Laurie Beechman To Sing At Walnut & Meow In Cats Actress and singer Laurie Beechman, who has struggled with cancer for eight years, is reaching out to another friend with the disease: 63-year-old Philadelphia actor Doug Wing. To help defray the expenses incurred by Wing's lung cancer, Beechman, a Philadelphia native, will offer a benefit concert, March 31, at Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theatre.
Titled "No One Is Alone," the 2-hour concert will feature standards, songs from Beechman's Broadway shows, and personal favorites that "reflect hope and inspiration."
In even bigger news, Beechman has been personally invited by Andrew Lloyd Webber to return to Broadway’s Cats in May 1997. That means she'll be doing the role when the Webber/T.S. Eliot musical becomes the longest running show in Broadway history, June 19, 1997. With 6,138 performances under its belt, Cats will then have surpassed the 6,137 shows racked up by A Chorus Line.
Though production spokesperson Michael Borowski (of the Bill Evans Office) couldn't confirm any other plans for the anniversary, he did say a press conference would be held towards the end of April, and a special Thursday night performance of Cats would be held on the anniversary date. Beechman, who appeared in Cats and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1989. Her battle continues, but so does her life. She recently appeared with the national touring company of Les Miserables and performed at the 1997 Presidential Inauguration. She sang at Margaret Thatcher's most recent birthday party and released a new solo CD Sept. 1996.
A Tony nominee for 1982's Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Beechman appeared at the Walnut in 1990's comedy revival, The Show Off.
Doug Wing has worked as an actor in Pennsylvania for 40 years, with 14 Walnut Street productions to his credit. He will appear in the upcoming Studio 3 mounting of Brian Friel's Faith Healer.
For tickets to Beechman's benefit concert at Walnut Street, call (215) 574-3550 x.4. For tickets and information on Cats, call (212) 239-6200.
--By David Lefkowitz