Picks and Pans Review: The Andrew Lloyd Webber Album

updated 05/29/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/29/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Laurie Beechman

Broadway buffs have been well-acquainted with the considerable talent of singer-actress Laurie Beech-man ever since she burst out of the chorus with a solo spot as the Star to Be in 1977's Annie. Since then she has belted her way across the boards in numerous musicals, including those of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Now, on her third solo album, she tackles the songs of that mega-successful composer and comes up a winner. Love it or loathe it, Lloyd Webber's music has a larger than life theatricality that suits Beechman's impassioned, sell-it-to-the-back-row delivery. But this Broadway baby also knows when to pull back. Quiet yet determined on "Anything but Lonely," Beechman shows she's more than a modern-day Merman, and her lovely, introspective take on "I Don't Know How to Love Him" freshly roasts that chestnut. The singer, who is currently battling ovarian cancer, had a four-year run in Cats and closes the album with a goose-bump-inducing performance of "Memory"—proving that she doesn't need lights, scenery and a kitty costume to pierce your heart. (Varèse Sarabande)

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