By Howard Cohen
Miami Herald

Lana Turner was discovered sitting on a stool at the Top Hat Malt Shop in Hollywood. Toni Braxton sang to herself while pumping gas at an Amoco in Maryland. Rosario Dawson sat on a stoop of a Manhattan apartment building when a filmmaker strolling by asked her to be in his movie.

For singer Beth Cohen of Miami Beach, her new role as singer-keyboardist-rhythm guitarist in classic rock band Boston came about because the group's founder Tom Scholz was checking out a local Top 40 act on the Clevelander stage one night in 1997.

Cohen, a University of Miami graduate who has toured with Barry Gibb, Chayanne, Jon Secada and sung backing harmonies on Barbra Streisand's Guilty Pleasures album, was on that South Beach stage.

Scholz rang her up. She sang backup on Boston's 2002 album Corporate America and the current Life, Love and Hope, and Scholz just made her a member of the band for the new tour, which opens Thursday in Tuscaloosa. (Boston performs at Sunfest in West Palm Beach Sunday).

"It's so great. I remember hearing all those songs on the radio growing up. ... I'm thrilled to be there with a musical genius, but it makes me feel good about my own talents," the Long Island-born Cohen, 44, said.

The Broadway cast album of Annie was Cohen's awakening to the arts.

"I was probably about 8 years old and would run around the house singing 'the sun'll come out tomorrow' outside my bedroom window. The boy next door used to tease me, and would say, 'Shut up!' But I didn't even care. I was gonna be Annie! From that point on, I was singing all the time."