The late Whitney Houston’s lists of accolades and accomplishments speak for themselves.
The American pop diva’s phenomenal rise to fame in the 1980s, earned the artist an estimated 200 million album sales worldwide. Houston’s impressive resume includes six studio, one holiday, and three movie soundtrack albums, generating diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold status.
The only performer to capture seven consecutive number one Billboard Hot 100 hits, in 2009, Guinness World Records named Houston as the most awarded female act of all time.
Her achievements did not stop there. Houston was also a cover girl model, producer and actor, headlining feature films such as The Bodyguard (1992), Waiting to Exhale (1995), and The Preacher’s Wife (1996).
Later in her life however, Houston’s personal trials and tribulations overshadowed these successes.
Her marriage to rap singer, Bobby Brown, was a stormy one that derailed the performer’s ‘good girl’ image. It is believed Brown introduced Houston to illicit drugs, as well as prescription medication and alcohol abuse, which ultimately caused her death by accidental overdose.
Whitney Houston passed away on the eve of the 2012 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California. She was only 48.
Headed by CEO / Creative Director, Johnny Van Grinsven Snr, Showtime Management Australia is known for producing tribute spectaculars. Their list of tours currently includes Beatlemania On Tour, Elvis: Direct From Las Vegas, Michael Jackson: History Show, and Abba: Thank You For The Music.
Now playing for a strictly limited season at Melbourne’s Athenauem Theatre, The Greatest Love Of All: The Whitney Houston Show is a creative triumph on every level. Bringing stadium – sized electricity to this more intimate venue, audiences will get to enjoy the team’s flawless production values up close and personal.
From the show’s superb lighting, sound, costuming, special effects, stage direction, musical support and dance choreography, this is not only a loving and respectful tribute to the artist at the top of her game, The Greatest Love Of All is also a tremendously moving theatrical experience. Covering a dozen hits from Houston’s iconic catalogue, Showtime Management Australia has designed a concert to satisfy both her admiring fans and lovers of great pop music in equal measure.
With a running time of two hours plus, the show is introduced with a brief video montage from Houston’s thirty – year career. This immediately sets the tone for what is to come.
Chosen to helm The Greatest Love Of All, South African born, Belinda Davids, had massive shoes to fill. The winner of a worldwide selection process, this gifted performer has had a lifelong love affair with Houston’s music.
With catwalk looks and an uncanny physical and vocal resemblance to Houston, Davids will win you over with every note, gesture and nuance expertly captured. If these sensory revelations aren’t gob – smacking enough, Davids brings Houston’s legendary sass and her commanding stage presence to the table as well.
Davids sensitively covers hits such as ‘One Moment In Time’, ‘How Will I Know’, ‘I’m Every Woman’, ‘Exhale (Shoop Shoop)’, ‘Step By Step’, and ‘Saving All My Love For You’. Each song is like an MTV clip come to life.
Further, Davids’ deep connection to Houston was clear on opening night. As the evening progressed, she also established a genuine rapport with the capacity crowd. It was evident from the audience members’ smiling and appreciative faces around me, what Houston’s music truly meant to them.
Four other songs in particular, not only brought the audience to its feet, each number made the overall experience interactive in entirely different ways.
It is a major achievement to get conservative Melbourne theatre audiences out of their seats. But when Davids sang the upbeat number, ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’, she not only invited us to sing along with her, the artist had us up and dancing as well.
Act one closed with the song used for the show’s title, and the evening ended with the Dolly Parton classic, ‘I Will Always Love You’, as its encore.
The emotional highlight of the evening mid way through act two not only brought audience members to tears, but Davids, too. Without giving the game completely away, the immaculate staging and costuming for ‘I Am Nothing Without You’, were both breathtaking, and deserving of the full standing ovation the song received. What a moment.
Special mention must be made to musical direction from Richard Baker, Kyle Thompson on drums, Steve Dennet (bass), Giles Tingey (keyboard, vocals), Hayden Baird (keyboard, saxophone), Giselle Bouwer (vocals), Nokukhanya Diamini (vocals), and Danny Goodman (vocals).
Alycia Keane, Ashley Beyers, and Sandile Zulu performed some spectacular dance routines to back many of the songs, with dancer, Clasina Van Grinsven, providing the complex choreography. Lighting was by Jack Hopper, and technical support was by Jon Van Grinsven (Jnr).
The Greatest Love Of All: The Whitney Houston Show is a celebration of Houston’s musical legacy, Davids’ tremendous vocal gifts and presence, and the Showtime team’s expert staging.
Don’t miss it!