Billboard Bits: Coolio/Outkast, Blades, 'La Boheme'

News on Coolio/Outkast, Blades, 'La Boheme'

NellyHip-hop stars Coolio and Outkast have signed on to star in a low-budget direct-to-video movie financed by National Lampoon, Image Entertainment, and Broadway Entertainment. "National Lampoon's Hip-Hop Party" will be released on DVD early next year by Image's Urban Images division and will air in edited segments on Lampoon's recently acquired college TV property National Lampoon Network (formerly the Burly Bear Network).

Directed by Anthony Quinn Leggett ("King of the Streets"), "Hip Hop Party" will be a concert/behind-the-scenes movie. The feature has been shooting at clubs and black colleges, including Morehouse College and Howard University, since early this month.

-- Marla Matzer Rose, The Hollywood Reporter

NellyRuben Blades has joined the lineup for the Creative Coalition's Oct. 29 Seconding the First gala benefit dinner and concert at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom. Blades' performance will be introduced by legendary singer/composer Harry Belafonte.

As previously reported, late Billboard editor in chief Timothy White will be honored with the Christopher Reeve First Amendment Award during the event. Musicians Elvis Costello, Lou Reed, Shawn Colvin, Quraishi, and Public Enemy's Chuck D, and actors Bebe Neuwirth, Cynthia Nixon, Danny Glover, Peter Boyle, and James Gandolfini are among those who will read and perform works that have been considered offensive or caused controversy since the adoption of the First Amendment.

Tickets are available by calling 212-614-2121. Proceeds will benefit the Creative Coalition, a nonprofit, nonpartisan social and public advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment community. For more information, visit the group's official Web site.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

NellyThe actors involved in Baz Luhrmann's theatrical production of Puccini's "La Boheme" are hard at work on the Broadway cast recording of the 1896 opera at George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, Calif., with producer David Frost. The show is currently being staged at San Francisco's Curran Theatre in advance of its scheduled Dec. 8 opening at New York's Broadway Theatre. "Original Broadway Cast REcording - La Boheme" is due Dec. 10 via DreamWorks.

Due to the demanding nature of the opera's principal roles of poet Rodolfo and his lover Mimi, three separate casts are being utilized to meet the rigors of a six-day, eight-show Broadway schedule, and the cast recording will reflect the unique arrangement. Mimi will be portrayed alternately by Lisa Hopkins, Wei Huang, and Ekaterina Solovyeva, while Rodolfo will be played by Alfred Boe, Jesus Garcia, and David Miller. Similarly, two sets of performers will play the roles of Musetta (Jessica Comeau and Chloe Wright) and Marcello (Ben Davis and Eugene Brancoveanu).

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.


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