Jekyll & Hyde's Christiane Noll and Scarlet Pimpernel's Douglas Sills and Christine Andreas are confirmed for "Let the Memory Live Again," the Laurie Beechman benefit to take place Nov. 30 at Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theatre. Also on board are Ray McLeod and Rob Evan, the matinee Jekyll & Hyde. (Evan, by the way, performed opposite Beechman in Les Miserables.) Sam Harris (The Life, The Jazz Singer) and pop singer Patti LaBelle will co-host the benefit.
Noll will sing "Unexpected Song" from Song and Dance. No other musical selections are known.
Rep. Jon D. Fox (R-PA), who represents the native Pennsylvania district of the late actress-singer Beechman, is putting together the concert to honor the performer, who starred in such Broadway productions as Cats and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and died of ovarian cancer Mar. 8, 1998 at age 43. Proceeds from the concert will benefit Gilda's Club, an organization which offers help to cancer victims.
The concert may also be recorded for release as a CD. A spokesman at Fox's office said they were talking with Varese Sarabande about recording the event. Among those talents who also might appear are Sam Harris (The Life), Andrea McArdle (Annie), Patti LuBelle, Donna Murphy (The King and I), and Bernadette Peters (Sunday in the Park with George).
"Now that the date has been established, we will work along with the exceptional staff of the beautiful Walnut Street Theatre to produce a concert that will befit a star of Laurie's magnitude," said Fox. The Walnut Street Theatre is an apt location for the concert; in March 1998, Beechman herself performed at the theatre in a benefit concert to aid an actor-friend also suffering from cancer.
Earlier this month, Fox introduced two bills honoring Beechman in Congress. One bill calls for funding to the National Cancer Institute to increase by $50 million over five years. The extra money would be used for ovarian cancer education. The second measure would result in a special U.S. Treasury Department commemorative coin bearing Beechman's likeness. Money culled from the sale of the coin would go to Gilda's Club. No word yet on their chance of passage.