Setting up friendly URL in production mode

What I stumbled upon is that for unknown reason, my Apache2 config is such that
the RewriteRule ^/(.) pattern does not fire the rewrite . When I replaced it with ^(.) ie, the "/" has been elimiated then the pattern will trigger.

What I have now in the .htaccess file is
RewriteRule ^(.*) http://localhost:8084/VirtualHostBase/http/%{HTTP_HOST}:80/openbeam/VirtualHostRoot/$1 [P,L]

By doing that a url like: http://openbeam.net/beamprojects and http://openbeam.net/infocenter get properly redirected without explosing the long url. However, the rewrite pattern is such that openbeam.org and its Home tab is not referencing the right place. I need to figure out a rewrite rule for the case when there is no child.

And also I have absolutely no idea why my Rewrite engine works differently.