s own Dougie Baldeo is currently touring the country playing Fletcher, son of Rachel Marron in the 2017 U.S. national tour of the new musical The Bodyguard, based on the film of the same name. Grammy nominee Deborah Cox stars as Rachel Marron, the role created on the big screen by the late Whitney Houston.
We all remember the 1992 American romantic thriller, The Bodyguard where Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer (Kevin Costner), is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron (Whitney Houston) from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge; what they don’t expect is to fall in love.
Now Platinum-selling recording artist, Deborah Cox has the task of filling Whitney Houston’s shoes, “the biggest role, and the most challenging role, I’ve ever taken on,” Cox tells the press.
“I think what is the most challenging is making my Rachel my own and departing from the way that I’ve heard these songs sung by the greatest voice of all time,” she said during the rehearsal process. “We’re so familiar with all of these iconic songs, that to hear them infused in the piece makes it challenging. That has been the thing for me that I’ve been working through in these rehearsals is really finding her voice because Whitney Houston really made all of these songs so iconic.”
We caught up to Dougie, Wednesday morning in in his hotel in Appleton, Wisconsin to ask him about the experience.
“The bodyguard has done so much for me. I’ve grown so much and to get a chance to work with Deborah Cox is great,” Dougie tells BW, before going on to do his homework. “I’m enjoying getting to know the cast and going to some places I’ve never been before. I also got to meet Patti Labelle when she came to the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis to see the play.”
“The Bodyguard” also stars Judson Mills (“Walker, Texas Ranger”) as bodyguard Frank Farmer, and features Alex Corrado (“Gotham,” “Hannibal”) as Tony Scibelli, Rachel’s personal security guard, Charles Gray (“The Color Purple,” “Grease”) as manager Bill Devaney, Jonathan Hadley (“Jersey Boys,” “A Class Act”) as publicist Sy Spector, Jorge Paniagua as the Stalker, Jasmin Richardson as Rachel’s sister Nicki Marron, and Douglas Baldeo (“Kinky Boots”) and Kevelin B. Jones III alternating in the role of Rachel’s son Fletcher.
“On my way home from Minneapolis and it’s bittersweet. I am sad to leave Dougie Baldeo behind but know that he is in capable hands with Chanese Coleman,” Dougie’s mom, Tamika Benjamin wrote on her facebook page Monday night. “When I started this journey with him 6 years ago, I never imagined all the opportunities that he would be blessed with. It’s the first time that I will not be with him as embarks on a major production. However, I’m confident that he will continue to be focused on his craft while maintaining the humility that defines his character. I am thankful that he is surrounded by a supportive cast who encourages and models the behavior that helps to keep him grounded.”
“Last night as we had dinner I asked how he feels about me leaving, and he gave me a typical Douglas response. He said ‘While I will miss you it’s a good first step for me to grow up. I will be a teenager soon and must learn to take care of and do things for myself. Plus, you can finally give Nathaniel all your attention. He needs you more than I do now’
It made it easier as I left knowing that he is finally growing up.”
Chanese Coleman has been hired as Dougie’s Guardian to travel with him and watch over him while he is touring with the play.
“He is an awesome kid, I followed him through his journey from Kinky Boots and its great to actually be here with him, seeing him work in person and watching over him,” Chanese Coleman tells BW from the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton, Wisconsin. “It’s just a great experence.”
The current touring itinerary follows:
November 25, 2016 – January 1, 2017 Paper Mill Playhouse, Milburn, NJ
January 10 – 15, 2017 Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis, MN
January 17 – 22, 2017 Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Appleton, WI
January 24 – 29, 2017 Orpheum Theatre, Memphis, TN
January 31 – February 12, 2017 Oriental Theatre, Chicago, IL
February 14 – 19, 2017 Ohio Theatre, Columbus, OH
February 21 – 26, 2017 Academy of Music, Philadelphia, PA
February 28 – March 5, 2017 Hippodrome Theatre, Baltimore, MD
March 7 – 12, 2017 Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Charlotte, NC
March 14 – 19, 2017 Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham, NC
March 21 – 26, 2017 Tennessee Performing Arts Center, Nashville, TN
March 28 – April 2, 2017 Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA
April 4 – 9, 2017 Saenger Theatre, New Orleans, LA
Apr 12 – 16, 2017 Centennial Hall, Tucson, AZ
April 18 – 23, 2017 Community Center Theatre, Sacramento, CA
April 25 – 30, 2017 San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, San Jose
May 2 – 21, 2017 Hollywood Pantages, Los Angeles, CA
May 30 – June 11, 2017 Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa, CA
June 13 – 18, 2017 Civic Theatre, San Diego, CA
August 15 – 20, 2017 Hobby Center, Houston, TX
Additional cities will be announced at a later date. The Bodyguard The Musical comes to New York in October.
For additional information visit: http://www.thebodyguardmusical.com/us-tour.
About Dougie: Douglas Baldeo, a native of Mount Vernon New York, is an 12-year-old 6th grade home schooled student. He is a current recipient of The New York Community Van Lier Fellowship Scholarship at Ballet Hispanico and was a Principal cast member of the award-winning Broadway Musical, Kinky Boots. Following his run in Kinky Boots he was cast a vacation swing for Motown The Musical on Tour. In it he covers the role of Yung Berry Gordy, Young Stevie Wonder and Young Michael Jackson. In April he will join Color Purple Star Cynthia Erivo along with Josh Colley ( Les Miserables) and Lucas Provado ( School Of Rock) to perform at The MisCast Gala, where he will play the role of Peggy Schuyler from the Broadway Musical “Hamilton”.
Douglas’ favorite subjects are language arts and Science. His favorite sports include tennis and volleyball. He loves drawing, painting and creating art. His passion, however, is dance. Douglas has enjoyed entertaining his family and friends since he was baby. His love of professional dance and training was first developed at ESOTA when he joined them in February of 2011. Since then he has studied with Dream Makers Performing Arts, Broadway Dance Center, and Royalenova, under the direction of his mentor, George Eleazer lll. Douglas has had several performances at various venues and competitions. His credits include an appearance as a featured dancer in “Cinderella and The Prince who Slayed the Magic Dragon” performed at Lincoln Center. He was a featured dancer at a number of events including the Ecumenical Service for Congresswoman Yvette Clarke; The Arts on Third Annual Event in Mount Vernon, Christmas in Rockefeller Center, where he was a back up dancer for Mariah Carey and The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Douglas who has been featured in various publications and has also made a name for himself at various dance competitions. In May of 2013 he was crowned “ American Young Dancer of the Year” at the American Dance Awards, and placed 1 st out of 50 entries in the junior division. At the Groove Dance Competition his solo pieces placed 1st, 2nd and 6th place out of 100 junior entries. He received special recognition from the judges and was given the “Performance Beyond Your Years Award”. At the National Starbound Competition, one of the leading and most celebrated dance competitions for children in the U.S. he was crowned Mr. Junior Starbound for 2013 and 2014. Last year he was the winner at Hall Of Fame Dance Challenge, Star Systems and Sheer Talent Competition. He is the current Junior Title holder of Sheer Talent Competition for the 2015-2016 season.
In addition to his dancing career, Douglas has been recognized for his achievements by various institutions. This year he received the IED Rising Star Award, A Citation from State Senator John Sampson and “The Under 40 Achievement Award” from the Union of Jamaica Alumni Association (UJAA). Douglas studies a variety of dance disciplines, including Ballet, Flamenco, Tap, Jazz, African, Modern, Contemporary, Lyrical, Musical Theater, Hip Hop, Gymnastics and Acro. His dream of performing on Broadway has become a reality, but Douglas’ ultimate ambition is to open a dance school that in his own words: “Will be an institution in the likes of Alvin Ailey Dance School so that even after he dies, the school will continue to live.” He is soaring and his family diligently supports all his efforts.
BW congratulates Young Dougie Baldeo in the performance in The Bodyguard The Musical, as he inspires a new generation to follow their dreams and shows Money-Earnin’ Mount Vernon still got talent! Dougie BW Salutes You!
AJ is a Father, Author, Writer, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
You can also hear AJ every Thursday morning at 7:20 A.M. on Good Morning Westchester with host Bob Marrone on WVOX