After a 20-year absence from the cabaret scene, powerhouse performer Jenifer Lewis has returned to the stage with a captivating and brazen new show, Black Don’t Crack at 54 Below. To judge from her no-holds-barred performance on July 25, not only does Lewis not crack, but she gets better with age. The diva transports her audience back to a time the under-30 crowd has only heard about: when an underground cabaret show could become a can’t-miss event, with crowds willing to tear the place down for one more song. Accompanied by longtime pal Marc Shaiman at the piano, Lewis packs her hour-and-fifteen-minute show with gut-busting tales from her long career (including her early days as a back-up singer for Bette Midler) and jaw-dropping original tunes including “Sang Bitch,” “The 11 O’Clock Number” and “Black Don’t Crack.” Who needs to perform standards when originals can be this entertaining? Holding nothing back, Lewis seamlessly transitions from hysterical numbers about menopause and living with bi-polar disorder to the touching songs “Grandma Small” and “I Got Lost in His Arms.” Lewis talks about the old tradition of throwing napkins at a performer when he or she has exceeded expectations and given the audience everything they possibly could. When she took her final bow, nearly every napkin at 54 Below (where she will perform through July 28) was littered about the tiny stage. Bravo!