Melba Moore
Melba Moore
At many moments during Melba Moore's invigorating new cabaret act at the Cafe Carlyle, Forever Moore, it's simply hard to believe that more than four decades have passed since she made her Broadway debut. But whether this show is your first experience with Moore or a visit with old friend, you'll be impressed not only with her youthful demeanor and apperance, but her musical versatily as well.

She serves notice immediately with a complex, jazz-tinged take on Iriving Berlin's "Blue Skies," before tearing into a trio of standards. She takes the second line of Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing" literally by swinging the song hard; follows that tune up with an all-stops out rendition of "Stormy Weather," and ups the ante once more with a reworking of Cole Porter's "I Concentrate on You" sung primarily in her soprano voice. To top this all off, she performs a dazzling all-scat tribute to Ella Fitzgerald.

Moore pays homage to her theater career next, with a savvy medley of songs from Hair (including a heartfelt version of "Easy to Be Hard") and her two hits from Purlie (which earned the Tony Award): the title song and the ever-infectious "I Got Love." If this grouping makes clear that her voice has coarsened a bit in the intervening 40 years, her commitment to material remains completely firm.

The rather staid room proves to be a less-than-ideal setting for two of her dance hits, "This Is It" and "You Stepped Into My Life," but she easily wins back the crowd with a medley of 1960s Motown hits, and has them on her feet with her final number, Van McCoy's gospel-tinged "Lean on Me."

Moore jokes that the show's tile comes from the fact that she plans to keep performing "forever." That sounds like a very good idea!