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TOURING & FESTIVAL NEWS: Faith Hill Stages Concert Return At The Colosseum At Caesar's Palace

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — After a four-year hiatus, Faith Hill is set to return to the stage with an exclusive, four-show concert event at The Colosseum at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas on August 10-11 and 13-14. Tickets are priced at $175-$87.50 The concerts are co-presented by Caesars Palace and AEG Live.

"We are delighted that Faith Hill, one of the most talented and popular entertainers of this generation, has chosen to perform at Caesars Palace," said Caesars Palace President Mark Juliano. "From pop and rock to opera and country, The Colosseum at Caesars Palace has proved itself to be the best venue to the see the best entertainers in the world."

In June 2004, Hill will make her Hollywood debut in Paramount Pictures' The Stepford Wives, also starring Nicole Kidman and Glenn Close. Her sixth studio album is slated for release this year as well. In 1999, she headlined a 50-city concert tour.–Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Pittsburgh To Hold Arts Convention

PITTSBURGH (AP) — For the first time, professional associations representing various performing arts including dance, theater and opera, will hold a convention together next month to learn from each other and promote the arts.

And the first question that's usually asked of organizer Marc Scorca, the president and chief executive officer of Opera America, is, why Pittsburgh? After all, Pittsburgh's a gritty steel town and a rabid sports town, not an arts town, right?

The city also has a strong arts community, Scorca said, and is at the forefront in arts cooperation — several of the city's performing arts groups join together to get deals on everything from pencils to health insurance.

"We're running the arts like a business in Pittsburgh," said Mark Weinstein, general director of the Pittsburgh Opera.

"We're not just an old steel town. … We're not just a good sports town," Weinstein said. "Maybe we should coin the word 'sparts' (for sports and arts.) We're a great 'sparts' town."

Some 5,000 people representing dozens of arts groups from across the country are expected to attend the June 8-13 National Performing Arts Convention. Sessions include diversity, funding, government support, audience development, journalistic criticism and the arts as a catalyst for urban development.

While such sessions are targeted more toward arts professionals, the conference will also offer events and performances for the public. Greater Pittsburgh area residents will be able to attend the opening session — a "performance collage" — for $25, half the price out-of-town attendees will pay. The convention also coincides with city's annual Three Rivers Arts Festival and organizers plan a street festival in the city's cultural district with some three dozen performances including various musical styles, folk art and hip-hop.

The convention is expected to pump more than $5 million into Pittsburgh's economy, said James Rohr, chairman and CEO of The PNC Financial Services Group, the lead sponsor.

Organizers decided against having an arts star as a keynote speaker. Scorca said while the "commercial world" drives society to believe that star power validates something, that would send the wrong message.

"Artists live here, they work here and they fill your stages, thankfully, night after night," he said.

Pittsburgh beat out more than a dozen other cities to host the convention. While Scorca wouldn't identify the contenders by name, some big cities were purposely excluded.

"The old notion that you have to fly to Chicago, New York or Los Angeles (to see the performing arts) is just that — an old notion," Scorca said.

Scorca said he has long wanted to get various arts groups together, but they "respectfully avoided each other." A decade ago, he got leaders from various performing arts fields together and asked they'd be interested in joint conference. They weren't. Several years ago, he tried again, this time contacting the various groups individually and building on those successes.

Organizers hope to hold the convention every four years.

Celine Dion Cancels Five More Shows

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Celine Dion has canceled five more performances of her nightly show at Caesars Palace after spraining her neck earlier this month. Dion's show "A New Day …" won't go on Wednesday through Sunday. The 36-year-old singer had to cancel last week's performances because of the nagging injury.

The star has been hampered by the sprained neck, which she suffered during a Mother's Day show, show spokeswoman Kris Lingle said.

Celine's doctor told her not to perform so the muscle in her neck can heal properly.

Dion is expected to resume performances May 26, Lingle said.

The singer is in the second year of a three-year engagement at the Las Vegas Strip hotel-casino.


On the Net:

CMA Music Festival After Hours Set For June 9-12

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — After The Coliseum's nightly concerts on June 9-12, the festivities continue at 15 downtown clubs and lounges as CMA Music Festival After Hours gets underway. Food and beverage specials, live entertainment and special events are just a few items on the After Hours menu.

Clubs participating include Bailey's Pub and Grille; Big River Grille and Brewery; BB King's Blues Club and Restaurant; Hard Rock Cafe; Legends Corner; Nashville Crossroads; Rippy's Smokin' Bar and Grill; Robert's Western World; Ryman Auditorium; Second Fiddle; The Stage on Broadway; The Trap; Tootsies Orchid Lounge; Wildhorse Saloon; and Wolfy's. Each club will develop its own entertainment schedule and admission policies.

Highlights of 2004 CMA Music Festival After Hours include:

** On June 9 at 11:00PM, the Ryman Auditorium hosts Marty Stuart's Late Night Jam with Marty Stuart, Terri Clark; Naturally 7 and a surprise special guest;

** The Grand Ole Opry Superstar Spectacular benefit showon June 10 from 11:00 PM – 2:00 AM includes Bill Anderson, Tracy Byrd, Vince Gill, Jack Greene, Buddy Jewell and Brad Paisley;

** "The Fourth Annual NBC Daytime After Hours Party" kicks off at the Wildhorse Saloon on June 12 at 11:00 PM with NBC daytime stars and a special appearance by Lonestar; and
**The Trap hosts After Hours on June 11 with Earl Thomas Conley and on June 12 with the Honky Tonk Tailgate Party features Daryle Singletary and Rhett Akins. — Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Black Sabbath To Reunite For Ozzfest

NEW YORK (AP) — Black Sabbath will reunite for Ozzfest, which begins July 10 in Hartford, Conn., according to the Ozzfest Web site.

Original Black Sabbath members Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, and Osbourne-solo band member Mike Bordin, will perform 26 shows. It will be their first live appearance since 2001.

"Since the April 27 release of the CD/DVD `Black Box: The Complete Original Black Sabbath (1970-1978),' there's been enormous public demand for a Black Sabbath tour," said a posting on the Web site.

The main stage of Ozzfest also will include a reunited Judas Priest, Slayer, Dimmu Borgir, Superjoint Ritual (featuring Phil Anselmo) and Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society.


On the Net:

Apple & Eve Folk Fest Set For August 6-8

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — One of America’s most prestigious musical events, the Apple & Eve Newport Folk Festival returns August 6-8 in Newport, RI for its 45th year with a diverse lineup of songwriters, roots and blues players, traditional musicians, new artists and a splash of gospel. Festival Productions in the producer.

Ron Sexmith opens the festival on August 6 in the Ballroom of the Hotel Viking. On August 7, the festival moves to Fort Adams State Park with performances on the Fort and Borders stages with Crosby, Stills & Nash, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Corey Harris & 5X5, Mindy Smith, Slaid Cleaves, Vusi Mahlasela and Lila Downs & Mary Jane Lamond. On August 8, performers on the Fort and Borders stages include Wilco, Doc Watson, Rufus Wainwright, Joan Osborne, the Dixie Hummingbirds with special guests Levon Helm & Garth Hudson, Ollabelle, Laura Cantrell, Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez, Old Crow Medicine Show, Lori McKenna and Darden Smith.

The festival has expanded the third stage, now called the Waterside Stage, which will be larger, tented and will feature a variety of string bands throughout the day. Festival producers wanted to create an area where people could take their children and dance all day. On August 7, the stage will feature The Mammals, Adrienne Young & Little Sadie, Laura Cortese & Ten Brooks. On August 8, Old Crow Medicine Show, Crooked Still and The Mammals will perform. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Cole, Houston, Warwick To Tour Together

NEW YORK (AP) — Natalie Cole says she'll tour this summer with Whitney Houston and Dionne Warwick.

"Yes, Whitney, Dionne Warwick and myself," the singer told "Access Hollywood" in an interview to air Tuesday night. Excerpts were released in advance by the syndicated entertainment TV show.

"It starts in Germany in July. We're going to have … a great, great time. It's going to be fun."

Cole said one reason she decided to do the tour is her close relationship with Houston.

"I said `yes' because that's my buddy," she said. "I've always thought of Whitney as my little sister. I've known her since she was 19, and … I feel really good that when they asked who she would want to be on the show with her, she said me."

Cole said Houston is on the road to recovery after beginning treatment at a drug rehabilitation center in March.

"She's doing really great. She's a strong woman and she has a great desire to really get healthy and get well, so I'm just really happy for her."


On the Net:

'Wicked,' 'I Am My Own Wife' Top Plays

NEW YORK (AP) — "Wicked" was chosen best musical of the New York theater season, and "I Am My Own Wife" by Doug Wright was named best play in awards given Sunday by the Drama Desk, an organization of theater journalists and critics.

"Wicked," based on Gregory Maguire's cult novel about the witches in Oz before Dorothy arrives on the Yellow Brick Road, took six Drama Desk honors. "Assassins," a revival of the Stephen Sondheim-John Weidman musical, about presidential killers picked up four prizes, including the award for musical revival.

The Lincoln Center Theater production of "Henry IV" received three awards, including a top acting honor for its star, Kevin Kline, who played Falstaff. The Shakespeare drama also won for play-revival and for director-play, Jack O'Brien.

Phylicia Rashad, who portrays the determined matriarch in the revival of "A Raisin in the Sun," and Viola Davis, a lonely seamstress in off-Broadway's "Intimate Apparel," tied in the leading actress-play category.

Hugh Jackman, whose portrayal of flamboyant entertainer Peter Allen galvanizes "The Boy From Oz," was named best actor in a musical. Donna Murphy, the wry, older sister in the revival of "Wonderful Town," was named best actress-musical.

Featured-acting prizes in the play categories went to Ned Beatty, Big Daddy in a revival of Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," and Audra McDonald, the patient, hardworking wife in "A Raisin in the Sun."

Winners in the featured-acting musical categories were Isabel Keating, who plays Judy Garland in "The Boy From Oz," and Raul Esparza, the extravagant narrator in the Boy George musical "Taboo."

Jefferson Mays, who portrays a German transvestite who survives both the Nazis and the communists in "I Am My Own Wife," won the solo performance award.

Besides best musical, "Wicked" received prizes for its direction, Joe Mantello; lyrics, Stephen Schwartz; book, Winnie Holzman; sets, Eugene Lee (a tie with John Lee Beatty for "Twentieth Century"), and costumes, Susan Hilferty.

The prize for best music went to Jeanine Tesori for her eclectic melodies in the Tony Kushner musical "Caroline, or Change." Kathleen Marshall won the choreography award for her work on "Wonderful Town."

"Assassins" also picked up prizes for orchestrations, Michael Starobin; lighting, Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, and sound design, Dan Moses Schreier.

The awards show was held in the concert hall at F.H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and the Performing Arts.

The Drama Desk, which was founded in 1949, honors both Broadway and off-Broadway productions.

'Match' and 'Millie' To Close On Broadway

NEW YORK (AP) — "Thoroughly Modern Millie," a big musical, and "Match," a small, three-character play, have announced that they are closing on Broadway.

"Millie," the tale of a young 1920s flapper who wants to take Manhattan by storm will close June 20 at the Marquis Theatre after a two-year run. The show, which won the 2002 Tony Award for best musical, will have played 904 performances.

"Millie" was adapted from the 1967 film musical that starred Julie Andrews. The current Broadway cast features Susan Egan as Millie, Leslie Uggams as New York socialite Muzzie Van Hossmere and Dixie Carter as the villainous Mrs. Meers.

"Match," which stars Tony-nominated Frank Langella, Ray Liotta and Jane Adams, folds May 23 after 53 performances at the Plymouth Theatre. In Stephen Belber's play, Langella plays a flamboyant choreographer,m who is questioned by a husband and wife about his past.