Newark, NJ; Montclair State College alumnus
The legacy continues with the Marvelous Legendary Ms. Melba Moore. The Harlem-born Melba was raised and schooled in Newark NJ – a proud alumnus of Newark Arts High School and Montclair State College (bachelor’s degree in music). Ms. Moore rose from session work as a studio vocalist to being cast in the legendary Broadway musical “Hair” – soon rising to lead actress after the show’s star Diane Keaton left to do movies (Melba was the first Black actress to replace a white lead actress in a Broadway play). Then as Lutibelle in the Broadway hit, “Purlie”, Moore was the first Black stage actress to earn the Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress In A Musical. Television soon beckoned (CBS-TV’S “Melba Moore/Clifton Davis Hour”, summer 1972, replacing The Carol Burnett Show – the first Black couple to host a TV variety series) and years later, R&B and dance hits (“This Is It”, “You Stepped Into My Life”). Upon marrying Charles Huggins, he and Melba with Beau Huggins launched Hush Productions – which soon dominated the R&B music scene from the late 1970’s to early 1990’s. Hits came – “Love’s Comin’ At Ya”, “Falling”, “A Little Bit More”, “Mind Up Tonight”. With A-list talent from fellow NJ legend, Dionne Warwick, to hit makers Bobby Brown and Howard Hewitt, Moore recorded what is considered the definitive version of “Lift Every Voice & Sing” – recognized by the USA’s National Registry. Ms. Moore’s latest album, “Imagine”, brought her back to the charts and she’ll soon receive her Star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in 2023.