When Laurie Beechman was nominated for a Tony this year for her role in the Broadway musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, she recalled her actress mother’s advice: Being nominated is unthinkable, winning is unmentionable. And even though the native Philadelphian lost (to Liliane Montevecchi of “Nine”), Laurie was undaunted. “Everything,” she shrugged, “in its own time.”
At 28, Beechman has already shown great versatility as a performer: in the Broadway production of Annie (Streisand came backstage to say, “You’ve got a great pair of pipes”), a singing and dancing part in the movie Hair, and six months as understudy for all the women’s ensemble parts in The Pirates of Penzance on Broadway. Next she gets a chance at record stardom when she lifts her rafter-rattling contralto to do the theme song from the upcoming CBS TV movie The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana. The song, “Will He Like Me?”, will be released as a single by Chrysalis Records this fall.
Reflecting on her success, Beechman admits “It helps to come from good stock.” Her father was an opera singer and her mother taught drama at Penn State. After two years as an acting major at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Laurie dropped out to join a rock band. “I must have played every Ramada Inn in the country,” she laughs. When she auditioned for Joseph, director Tony Tanner was so impressed with her Mermanesque voice that he put her in the role of the Narrator, which had previously been sung only by a man. “I’d like to be more glamorous in my next show,” says Laurie (at right with Joseph co-star Gordon Stanley). “I want to wear the hottest dress I can find.”