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Cole’s return highlights spring shows in LR area

Natalie Cole, the Grammy Award winning vocalist, returns to Little Rock on Sunday, April 3, as the guest of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra in its annual SuperPops Concert. The 7 p.m. show at Robinson Center Music Hall is one of the major highlights of the spring performing arts season in Central Arkansas. Cole, the daughter of the legendary Nat King Cole, has charted 30 pop singles since breaking through with the hit “I’ve Got Love on My Mind,” and sold more than 14 million copies of her Grammy-winning “Unforgettable, With Love” album. She appeared in last year’s Cole Porter biopic, “De-Lovely.” The Symphony will also be welcoming guitarist Jose Feliciano for two nights of concerts as part of its Pops, Live series May 6-7. But perhaps the most intriguing shows upcoming for the Symphony are the performances April 9-10 of ASO conductor David Itkin’s composition “Exodus,” with Emmy-winning actor William Shatner narrating. A combined choir of 300 voices from area groups will also take the Robinson stage for the performance. For tickets to the ASO events, call 666-1761. It’s long been advertised as THE Broadway musical for people who love Broadway musicals: “42nd Street,” the classic about Broadway itself that was revamped and revived for a return to the stage in 2001, is on tour and will appear at Robinson Center Music Hall on April 18-20 (it plays Fayetteville’s Walton Arts Center April 15-17). The musical, which won the Tony Award for best revival and closed last January on Broadway after more than 1,500 performances, features such familiar tunes as “We’re in the Money,” “I Only Have Eyes for You” and “Lullaby of Broadway.” The show wraps up the 2004-2005 season for Celebrity Attractions at Robinson Center. Call the company at 244-8800 for tickets. The Arkansas Repertory Theatre is opening “The Miracle Worker,” the story of Helen Keller, this weekend with a scheduled run through April 17. Upcoming at the Rep later this spring will be “Hot Mikado,” starring Lawrence Hamilton, the Arkansan who found his way to Broadway and national tours of such Broadway shows as “Ragtime.” “Hot Mikado” runs May 6 to June 5. Call 378-0405 for Rep tickets. Alison Krauss and Union Station, featuring Jerry Douglas, is the biggest concert in March at Alltel Arena. The group appears Saturday, March 19 (see page 21). The next big show comes in May, when contemporary Christian artist Michael W. Smith brings his tour, also featuring Selah, to Alltel on May 5. That’s followed by country star Kenny Chesney, who is tentatively scheduled to bring up-and-coming female country sensation Gretchen Wilson and country-rocker/Kid Rock protege Uncle Kracker to Alltel on May 12. Alltel will have a special week devoted to the kiddies (and their parents) with the Disney on Ice tour of “Finding Nemo.” The seven performances run April 21-24. “Finding Nemo” is the latest Disney/Pixar film to be cooled off for a live performance on ice, following “Monsters, Inc.” from two years ago. Call the arena box office at 975-9000. Ticketmaster (975-7575 or most Harvest Foods stores) also handles tickets for all the aforementioned venues.

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