X FACTOR winner Alexandra Burke is to star in hit musical The Bodyguard when it opens in Southampton, the Daily Echo can reveal today.

The UK and Ireland tour – will start at the Mayflower Theatre on February 12 next year.

This follows her sell-out run at the Adelphi Theatre in London’s West End in the leading role of Rachel Marron – the part played on screen by Whitney Houston alongside Kevin Costner in the 1992 romantic thriller.

Daily Echo:

The role marked Whitney Houston’s film debut and featured power-house classics such as One Moment in Time, Run to You, I Have Nothing, and, of course, one of the biggest selling songs of all time – I Will Always Love You.

Producers Michael Harrison and David Ian are “delighted” that threetime Brit nominee and 2008 X Factor winner Burke has agreed to headline the tour of the Thea Sharrock hit musical.

Alexandra, 26, who took over the role from Beverely Knight in the West End earlier this year, said “I couldn’t be happier to be joining the tour and I’m excited to get started.

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“Being on the theatre stage has brought me great happiness. It is an honour to have been asked to join the team and I look forward to creating new and long-lasting memories with the cast.”

Alexandra rose to fame after winning the fifth series of The X Factor.

Her debut number one single Hallelujah sold more than one million copies in the UK, a first for a British female soloist.

Burke’s first album, Overcome saw the release of her subsequent number one singles Bad Boys and Start Without You.

Daily Echo:

In 2011 she embarked on her first solo tour and was invited by Beyoncé to support her I Am... Tour.

Her second album, Heartbreak on Hold, was released in June 2012 and later this year sees the release of her third studio album.

Based on Lawrence Kasdan’s 1992 Oscar nominated Warner Bros. film, The Bodyguard was nominated for four Laurence Olivier Awards including Best New Musical and Best Set Design and won Best New Musical at the Whatsonstage Awards.

Daily Echo:

Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker.

Each expects to be in charge; what they don’t expect is to fall in love.

  • Tickets for The Bodyguard (Thursday, February 12 – Saturday, February 28) are on sale from Mayflower Theatre Box Office tel: 023 8071 1811 or online at mayflower.org.uk. Ovation Restaurant bookings: 023 8071 1833.

ALEXANDRA Burke will only perform the role of Rachel Marron at evening performances.

At the matinee performances, the role will be played by Zoe Birkett.

Zoe, pictured, is probably best known as the highest placing female contestant in ITV’s Pop Idol, 2002.

Daily Echo:

Since then she has appeared in the West End productions of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and originated the female lead in Thriller Live.

Her other theatre credits include the Acid Queen in Tommy and Maureen in Rent.