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Chaka Khan Turns 'Purple' with Winans & Jones Winter 2008

The producers of The Color Purple are pleased to announce that legendary eight-time Grammy Award winner Chaka Khan, four-time Grammy Award winner and gospel singer BeBe Winans, and 2007 "American Idol" finalist LaKisha Jones will make their Broadway debuts in the smash hit musical starting Wednesday, January 9, 2008, at the Broadway Theatre (1681 Broadway). 

Chaka Khan will play Sofia opposite BeBe Winans' Harpo.  Chaka's highly anticipated new album, "Funk This" was released yesterday, September 25 and BeBe's new album, "Cherch" will be released October 30. LaKisha Jones will play the Church Soloist, who opens the show with the rousing gospel number "Mysterious Ways" at all evening performances, and Sofia at all matinee performances. Jones' first performance will be December 19, 2007, and will play the Church Soloist at all performances through January 6, 2008.  The Color Purple will begin its third year on Broadway November 1, 2007.

Chaka Khan celebrates her 35th anniversary in the business making her Broadway debut as Sofia in The Color Purple.  Chaka formed her first singing group when she was 11, at 20 she was the singer for R&B, soul and funk band "Rufus," and five years later became a breakout solo artist.  Known for  a catalog of classic hits: "Tell Me Something Good," "Sweet Thing," "Once You Get Started," "Everlasting Love," "Do You Love What You Feel," "Ain't Nobody," "I'm Every Woman," "I Feel For You," "Through The Fire," "Clouds", "I'll Be Good To You", and "Whatcha Gonna Do For Me," Chaka has worked in practically every genre of music from pop, R&B, rock, disco, world music and fusion to jazz, rap, hip-hop, and classical working with a diverse list of distinguished collaborators.  The eight-time Grammy winner has just released her newest album, "Funk This," an extensive Khan catalog of close to a dozen solo albums, spanning almost twenty years of recording. Chaka Khan truly claims the title 'renaissance woman' with her work as an author, humanitarian and philanthropist.  Her autobiography, "Through The Fire," was acclaimed for its soul-bearing candor and honesty, and her commitment to women and children at risk is seen through her countless hours of dedication to the Chaka Khan Foundation.   Formed in 1999, the Foundations' initiative has involved a partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School district mentoring 5th and 6th grade students who are college-bound.  Chaka Khan is the winner of London's Best Actress Capitol Radio Listener's Poll Award for Mama, I Want to Sing, Soul Train's Lena Horne Lady of Soul Career Achievement Award, BET's Lifetime Achievement Award, and a Diamond Life Award of Excellence from the International Association of African-American Music.  Chaka is also responsible for her own line of chocolates, "Chakalates," and the guiding force behind her own Earthsong record label.

Benjamin "BeBe" Winans hails from the legendary Winans family, known as the first family of gospel music.  Winans is known as the groundbreaking inspirational, R&B, and Gospel vocalist, songwriter, and producer, who has won four Grammy Awards, ten Dove Awards, six Stellar Awards, two NAACP Awards and a Soul Train Award.  A multi-faceted artist, BeBe not only has a successful recording career, but also hosts a highly successful syndicated radio show. BeBe began his music career as a background singer for his famous brothers (The Winans).  In 1987, he partnered with his sister CeCe, and formed one of the most successful gospel groups in history.  The dynamic duo amassed an amazing run of hit songs and released the platinum-selling albums "Heaven" and "I'm Lost Without You," and also scored a plethora of number one hit singles including "Addictive Love" and "I'll Take You There." BeBe and CeCe have not only had great success on gospel play lists, but their music has been and still is in heavy rotation on R&B radio as well. His fifth solo album "Cherch," will be released October 30 on his own label, The Movement Group (TMG).  The soulful tenor co-produced and arranged all fourteen album tracks and he put his writing cap on for three songs including the first single, "No Sir."  BeBe has also recorded songs with such entertainers as Stevie Wonder, Brian McKnight and Whitney Houston, and his nearly four-year-old nationally syndicated radio gospel show, The BeBe Winans Radio Show,  has  given  him  the  opportunity  to interview such artists as Chaka Kahn and Oprah Winfrey.  As an actor, BeBe appeared in 2003's The Manchurian Candidate.  BeBe's next project, BET's "Sunday's Best," premieres October 2, 2007.  "Sunday's Best" is a gospel version of "American Idol" where BeBe will serve as one of the judges.

LaKisha Jones began singing at the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church at age five.  She was formally trained in classical music, but favored singing gospel music.   Jones graduated in 1998 and attended the University of Michigan-Flint, majoring in music.  A single mother, her four year old daughter Brionne encouraged her to try-out for "American Idol" where she went on to be one of the final four contestants in the 2007 season of the hit show. Jones is currently touring with American Idols Live.  LaKisha is working on her first album.

Beginning its 3rd smash year on Broadway, The Color Purple recouped its entire $11 million investment in less than a year.  The Color Purple's first North American Tour kicked off in Chicago on April 17, 2007 at The Cadillac Palace Theatre where it plays through September 30.  The tour will then continue on to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Tempe, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Philadelphia.

The performance schedule for The Color Purple is:  Wednesday through Saturday at 8PM; Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2PM; Sunday at 7:30PM. Tickets for The Color Purple can be purchased via (212) 239-6200 or at The Broadway Theatre Box Office.  Tickets are $116.50 -$26.50.

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