Stepping straight into the shoes of leading lady, Paulini is set to make her theatrical debut as Rachel Marron in the Australian Premiere of the international award-winning hit 'The Bodyguard The Musical'.
“What can I say? I’m so honoured and grateful to be given the opportunity to play such an iconic role. I’m still pinching myself,” Paulini says.
Landing the role made famous by Whitney Houston in the smash-hit Warner Bros 1992 film ‘The Bodyguard’ seems almost predestined.
In her teens, Paulini won the National Star Search Competition with her rendition of Houston’s timeless classic ‘When You Believe’.
“My two older sisters love Whitney, so I grew up with all of her songs. I was listening to her songs when I was 10 years old. I know her songs inside out.”
Fast forward to London’s West End in 2013, where Paulini caught the production while recording her third studio album ‘Come Alive’.
“I walked out and I said to my manager, ‘If this ever comes to Australia I wold love to audition for it and I want that part [of Rachel Marron].’ And here I am, and it’s a dream come true really.”
Paulini joins a stellar list of performers to be cast in the leading role, including Queen of British Soul, Beverley Knight, and GRAMMY Award-nominated Deborah Cox.
“I was screaming. I couldn’t believe it,” Paulini says of the moment she learnt she had landed the role. “It’s just such a great opportunity for me because it’s going to make me a better performer and a better person, I hope.”
The show is a jukebox musical of Houston’s greatest hits, featuring songs from the movie’s GRAMMY-winning soundtrack as well as a selection of Houston’s ‘80s and ‘90s smash hits.
“They’re great songs and I can’t wait to sing them. My favourite would have to be ‘Run To You’ and my favourite up-tempo song is ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’. I still sing that in my sets today, and the dancefloor is always full. It’s one of those songs that will never ever go away. It’s a classic.”
The most iconic song in the show is undoubtedly ‘I Will Always Love You’ – the song that saw Houston crowned Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 36th Annual GRAMMY Awards.
While her five octave range can more than handle the soaring power ballad, Paulini is conscious of the inevitable comparisons; citing the song as the most challenging of her musical numbers for that reason.
“You always know that people are going to be comparing you to Whitney’s version. Her version is insanely amazing.”
Facing a tour schedule of eight shows per week, Paulini is keen to learn all there is to know about treading the boards in a musical theatre production.
“The singing part I’m very comfortable with, and I do a little bit of dancing anyway, but the acting part is new territory for me. It’s a challenge but it’s great. I can’t wait.”
THE BODYGUARD THE MUSICAL TOUR DATESFrom Friday 21 April – Sydney Lyric Theatre
From Wednesday 19 July – Queensland Performing Arts Centre
More to be announced.