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TOURING & FESTIVAL NEWS: Van Halen SRO's And Adds Concerts In Four Markets

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Van Halen's first-day ticket sales on April 3 exploded with Boston, New York, St. Louis, and Las Vegas concerts selling out and, due to overwhelming demand, extra shows have been added at the Centrum Centre, Continental Airlines Arena, Savvis Center, and Mandalay Bay Events Center.

The Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas was the fastest sell out in the venue's five-year history with all tickets gone in less than 30 minutes. This tour marks the first time Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony, and Sammy Hagar will perform together in more than nine years.

Van Halen itinerary:

June 11 Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum

June 13 Hershey, PA Hershey Park Stadium

June 16 Philadelphia, PA Wachovia Center

June 19-20 Worcester, MA Worcester Centrum Centre

June 22-23 East Rutherford, NJ Continental Airlines Arena

June 25 Washington, DC MCI Center

July 1 Pittsburgh, PA Mellon Arena

July 2 Cleveland, OH Gund Arena

July 3 Toronto, ONT Air Canada Center

July 6 Columbus, OH Schottenstein Center

July 10 Detroit, MI Joe Louis Arena

July 11 Auburn Hills, MI The Palace Of Auburn Hills

July 19 Chicago, IL United Center

July 22 St. Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center

July 26 Kansas City, KS Kemper Arena

July 28-29 St. Louis, MO Savvis Center

July 31 Omaha, NE Qwest Center Omaha

August 1 Denver, CO Pepsi Center

August 5 Phoenix. AZ America West Arena

August 6-7 Las Vegas. NV Mandalay Bay Events Center

August 10 San Jose, CA HP Pavilion At San Jose

August 11 Sacramento, CA ARCO Arena

August 13 Oakland, CA Oakland Arena

August 14 Fresno. CA Save Mart Center

August 16 Anaheim, CA Arrowhead Pond

August 17 San Diego, CA San Diego Sports Arena

August 19 Los Angeles, CA STAPLES Center

–Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Clifford The Big Red Dog LIVE On Stage – Features Beloved Canine Character In New Musical Theatrical Adventure

NY, New York (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) – Turnstile Entertainment and Creative Battery are pleased to announce the launching of CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG LIVE! based on Scholastic's beloved character. CLIFFORD LIVE will play cities throughout the US and Canada during a two year touring schedule. The Broadway style musical production will have its Official World Premiere in Atlanta April 21-25 at the Fox Theatre.

Major dates scheduled later in 2004 include, Miami's American Airlines Arena, the Tweeter Center, Camden, NJ, the Rosemont Theatre Rosemont, IL 2005's calendar includes stops at the Corel Centre, Ottawa, ON, New York City's, Radio City Music Hall, the Wang Center, Boston, MA, and the Kodak Theatre, Los Angeles, CA.

For more than 40 years, Clifford the Big Red Dog has charmed kids and parents alike with his engaging adventures and "Big Ideas." The Clifford book series has sold over 110 million copies; while episodes of the top rated TV series airs on PBS stations over 3500 times a week.

CLIFFORD LIVE was designed on a grand scale as a delightful experience for the entire family. The production team includes such top creative talents as director Gip Hoppe ("Dora the Explorer LIVE," "Blue's Clues"), costume designer Michael Curry ("The Lion King"), David Gallo ("Thoroughly Modern Millie" and "Blue's Clues"), choreographer Linda Goodrich-Weng ("Company" with Carol Burnett), sound designer Craig Cassidy, ("Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and "Grease") music director Brett-Allen Huffman (Disney's "Beauty and the Beast"), writer Tish Rabe ("Clifford Puppy Days" and "Sesame Street") music supervisor/composer Kathy Sommer (Childrens Television Workshop/Cartoon Network show "BIG BAG") and lyricist Barry Harman (Broadway's "Romance/Romance" and Outer Critics' Awarded "Olympus On My Mind").

"Turnstile has wanted to produce a show based on Clifford for some time now and it has been a pleasure working with our partners, Scholastic Entertainment and Creative Battery in achieving this goal. Clifford and his friends are truly loved and this show is an event that families will greatly enjoy and never forget," says Turnstile Entertainment's Stuart Snyder.

"We are thrilled to bring Clifford to life. Families will experience the wonders of theater through this unique production, where perspective and reality change before their eyes," says Creative Battery's President and CEO, Scott Sanders. Adding, "This show invites kids and their parents to think, imagine and participate as they learn valuable lessons of friendship and teamwork.

Tickets begin at $12.50 with a limited number of VIP "Big Dog Seats". The producers are aggressively reaching out to the three generations of fans that have come to love Clifford through Scholastic books, PBS television, video and licensed merchandise. The show will be playing in scaled down arenas as well as proscenium theaters. From its original concept, the show was designed to fit equally well in both types of venues.

"This show is Broadway quality for kids," says director Gip Hoppe. "We created a charming smart show that really speaks to them." Every well-loved character from Birdwell Island – including Emily Elizabeth, Cleo, T-Bone, Jetta, Charlie and of course Clifford star in this energetic spectacle. The story revolves around Emily Elizabeth who wants to put on a show with her best friends. Everyone has different ideas, but ultimately the kids decide that the story should be about Clifford's life, from puppy-hood on.

"Clifford The Big Red Dog LIVE features a cast of 12, a crew of 20, and a 10' tall mechanical Clifford puppet that will thrill kids and parents alike. It is a large-scale production that requires four tractor-trailers to transport it from city to city. "Clifford is huge," says Hoppe. "It's an inflatable air-conditioned balloon with moving mouth, eyes, ears, and wagging tail, all operated by two actors inside. I cast people who can move, with the body strength to withstand the strain of running the puppet."

All of the show's costumes, props, and scenery were custom built for the show, including Curry's astonishing Clifford costume. "We have one of the best design teams in the world," says Hoppe, "The cast is made up of very talented, singers and dancers, performing live, not lip synched."

Tom Sturge, the show's lighting designer, says the sets and lighting scheme will dazzle audiences of all ages. "It's a combination of art and technology," he notes. "We provide the environment for the actors to do the show, and make the sets look great. It takes a lot of attention to color, but the lighting transforms the set. We go to North Pole for the aurora borealis, and to the moon to see the stars."

For the Clifford Live! Tour, Sturge employs a versatile self contained lighting computer called Grand M.A. But he hopes audiences focus on the show, and not the staging techniques. "We use a lot of technology," says Sturge, "but the whole point is to realize the vision of the show. Besides, four-year-olds are best audience you could have. They're so enthusiastic."

And of course on a 40-year time tested property like Clifford, the merchandise plays a key role in the tours overall numbers. Kids and parents attending the show will have plenty of wonderful "Clifford Live!" souvenirs to choose from, according to Josh Furlow of Turnstile Entertainment. "Merchandise includes everything from specially designed lights, apparel, pennants, hats, program books and plush toys of the characters. We created items that deliver value and excitement tied directly to the storyline of the show."

Martha Atwater, Vice President of Programming & Development, Scholastic Entertainment states, "Kids who love reading Clifford's books and watching the animated series will enjoy every moment of this production. Big laughs, big fun and Clifford's Big Ideas make for a memorable event with the Big Red

Complete tour information and dates are available at

April 8 – 11 Pittsburgh, PA Benedum Center for Prf. Art
April 15 – 18 Wallingford, CT Oakdale
April 21 – 25 Atlanta, GA Fox Theater
April 29 to May 2 Kansas City, MO Municipal Auditorium
May 6- 9 Cleveland, OH Gund Arena
May 13 -16 Columbus, OH Value City Arena
May 20 – 23 St. Louis, MO Savvis Center
May 27 – 30 Toronto, ON Ricoh Coliseum
June 3 – 6 Baltimore, MD 1st Mariner Center
June 8 – 9 Manchester, NH Verizon Wireless Arena
June 11 – 13 Albany, NY Pepsi Arena
June 15-16 Huntington, WV Big Sandy Super Store Arena
June 18-20 Charleston, WV Municipal Auditorium
June 24 – 27 Indianapolis, IN Murat Theater

– CelebrityAccess Staff Writers

JVC Jazz Festival-Newport Celebrates 50th Anniversary Of Newport Jazz Festival

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The 2004 JVC Jazz Festival – Newport will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival August 11-15 in Newport, RI. "It will be a celebration of the glory that the Newport Jazz Festival has brought to jazz, and a verification of the fact that jazz is alive and healthy, and continues to be an important force in American music," said George Wein, CEO of Festival Productions.

"The festival opens Wednesday August 11th at Rogers High School with Dave Brubeck presenting a sacred concert, The Gates of Justice, dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Bill," Wein continued."

On August 12 there will be a gala at Newport's most opulent Gilded Age mansion, The Breakers. This event will benefit the non-profit
Preservation Society of Newport County. Harry Connick, Jr. and His Orchestra will perform at the annual Friday night celebration on August 13 at the famed Newport Casino at the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

On August 14-15 at Fort Adams State Park, the programs will feature an incredible array of jazz stars on three stages from 11:30 am – 7:30 pm. The August 14 program includes: Dave Brubeck, Harry Connick, Jr. Quartet, Branford Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, McCoy Tyner, Michael
Brecker, Phil Woods, Ron Carter, Roy Haynes, Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra (The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band Reunion), George Shearing, Christian McBride, Clark Terry, Cedar Walton, James Moody, Marian McPartland, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Lew Tabackin, Russell Malone, Howard Alden, Lewis Nash, Mulgrew Miller, Peter Washington, Randy Sandke, Frank Wess, Ravi Coltrane, Ken Peplowski, Renee Rosnes, Terell Stafford and many others.

The August 15 program includes: Herbie Hancock, Ornette Coleman, Wayne Shorter, Wynton Marsalis with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Dave Holland, Clark Terry, Dave Douglas, Bill Cosby, Mingus Big Band, Peter Cincotti, Nicholas Payton, Regina Carter, Roswell Rudd, Roy Hargrove, Jimmy Heath, James Carter, Lee Konitz, Gary Burton, Geri Allen, Chico Hamilton, Albert "Tootie" Heath, Wallace Roney, Percy Heath, Bobby Watson, Peter Washington, Cedar Walton, Donald Harrison, Brian Blade, Doug Wamble, Lewis Nash, Steve Turre, Barry Altschul and many others.

JVC, the jazz festival's sponsor, is celebrating its 20th year of jazz festival sponsorship. Negra Modelo is the featured beer of the JVC Jazz Festival – Newport. –Bob Grosswinerand Jane Cohen

PS&E Relaunches Santa Barbara International Jazz Festival

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Pro Sports & Entertainment, has re-launched Santa Barbara's premier musical event — The Santa Barbara International Jazz Festival. The 5th annual Jazz Festival will take place in the Sunken Garden of the historic Santa Barbara County Court House on September 4-6.

The Santa Barbara International Jazz Festival attracts more than 30,000 people annually and is also celebrated for showcasing well-known local talent such as the jazz works of Peter Clark. By offering a variety of artists, the Santa Barbara International Jazz Festival has become a premier event for California and one of the world's foremost jazz festivals.

"I am extremely pleased to announce the most recent addition to our concert/music festival division, the Santa Barbara International Jazz Festival," stated Paul Feller, president & CEO and Santa Barbara resident. "This marquee property is not only a strategic addition to our live entertainment event portfolio, it will also provide significant value to the welfare of our community." –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

USO To Honor Troops At Fort Hood On April 22

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The USO will present a special show honoring the Army's 4th Infantry Division's Task Force Iron Horse at an April 22 "Welcome Home" Celebration at Fort Hood, TX. Master of ceremonies Wayne Newton, Jessica Simpson, Ludacris, Drew Carey, Gary Sinise, Charlie Viracola, The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and No Illusion will close out a day-long festival to say "thank you" to the soldiers of Task Force Iron Horse and their families.

Responsible for capturing Saddam Hussein on December 13, soldiers of Task Force Iron Horse are returning home after nearly a year in the Sunni Triangle — the most dangerous area of Iraq. Soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division also helped to open and supply thousands of schools, hospitals and clinics and repair bridges, roads, power plants and oil pipelines within the Division's area of operations. An estimated 50,000 are expected to attend the day-long festival. Other activities scheduled include:

** A ceremony uncasing the 4th Infantry Division colors, symbolizing the troops' official homecoming;
** A day-long concert featuring Tracy Byrd, John Michael Montgomery, Jeff Bates, Billy Ray Cyrus, MercyMe, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many others, including WWE superstars . Children's entertainment includes Mallory Lewis and Lamb Chop; and
** A carnival,with food and soft drinks donated by a number of companies, including Krispy Kreme, which is donating thousands of doughnuts.

The event is sponsored by Fort Hood's Morale, Welfare and Recreation, the 4th Infantry Division, the USO, Army and Air Force Exchange Services, the cities of Killeen and Copperas Cove, the Association of the U.S. Army, and other local groups and companies. –Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner

Janet Jackson Draws Thousands In L.A.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Janet Jackson, winding up a week of television interviews to promote her new album, drew about 3,000 fans Friday for a live broadcast of "On-Air with Ryan Seacrest."

There were no wardrobe malfunctions — though the show aired on the East Coast with a seven-second tape delay, just in case.

And there were no questions about her breast-baring performance during Super Bowl.

"We're finally on this program today turning the page," Seacrest assured Jackson.

Visibly grateful, Jackson just closed her eyes and nodded in appreciation.

The crowd filled a shopping center in the heart of Hollywood to see Jackson, who wore low-slung cargo pants with suspenders and a striped T-shirt that exposed her midriff. She sang two songs, taking the stage with dancers for one number, sitting on a stool for the other.

The singer also took a few questions from Seacrest and a couple of fans. All spared her queries about her Super Bowl halftime number with Justin Timberlake.

Jackson has said she is trying to put the incident behind her, but has had to field questions while promoting her album, "Damita Jo," which debuted Tuesday.

She also skirted questions Friday about her love life, including whether a ring on her left hand signaled her engagement to rapper-producer boyfriend Jermaine Dupri. "It's a gift," Jackson said. "I've had my ups and downs with relationships. I'm very happy."

Jackson and Timberlake's duet sparked a round of recriminations and complaints about broadcast standards. Some fans Friday said the outrage was overblown.

"They made a very big deal of it, they blew it all out of proportion," said Alicia Hardwick, 31, of Los Angeles.

Spears Postpones Cleveland Concert

CLEVELAND (AP) — An ailing Britney Spears postponed her concert Thursday night at Gund Arena, her third postponement in as many weeks.

Publicist Leslie Sloane Zelnik said she didn't know specifics of Spears' illness. The singer postponed two shows in mid-March because of a knee injury suffered while performing in Moline, Ill.

As Thursday's concert time approached, fans were still heading through a steady rain for Gund Arena, where security guards turned them away. The message board above the ticket windows flashed the rescheduled date, June 29.

The earlier postponed shows were in Rosemont, Ill., and Auburn Hills, Mich.