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Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Ray Charles Cancels Levitt Pavilion Appearance, Roberta Flack, Michael Bolton Fill In

Ray Charles has canceled Thursdays appearance at WestportҒs Levitt Pavilion due to acute hip discomfort, his publicists announced late Monday. The Levitt replaced him with Roberta Flack and Westporter Michael Bolton.

The Westport appearance was among a number of concert dates canceled by the entertainer, who is being treated in Los Angeles, according to a spokesperson.

The 72-year-old singer, who already missed three appearances last week, plans to resume his full slate of late summer and fall dates starting Aug. 22 at Harrah’s Casino in Escondido, Calif., the spokesperson said.

Levitt Pavilion Executive Director Freda Welsh announced the commitments from Flack and Bolton at about 3 p.m.

“It was touch and go but they stepped forward to save the day.” she told WestportNow. It is the first joint appearance by the entertainers, she said.

Welsh said those holding tickets for Thursday will be able to use them for the replacement concert or return them for a full refund.

She said she hoped the number of those returning tickets would be minimal, adding that they instead might simply consider making their purchase a donation to the Levitt.

Further information is posted on the Levitt Pavilion Web site.

Charles had been scheduled to appear Wednesday in Worcester, Mass. After Westport, 12 other concerts that had been scheduled across the country were now canceled,  the spokesperson said.

Flack is known as a singer of soulful jazz and pop ballads. She became popular in the 1970s when she recorded a string of hits including “Feel Like Makin’ Love” and “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” The latter was included on the soundtrack for Clint Eastwood’s 1971 film “Play Misty For Me.”

The title cut from Flack’s 1973 album “Killing Me Softly” became her biggest hit.

Bolton, who has said Ray Charles was one of his idols growing up and who has appeared in concert with Charles, has had a successful career both as a performer and songwriter.

He has sold more than 52 million albums and singles worldwide, won two Grammys, and been nominated four times for Best Pop Vocals, Male.  He has also won six American Music Awards.

His hits have included When a Man Loves a Woman,Ӕ (SittinӒ on) The Dock of the Bay, ԓThats What Love is All About,Ҕ and How am I Supposed to Live Without You.Ӕ



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