Billboard Bits: J. Lo, Toni Braxton, Laurie Berkner Band

News on Jennifer Lopez, Toni Braxton, Laurie Berkner Band

Jennifer Lopez's Nuyorican Productions and Sony BMG Film have acquired the rights to the feature film "Reggaeton." The project follows an aspiring New York rapper's relocation to Puerto Rico, where he discovers a thriving reggaeton scene and begins to make a name for himself with his own music.

"Reggaeton" is expected to begin shooting this spring in New York and Puerto Rico. "This script is a perfect fit for us because not only is it a compelling story with great characters, but it also combines two elements that are very close to my heart -- music and Puerto Rico," says Lopez.

As previously reported, Lopez and husband Marc Anthony will star together in a music-based movie based on the life of iconic Puerto Rican singer Hector Lavoe. "El Cantante" (The Singer) started filming last month in New York and will be released sometime this year.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Toni Braxton will return to the road for the first time in several years this spring. The veteran R&B vocalist's itinerary begins March 10 in Atlantic City, N.J.; at deadline, nine shows are confirmed through April 13 in Oakland, Calif.

Braxton will be touring in support of her 2005 Blackground album "Libra," which debuted at No. 4 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 366,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Here are Toni Braxton's tour dates:

March 10: Atlantic City, N.J. (Tropicana Casino)
March 12: Westbury, N.Y. (North Fork Theatre)
March 16: Verona, N.Y. (Turning Stone Casino)
March 22: Chicago (House of Blues)
March 30: Rama, Ontario (Casino Rama)
April 3: Baltimore (Lyric Opera House)
April 7: Pala, Calif. (Pala Casino)
April 8: Reno, Nev. (Silver Legacy Casino)
April 13: Oakland, Calif. (Paramount Theatre)

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

The Laurie Berkner Band will next month become the first children's music act to market a DVD through Starbucks. Due Feb. 14, "We Are... The Laurie Berkner Band" will be available through the coffee retailer's U.S. locations as well as traditional retail thanks to a deal between Starbucks' Hear Music label, Berkner's own Two Tomatoes Records and Razor & Tie Entertainment.

The DVD will feature clips for 11 songs, many of which have become familiar through exposure on Nickelodeon's Noggin channel and more recently through its "Jack's Big Music Show" series. While similar in tone with their colorful, minimal sets, the DVD videos differ from those seen on TV, and are produced by Jane Startz ("Ella Enchanted," "The Magic School Bus"). A five-track bonus CD will also be included.

Late last year, New York-based Berkner headlined the first leg of the Noggin-sponsored
Jamarama Live! tour. A Western U.S. portion this spring will feature Dan Zanes anchoring select dates and returning support from Milkshake. Zanes told last year that he is working on a compilation of his music for Starbucks to release in 2006.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.