On Saturday night, I went to Black Spectrum to see Melba Moore in concert. It was a very significant evening for me since Black Spectrum Theatre is where I began my acting career. That's right. Right here in St. Albans, Queens on Linden Blvd. I originally went there to take an acting class but immediately started to get cast in productions. One of these shows became a big hit and ran Off Broadway for about nine months. The play was called Deadwood Dick, Legend of the West. It was a delightful musical about actual Black cowboys. Now, about 32 years later, I was so grateful to be able to give something back. Carl Clay, artistic director and founder of the theatre has written a book about its history and I got my autographed copy on Saturday. A little birdie told me that he said some really nice things about me in it.
Melba Moore put on quite a show the other night. It was more than a concert, it was a one woman show with story, music, characters and more. It was so nice to finally get a chance to tell her she is one of the reasons I became a professional actress. After my parents took me to see Purlie on Broadway back in the day, I came home, bought the album and learned every song verbatim so that I could sing along at the top of my lungs over and over and over again. I was Lutiebelle Etta Mae Jenkins until my parents (and the neighbors) just couldn't take it anymore. I later did a scene from Purlie in the only college acting class I ever took and I sang I Got Love in a Valentine's Day cabaret this year. I've been doing that song for auditions for years now. Melba Moore is an amazing talent. It was an honor to see her up close and personal in my theatrical home.