Musical “The Bodyguard”: Frédérick De Grandpré and Jennifer-Lee Dupuy, a legendary duo

Musical comedy «The Bodyguard

MISE & Agrave; DAY

Just a few months ago, Jennifer-Lee Dupuy spent her days behind the computer of the construction company where she worked full time. But, starting this week, she will take to the stage at the Théâtre St-Denis to bring one of the most famous characters in American cinema back to life: Rachel Marron, once played by Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard. Her life, she attests, changed overnight. And she's not complaining.  

The contrast is striking to say the least: in a rehearsal studio in downtown Montreal, Jennifer-Lee Dupuy multiplies the vocal acrobatics by pushing the note on Run to You,flagship success of Whitney Houston's repertoire. Microphone in hand, silver boots on her feet, the young woman is the very incarnation of Rachel Marron: a star at the top of her game. 

It is therefore difficult to imagine setting foot in a construction site or send bids to industrial firms all week long. 

Unshakeable passion 

However, it is with the same passion that she approaches these two careers and facets of her personality. The enthusiasm in her voice doesn't fluctuate one iota as the conversation waltzes from construction to song, and back again. 

Jennifer-Lee Dupuy even bursts out laughing when told remarked.  

“I love to sing, of course. But I also love everything related to management, entrepreneurship, logistics. I need both areas to be happy, to feel fulfilled,” the 30-year-old singer told Journal. 

Over the years, she has maintained the balance between these two worlds by making ends meet surrounded by her musicians, sometimes for corporate shows, sometimes for wedding receptions. The stage is no stranger to him, far from it. But she has, by her own admission, never tasted the excitement of a major production such as The Bodyguard, expected on the stage of the Théâtre St-Denis starting this Thursday.  

Voice Challenge

The jump to this universe set with rhinestones, sequins and spotlights trained on her was therefore dizzying. Jennifer-Lee Dupuy even hesitated before signing her contract with Musicor Spectacles. It must be said that the vocal challenge is considerable, capable of making the greatest performers shudder. 

Certainly, there are the immortal – and intimidating – Run to You, I Have Nothing and, of course, I Will Always Love You which propelled the soundtrack to The Bodyguardto the top of the charts at the time. But during its transition from the screen to the stage, the plot was enhanced by the addition of key titles from Whitney Houston's repertoire such as So Emotional, I Wanna Dance With Somebody and How Will I Know. Enough to multiply the level of vocal difficulty of the show. 

“There is no 'little song'”, confirms Jennifer-Lee Dupuy, laughing. 

“It's definitely a huge challenge. Because to sing Whitney Houston songs, you have to give your all. You can't give less than 100% each night. And precisely, I must not sing them only once; but several times a week. It's a lot of work,” she continues.

For representation

But she eventually accepted the challenge remembering of the 8-year-old girl she once was, the one who “freaked out” on the film The Bodyguard.Models who looked like her – read here: heroines of color – were rare at the time. And if there are more and more of them today, they are still not legion. 

“I have asked for so many women who could serve as my models, inspirations. Because representation is something extremely important. To have more examples that look like me, that can only lead to positive things,” she pleads.  

The musical < strong>The Bodyguardwill be shown at the St-Denis Theater in Montreal on Thursday. It will then move to the Capitole de Québec starting June 28, then to Trois-Rivières and Gatineau in September. 


“J 've accepted that my career is on the upswing »

Absent from our stages for a few years, Frédérick De Grandpré returns to the spotlight with the title role of the musical The Bodyguard. The actor does not hide it, his off years were not the easiest. But he “refused to live in bitterness”. 

“I guess you could call it a comeback“, drops the 50-year-old comedian.

And with good reason. Let’s rewind first. 

At the turn of the millennium, the name of Frédérick De Grandpré was on everyone’s lips – and credits – in the province. The actor had built a very enviable status and track record thanks to his roles in The negotiator, Fortier, Jean Duceppe, or even Virginie. 

But his career has took an unexpected turn shortly after the release of his debut album, Un martini pour Noël. Yet crowned with success – and a Félix award for jazz album of the year – in the song led her way downhill. The phone rang quieter, and less often. 

Without bitterness

However, it is with great serenity that Frédérick De Grandpré approaches these years of uncertainty today. Not an ounce of bitterness tints its tone, or its beginning. 

“Some actors have a new role each season. But my path is different. I accepted that my career was up and down,” confides the actor, resolutely very zen. 

Frédérick De Grandpré

“It’s easy to become bitter, to question yourself. But I decided to see it differently: these breaks give me time to take care of my family, to have other passions. And when a new role presents itself, I take full advantage of it,” continues the man who will soon be completing a baccalaureate in philosophy. 

To say that he is “taking full advantage” of the adventure The Bodyguardwould still be a euphemism. We see him, in rehearsals, when he transforms into Frank Farmer – a character made famous by Kevin Costner in the 1992 film – to come to the aid of Jennifer-Lee Dupuy. 

Jennifer-Lee Dupuy

“It's been a long time since I felt so invested and involved in a project. I wake up at night with ideas for my character,” he laughs.

Martial arts

It must be said that Frédérick De Grandpré himself helps the director Joël Legendre to build the new version of this mythical character. Because the actor is determined to take advantage of his impressive background in martial arts; he holds a black belt in taekwondo, in addition to practicing krav-maga and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. 

Joël Legendre

“Joël Legendre agreed to let me take over for choreograph the fight scenes. In the movie, we see that the bodyguard is interested in samurai culture, but we take that a bit further here. I find that it brings something realistic to my character, it supports his chivalrous side, ”he says.