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Remembering Whitney Houston: Watch the Icon Perform Songs from Dreamgirls, Porgy and Bess and More

Remembering Whitney Houston: Watch the Icon Perform Songs from Dreamgirls, Porgy and Bess and More
Whitney Houston
Remembering Whitney Houston taking on Broadway classics.

Grammy-winning musician Whitney Houston died on February 11 at the age of 48. While the iconic singer never appeared on the Broadway stage, Houston was no stranger to show tunes. During her 25-plus-year career, she collaborated with several Broadway composers, including Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell) and Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll and Hyde, Bonnie & Clyde). Before her death, Houston also wrapped production on her final film, Sparkle, opposite Broadway veteran Jordin Sparks. Her legacy will live on with a currently in the works West End stage adaptation of The Bodyguard, starring Tony winner Heather Headley in the role Houston played in the popular 1992 film. Relive Houston's unrivaled talent by watching her take on six classic show tunes in the clips below.

"Home" (The Wiz)
Before becoming a global pop star, Houston made her TV debut on The Merv Griffiin Show at the age of 21. Houston unleashed her vocal powers on "Home," the closing number from Charlie Smalls' 1975 The Wizard of Oz-themed musical, The Wiz. Shortly after, Houston served as an opening act for late musician Luther Vandross, who contributed the song "Everybody Rejoice" to the Tony-winning musical's score. 


"I Am Changing" (Dreamgirls)
Houston had yet to release her self-titled debut album when she appeared at a 1983 Arista Records party to perform the powerhouse Dreamgirls song "I Am Changing." She was frequently rumored to star as Deena Jones in a film adaptation of the Tony-nominated musical, but by the time Dreamgirls hit theaters in 2006, the role went to Beyonce Knowles. The film also featured an Oscar-winning turn by Jennifer Hudson, who performed a tribute to Houston at the 54th annual Grammy Awards the day after her death.


"I Know Him So Well" (Chess)
For her 1987 album, Whitney, Houston dueted with her mother, gospel singer Cissy Houston, on a cover of "I Know Him So Well" from the Tim Rice, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus musical Chess. At the time, the show had already opened on the West End, but would not make its way to Broadway until the following year. 


"I Loves You, Porgy" (Porgy and Bess)/"And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" (Dreamgirls)
At the 1994 American Music Awards, Houston—who won a total of 22 AMA statuettes—delivered a powerful medley, beginning with "I Loves You, Porgy" from the George and Ira Gershwin opera Porgy and Bess. (Four-time Tony winner Audra McDonald currently tears into the tune on Broadway in Diane Paulus' reworked production of the show.) Houston then transitioned into the Dreamgirls anthem "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going," followed by her The Bodyguard hit "I Have Nothing."


"Impossible/It's Possible" (Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella)
Houston followed her turns in hit movies Waiting to Exhale and The Preacher's Wife by playing the Fairy Godmother in the 1997 remake of Rodgers and Hammerstein's made-for-TV musical Cinderella. The film featured Broadway veterans Bernadette Peters, Victor Garber and Whoopi Goldberg, as well as singer Brandy Norwood as the title character. A revised production of the classic fairy tale, from book writer Douglas Carter Beane, is currently aiming for a Broadway run during the 2012-13 season.

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