Billboard Bits: 'A Royal Christmas,' Jin, drivin n cryin

News on 'A Royal Christmas,' Jin, drivin n cryin

NellyTeenage soprano Charlotte Church will be the vocal anchor of A Royal Christmas, an extravagant show on tour throughout the eastern half of the U.S. in December. The holiday gala will also star Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, who will guide a cast of 150 through readings and performances of seasonal tales, as well as sing-along caroling.

The affair will also feature England's Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, the Westminster Concert Choir, and the Westminster Bell Choir, as well as dancers from London's Royal Ballet, Winnepeg's Royal Ballet, Russia's Bolshoi Ballet, and the Ukraine's Kyiv Ballet and Shumka (Whirlwind) Dancers.

Here are A Royal Christmas tour dates:

Dec. 3: Cincinnati (U.S. Bank Arena)
Dec. 6: Pittsburgh (Mellon Arena)
Dec. 8: Columbus, Ohio (Nationwide Arena)
Dec. 15: Boston (FleetCenter)
Dec. 16: Albany, N.Y. (Pepsi Arena)
Dec. 20: Tampa, Fla. (St. Pete Times Forum)
Dec. 21: Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Office Depot Center)

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.






In the midst of recording his debut Ruff Ryders album, Asian-American rapper Jin recently joined the cast of "The Fast and the Furious 2." As previously reported, the film stars Paul Walker, fellow rapper Ludacris, and actor/model/singer Tyrese, and is currently shooting in Miami.

"I am a huge fan of the first [film]," Jin said in a statement. "Not only did I win the role I read for, but they made the part bigger just for me." The rapper will play the role of Jimmy, a mechanic working in the garage of Ludacris' character, Tej.

Ruff Ryders tentatively plans to release Jin's as-yet-untitled debut in April. The album will feature tracks by Swizz Beatz, as well as guest appearances by labelmates Eve, DMX, Styles P, and Jadakiss.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.






NellyVeteran rock act drivin n cryin will take to the road beginning Thursday (Oct. 31) for a tour of Southeastern U.S. cities that will kick off in Jacksonville, Fla. Fans can expect the band to perform a strong set of favorites from its 15-year career, as well as some of vocalist Kevn Kinney's solo material and some new songs.

The band is planning to record a new album in the spring for an as-yet-undetermined label. Kinney has also been working on a new solo album he hopes to release early next year. For more information and full tour dates, visit the band's official Web site.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.