While the Broadway version of The Color Purple continues its successful run, a touring cast will begin previews in Chicago, Illinois on April 17. The show officially opens on May 3 and will spend six months at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre. The touring cast features Destiny's Child member Michelle Williams, American Idol season 3 finalist LaToya London, and Jeannette Bayardelle and Felicia Fields, who both appeared in the Broadway version of the show. The Color Purple is based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1982 novel, which tells the story of a young, abused African American woman who triumphs over adversity.
On April 17, Eurythmics guitarist Dave Stewart will release an Earth Day song on iTunes. Sales of the tune, called "Go Green," will benefit Greenpeace, an international non-profit organization that funds a variety of environmental campaigns. Joining Stewart on the song are Bonnie Raitt, Sarah McLachlan, British singer Imogen Heap and Jamaican hip-hop artist Nadirah X.
Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell will have a series of children's books out in 2008. According to the Associated Press, she recently signed a six-book deal with Macmillan. The series will tell the fictional story of 9-year-old Ugenia Lavender, who "balances everyday school life with solving mysteries and working her way out of fantastic situations." Halliwell will also release a theme song for the series, which will be packaged with the books.
Country star Carrie Underwood makes history this week (week ending April 21) by taking the fourth single from her debut to Number One. No other female Country artist has topped the Country chart four times with a debut album. Carrie's three previous Number Ones include "Jesus, Take the Wheel," "Don't Forget To Remember Me" and "Before He Cheats."
Sara Evans' former nanny and soon-to-be-ex-husband filed separate lawsuits last week. The former nanny, Alison Lee, claims she was slandered and libeled in court documents Evans and her lawyers filed last year when Sara began divorce proceedings against her husband Craig Schelske. In the documents, Sara accused Lee of having an affair with Schelske. Lee denies the affair and is seeking $3 million in punitive and compensatory damages. She has also asked Evans to make a public retraction of the allegations. Craig Schelske is seeking $20 million from a lawyer and his firm, which is representing Evans. Schelske accuses Nashville lawyer John Hollins, Sr. with making false statements to the media. In October of last year, Hollins told People magazine, "…everything we allege, we've got photographs to back up the allegations of the complaint." Schelske's suit claims Hollins knew the statement was false and that no photographs existed.
April 10, a fire destroyed the home Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter Cash shared for the last 35 years of their lives. The seven-bedroom, five-bath property and its lakefront lot, located in the Nashville suburb of Hendersonville, Tennessee, were put on the market in June 2005. The home was sold for $2.3 million to a Florida company owned by the Bee Gees' Barry Gibb and his wife Linda. When they bought the property in January of last year, Barry said, "My wife Linda and I are determined to preserve it to honor their memory. We fell in love with it. It's an incredible honor for us. We plan to use the home to write songs because of the musical inspiration." The fire is still under investigation, but reports say a spark might have ignited wood that was being treated with a preservative. It took less than one hour for the house to burn to the ground.
NEW ALBUM RELEASES
New albums scheduled for release on April 17 include: "The Best Damn Thing" by Avril Lavigne, "Year Zero" by Nine Inch Nails, "Bucky" by 2006 "American Idol" finalist Bucky Covington, "Fall" by Clay Walker, "Strength and Loyalty" by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, At the End of Paths Taken" by Cowboy Junkies and "Rhinestoned" by Pam Tillis.
On April 21, the Hard Rock Café New York in Times Square will hold the "Icons of Music" auction to benefit Music Rising. Music Rising is a campaign co-founded in 2005 by U2 guitarist The Edge to aid musicians along the Gulf Coast who lost their livelihood following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The auction will offer 200 pieces of music memorabilia, including items donated by member of U2, a pair of John Lennon's sunglasses, a guitar owned by Jimi Hendrix, a saxophone autographed by President Bill Clinton, a guitar hand-painted by Paul McCartney, and much more.
TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION
Country star Keith Urban will begin his 2007 world tour on April 19 in Munich, Germany. On May 11, he'll head to his native Australia to play six shows in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. U.S. shows begin on June 9 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Urban's North American itinerary runs through September 22. He'll be promoting his new CD, Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing.
On April 21, Gwen Stefani will kick off a North American tour in Las Vegas, Nevada. The outing will support her second solo album, The Sweet Escape. Senegalese rapper Akon will join the tour beginning April 22. Concerts are scheduled to end June 23 in Irvine, California. Akon co-wrote, co-produced and is featured the title track of Stefani's latest album.
Alison Krauss & Union Station will support their new retrospective, "A Hundred Miles or More: A Collection," with a U.S. summer tour. The 45-city trek begins on April 21 in Chattanooga, Tennessee and is currently scheduled to wrap up on August 10 in Lewisburg, West Virginia. The group's new anthology includes five new songs.