The estate of the late pop star Whitney Houston is launching a hologram tour as the centerpiece of efforts to revive the hit-maker's legacy.
"The hologram has taken precedence over everything," estate executor Pat Houston, the late singer's sister-in-law and manager, told The New York Times in an interview Monday, describing plans that include a possible Broadway musical, new branding efforts and an album of unreleased recordings.
Pat Houston said the tour — similar to those that have used laser-generated holograms to create relatively lifelike stage presences of such performers as Maria Callas, Roy Orbison and Frank Zappa — will use Whitney Houston's original band and backup singers, including Whitney's brother Gary, Pat's husband. The concert will include the six-time Grammy Award winner's hits, including "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" and "Greatest Love of All."
"It's been quite emotional for the past seven years," Pat Houston said. "But now it's about being strategic."
Whitney Houston died Feb. 11, 2012, at age 48, of accidental drowning in a bathtub at the Beverly Hills Hilton hotel, with atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine among precipitating factors. By this time, the singer and star of such films as "The Bodyguard" (1992) and "The Preacher's Wife" (1996) had become a tabloid staple for her drug use.
"Before she passed, there was so much negativity around the name; it wasn't about the music anymore," Pat Houston said. "People had forgotten how great she was. They let all the personal things about her life outweigh why they fell in love with her in the first place."
The estate is developing the tour and other projects with the New York-based music and marketing company Primary Wave, which specializes in catalogs by older platinum-record artists including Smokey Robinson, Def Leppard, Paul Anka and Kenny Loggins. The company is acquiring 50 percent of the Houston estate's $14 million assets, including music and screen royalties and the right to Houston's name and likeness, the Times said.