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By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International   |   March 20, 2003 at 2:00 PM
FREEMAN COULD STAR IN HIP-HOP MUSICAL

Plans are in the works for a true modern-day musical with a hip-hop theme, and it could co-star award-winning actor Morgan Freeman. The Hollywood Reporter says MGM -- famous for its many splendid musicals -- is preparing to mount a new-wave music version of "Colors Straight Up." That was a much-heralded documentary. Freeman, who just received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, already is involved in the project. His production company is producing the movie for MGM. The planned musical will profile the work of two high school teachers -- one black, the other white -- who join to use today's contemporary music to span racial barriers. The movie could be filmed in the original setting of the documentary, the Watts section of Los Angeles. Filming could get underway as early as June.


RINGO PLANNING A BANG-UP SUMMER

Former Beatle Ringo Starr is about to hit the road again with another ambitious summer tour. This latest incarnation of Starr and his All-Starr Band will play nearly 30 North American venues in the coming months. The tour, according to Starr's publicist, begins in Toronto in late July and includes cities from Buffalo, N.Y., to Boston, Little Rock, Ark., and Phoenix. The tour ends in September in Los Angeles and San Diego. Playing backup for the ever-fun Ringo will be John Waite, late of Bad English; Paul Carrack, from Mike and the Mechanics; Sheila E; and, frequent Billy Joel collaborator Mark Rivera. Ringo's latest CD, "Ringo Rama" will hit store shelves soon. Assisting in that compilation were Willie Nelson, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton and Charlie Haden, among others.


PUDDLE OF MUDD DELAYS NEXT CD

The group described as a "modern rock act," Puddle of Mudd, is delaying the release of its long-anticipated next CD. The project is, according to Billboard magazine, tentatively called "Life of Display." It likely will not be on store shelves until August. The project had been nearly "put to bed" with 17 brand new songs when the decision was made to record three new hot tracks. The problem now will be to decide what stays and what goes. The songs that don't make the cut could end up on a subsequent effort. The group so far has only set up one play date for the coming summer months, in Pittsburgh in late July to appear with Blink 182, Def Leppard and Trapt.


KELLY OSBOURNE SETS HER OWN COURSE

If her latest gig in Indianapolis is any indication, second-generation Osbourne, Kelly, is not a chip off the old block. Reviewer David Lindquist, writing in the Indianapolis Star, says the 18-year-old -- famous for her "hair style de jour" on her family's much-watched MTV reality show -- is just as eccentric on stage as her dad but in her own special, scaled-down way. It would appear Kelly and Ozzie do not have much in common musically, except their love of the ballad. Although there is no indication the elder, Ozzy Osbourne, ever called a heckler to the stage to present his views, Kelly did just that at her Hoosier concert. When someone kept ragging her from the crowd, Osbourne called the heckler to the front and, under the glare of the spotlights and possibly because of his proximity to Kelly, the man "turned into a sweetheart." Meanwhile, Kelly Osbourne draws her fans from a large cross-section of the music-loving world. Even though she might be trying her hand as a rock star simply as a lark, the paper applauds her for playing difficult venues rather than picking safer locales.


STONES PREPARE 'FAVORITE SONGS' CD

The Rolling Stones have put out a new CD and its filled with other people's music, the kind they listen to. The compilation is called "Rolling Stones Artist's Choice." It's the fourth in a series of artist-chosen songs by Hear Music. This one features the music the Stones say they listen to when they want to unwind. In putting the CD together, each member of the group -- Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Woods and Charlie Watts -- sat down and individually prepared a list of their favorite performances. Some 16 tracks are included. The CD will sell for around $15 and is being produced as part of a series prepared by the folks at Starbucks. It will soon be available at major stores.


IN PRAISE OF DR. JANE GOODALL

At age 68 there is no indication naturalist Dr. Jane Goodall is about to hang up her hiking boots -- at least not any time soon. Goodall, now 68, has been spending the past half year in the wilds near the shore of Lake Tanganyika in east-central Africa. She's there to observe -- what seems to be her best skill. The second best skill or possibly a tie for first is patience. For more than four decades she's been going into the bush befriending chimps, often observing never-before-seen chimp behavior. Her original job was as a personal secretary. She shucked her office work to become the world's beloved nature watcher. Her most recent efforts are the inspiration behind a new IMAX movie, debuting this week at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. The Denver Post says whenever Goodall does a book-signing people stand in line for hours just to shake hands with the legendary naturalist.


UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 549

Today our question is: "Did you watch any coverage of Day One of the attack on Iraq Wednesday night? If so, how much and on which network, radio or TV?" Put ATTACK in the subject line and send to comments@upi.com via the Internet.


RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 544 (BUS4)

We continue to look at answers to a week-long series of "cross-country bus trip" questions. Each day last week we presented two people and asked which one you'd rather have as a seat-mate on a one-week trip. Here are the results of BUS4: Charlton Heston, 70 percent; Martin Sheen, 25 percent; neither, the remainder.

TOMORROW: Even more ride the bus. GBA

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