I was a fan of the fabulous Laurie Beechman the first time I heard her featured vocal in the song "NYC" on the original cast recording of Annie. She played the "Star To Be" and sings the chorus at the key change in the song. As a teenager drawn to Broadway at a very young age, I think I played the song ten times in a row. I couldn't get enough.
As most folks know, Laurie went on to create the role of the "Narrator" in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on Broadway, and starred in Les Miserables ("Fantine") and CATS ("Grizabella").
My hubby Michael worked as her publicist for her two solo albums of Broadway songs back in the 90s, and was instrumental in her singing at the closing of President Clinton's second inaugural where she brought down the house with her version of "You'll Never Walk Alone."
When I was performing in the Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly!, Laurie made a point to come and find me (collecting money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS) in the lobby of our theater. I went total "fan-boy" as she approached me saying, "You're Randy?" and I almost screamed "And you're LAURIE BEECHMAN!" I calmed down a moment later and composed myself :)
Sadly, we lost Laurie way too early due to her battle with cancer. But she fought the good fight. Hard. So strenuously, in fact, that she returned to the Broadway cast of CATS even towards the end of her time with us.
I've never seen this clip before. It was recently posted on Facebook by Laurie's nephew.
Although she didn't sing "Tomorrow" in Annie, she sings the hell of out it here. The word "thrilling" doesn't even begin to capture the magic her voice commanded.
1st Video: Laurie Beechman sings Tomorrow.
Tonight I am sharing a project many years in the making. My Aunt Laurie Beechman remains in my memory as a majestic and vibrant singer. I loved her first as my Aunt Laurie, and in the summers I spent weeks with her and her husband, my Uncle Neil who built all the sets with his company Hudson Scenic. In the summer of 1996, after we got home from a day in the city, we listened to a message on the answering machine. It was the Broadway producer of Cats, asking her to come back and join the show, despite her cancer. She had given up on this call, because even with her health improving, Broadway had never cast anyone unless totally healthy and in perfect shape. Well, she bucked that trend. Why? Well, because she was the most incredible talent in the world. Here she is in 1982, the year she stared in Joseph.
Posted by Reid J. Cohen on Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Laurie's nephew also posted this performance from the same appearance on Merv Griffin of Laurie singing from her Tony Award nominated performance in JOSEPH...
It's all fantastic, but check that moment at the 2:50 mark.