Paulini Curuenavuli first rose to prominence as a finalist on the first season of Australian Idol in 2003. Her debut album One Determined Heart and single ‘Angel Eyes’ both reached number one on the ARIA charts and achieved Platinum status. The Australian premiere of The Bodyguard musical will mark Paulini’s musical theatre debut.
“It’s a world that I’ve always been very fascinated by, because of the balance of they can act, sing and dance – and to be part of that now is an honour,” commented Paulini.
Paulini grew up with a love of music, but never attended the theatre as a child. It’s only been in recent years that Paulini has started going to live theatre. During a trip to London, Paulini went to see the musical production of The Bodyuard. At the end of the show she turned to her manager and said, “If this ever comes to Australia, I’m definitely going for this part.”
“I just felt really connected to it – and here I am!” exclaimed Paulini.
Paulini takes on the role of Rachel Marron, made famous by Whitney Houston in the 1992 movie version of The Bodyguard.
“I actually remember watching The Bodyguard with my older sisters, when I was 10 years old. I probably wasn’t supposed to be watching it, but, you know! I was just sneaking around watching it when they were and just absolutely fell in love with The Bodyguard soundtrack. I still, to this day, perform her songs in my set. It’s an honour to actually be able to play this role that was played by Whitney,” explained Paulini.
Paulini has an incredible five octave vocal range and said she was probably about 16 years of age when she realised she could really sing these big songs, but never imagined performing this role.
“I never thought, in my wildest dreams, I would be playing Rachel Marron, who was played by my idol while I was growing up.”
As part of her preparation for the musical, Paulini watched the movie version of The Bodyguard.
“I’ve probably watched it over twenty times now. You can’t not watch it! It’s just such a beautiful love story – okay, sad love story,” commented Paulini.
“And to be able to sing those songs – just heaven!” she said.
However, Paulini knows that performing these big numbers eight shows a week will be a challenge. She knows she has big shoes to fill – the shoes of her idol, Whitney Houston.
“They’re not easy songs to sing. It’s a challenge, but I’m ready for it!”
Her favourite number to perform in the show is ‘Run To You’ which she sings as a duet with Prinnie Stevens, who plays Rachel Marron’s sister.
Joining Paulini and Prinnie Stevens on stage is Kip Gamblin as the bodyguard.
“It’s so great to be able to work with an Australian cast, I’m so happy with the choices,”said Paulini.
While The Bodyguard is Paulini’s first foray into musical theatre, she doesn’t anticipate it will be the last. She said she’s already been bitten by the bug!
The Bodyguard is now playing at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre before transferring to Brisbane in July and Melbourne in August.