In a Class Above the Rest: The Essential Laurie Beechman On Disc

By Ben Rimalower
14 Dec 2013

Cover art

"The Andrew Lloyd Webber Album" (1995 solo album)

An album of all Laurie Beechman singing all Andrew Lloyd Webber may be too much of a good thing. As evidenced by her earlier recordings of "Memory" and "Unexpected Song" (and by her Tony-nominated turn as the Narrator in the original Broadway production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and replacement run as Grizabella in Cats), Beechman had the perfect pipes for Lloyd Webber's syrupy showstoppers. The hitch with "The Andrew Lloyd Webber Album" is that these arrangements go too far. For example, at the end of "As If We Never Said Goodbye," after she sings "We'll have early morning madness, we'll have magic in the making," she adds the additional words, "We'll have fairy tale adventures in this ever-spinning playground." The song was schmaltzy enough to begin with. This approach is rampant on the album, so, not surprisingly, the best tracks are the more restrained productions where Beechman is able to give a lighter touch, especially a warm, ardent "I Don't Know How To Love Him" and a rapturous "Love Changes Everything," both of which bear the unique honor of being the only recordings of the song to rival the original. That said, my guilty pleasure is Beechman's take on "Starlight Express," which builds and builds through keychange after keychange, offering unrelenting fabulousness.

 Continued...