An ’80s icon takes the stage for An Evening with Molly Ringwald, a crowd-pleasing evening of music that melds traditional jazz with the sounds of the Great American Songbook.
Long before she became known as a Golden Globe-nominated actress, Molly Ringwald was singing. She started performing with her pianist father’s jazz band when she was 3, and she’s never stopped.
“I had quite the musical repertoire,” she recalls with a laugh. “It was pretty much traditional jazz but there was some Bessie Smith and Helen Kane, the original Betty Boop.” Talk with Ringwald for even a short amount of time and it’s clear her grasp of jazz and its history comes from a lifelong study of the form and the great singers who inspired her, including Smith, Ella Fitzgerald, Blossom Dearie and Susannah McCorkle.
However, the time wasn’t right for Ringwald’s singing career until recently. First, she found herself starting an acting career. After a brief stint on The Facts of Life, her first television role, Molly was cast at the age of 13 in Paul Mazursky’s film The Tempest. For the next few decades, she focused on acting, starring in films such as Fresh Horses, Betsy’s Wedding, King Lear, The Pick-Up Artist, and, of course, her trio of films with John Hughes: Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty In Pink.
“Once I started to act I felt like I had to make that decision,” she says. “I didn’t think there was a place then for the music that I was interested in. There was no Madeline Peyroux, Diana Krall, Norah Jones…I didn’t feel like anybody was going to listen to the kind of music that I wanted to sing.” So she kept on acting, until the musical climate changed in favor of the her kind of music.
Ringwald released her debut album Except Sometimes two years ago, and hasn’t looked back. The album contains American standards like “The Very Thought of You,” “I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes),” “I’ll Take Romance,” “Sooner or Later,” and “Where Is Love.” “It was really hard to narrow it down,” she says of selecting the album’s 10 tracks. “It was basically songs that I felt connected to.”
One track in particular earns a double-take. That’s Ringwald’s transformation of the Simple Minds’ No. 1 hit, “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” from the soundtrack to The Breakfast Club. She makes it sound as if it had just been plucked from the Great American Songbook. Hear it for yourself at the Eisemann Center this month.
AN EVENING WITH MOLLY RINGWALD
When: Saturday, November 14, 8 p.m.
Where: Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Dr., Richardson, Texas 75082
Tickets: $33–$52, available online, by phone at 972.744.4650, or at the Eisemann box office