Melba Moore

Daughter of a singer in the Dizzy Gillespie Band and fathered by Teddy Hill, Melba Moore carries on the singing tradition of her parents. She earned her long and rewarding career in records, theater and television. Her professional career began in the recording industry as a back up singer with musicians and artists such as Nick Ashford, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin and Liza Minelli to name a few. She enjoyed a highly successful solo recording career. Some of the many pop/R&B; hits that make up her portfolio include her Grammy-nominated signature song “Lean On Me” and “You Stepped into my Life”. Her 1990 recording of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was entered into the Congressional Record as the official African-American National Anthem.

She began her career in the groundbreaking rock musical, “Hair”, a Broadway Show. She landed the lead role Sheila, replacing actress Diane Keaton and becoming the first black actress to replace a white actress in a lead role on Broadway. As one critic wrote, ‘Melba has changed the color of Hair’. She acted as Lutiebelle, a southern girl who falls in love with a fast talking preacher, in the musical “Purlie”, for also which she won Broadway’s coveted Antoinette Perry (Tony) Award as Best Supporting Actress. She was also awarded the prestigious Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics awards. In 1996, history repeated itself when Melba took over the role or Fantine in the Broadway musical, “Les Miserables”, again being the first black actress to step into the leading role in a milestone Broadway musical.

“My mother showed me this incredible fire that never went out,” Moore says, “You can have the greatest ability, but if you can’t touch people’s hearts, you can’t make it. That has been a driving force for me”.


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