Shows: Ac­tress Molly Ring­wald and all that jazz .....

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - CONTENTS -

MOLLY Ring­wald has moved from The Break­fast Club to the jazz club. The ac­tress, who de­scribes her­self as ‘‘your for­mer teenage crush’’ in her Twit­ter bio, lives in her gen­er­a­tion’s mem­o­ries for por­tray­ing the angst of high school life as an ev­ery­day girl, teen princess and out­sider in iconic 1980s films Six­teen Can­dles, The Break­fast Club and Pretty In Pink with writer-di­rec­tor John Hughes.

Now the 45-year-old has taken on a new role as a jazz singer with the re­lease of her al­bum Ex­cept Some­times, a col­lec­tion of Great Amer­i­can Song­book and Broad­way tunes, and an Aus­tralian tour.

Ring­wald sings about ro­mance from a ma­ture, adult per­spec­tive, in­ter­pret­ing such tunes as I Get Along With­out You Very Well and The Very Thought of You. She also pays trib­ute to the late Hughes by re­claim­ing Don’t You (For­get About Me), the Sim­ple Minds’ theme to The Break­fast Club, turn­ing it into a jazz bal­lad.

She be­lieves her act­ing ex­pe­ri­ence has helped en­hance her jazz singing.

‘‘As an ac­tor you pay at­ten­tion to the words and you get into char­ac­ter. I tend to do this with mu­sic as well. I re­ally get into the lyric,’’ she says.

She will per­form limited en­gage­ments at jazz clubs across the coun­try, al­low­ing enough breaks to spend time at home with her three chil­dren and hus­band, writered­i­tor Panio Gianopou­los.

Ring­wald’s jazz roots run deep. Her fa­ther, blind pi­anist Bob Ring­wald, plays tra­di­tional Dix­ieland jazz. She has an en­cy­clo­pe­dic knowl­edge of fe­male jazz singers – reel­ing off the names of those who most in­flu­enced her: Bessie Smith, Ella Fitzger­ald, Anita O’Day, Blos­som Dearie and Su­san­nah McCorkle.

She con­sid­ers jazz her ‘‘mu­si­cal equiv­a­lent of com­fort food’’. Her par­ents en­cour­aged her to pur­sue in­ter­ests other than act­ing – singing, writ­ing, read­ing and trav­el­ling – which kept her en­gaged in a world out­side Hol­ly­wood and its club scene, avoid­ing the pit­falls that en­snared some of her teen co-stars.

‘‘I hear jazz and it just feels good be­cause it re­minds me of my child­hood,’’ Ring­wald says on the phone from Los An­ge­les.

‘‘I started singing with my dad when I was three years old and re­ally de­vel­oped a close re­la­tion­ship with him through mu­sic that en­dures to this day.’’

Ring­wald would sit in with her fa­ther’s Sacra­mento-based Ful­ton Street Jazz Band singing Fats Waller and Bessie Smith songs.

She recorded her first jazz al­bum, I Wanna Be Loved By You, Molly Sings with her fa­ther’s band at age six and orig­i­nally wanted to be a singer, mak­ing her pro­fes­sional de­but at age 10 in a West Coast pro­duc­tion of An­nie.

But af­ter land­ing her first TV and film roles, she de­cided to fo­cus on act­ing – a choice she says she wouldn’t have to make as a teen ac­tor to­day given the pop­u­lar­ity of Glee and High School Mu­si­cal.

‘‘When I started act­ing, it didn’t seem that there were any ac­tors that were also singing. I re­ally felt to be taken se­ri­ously as an ac­tress, I would have to just give up the idea of hav­ing a mu­si­cal ca­reer.’’

But she never stopped singing, mostly per­form­ing with her fa­ther’s band. She briefly sang the stan­dard Em­brace­able You in the teen preg­nancy film For Keeps.

Af­ter spend­ing much of the 1990s in Paris, Ring­wald re­lo­cated to New York to do theatre, in­clud­ing the lead roles in re­vivals of the mu­si­cals Cabaret and Sweet Char­ity. In 2005, while star­ring in the of­fBroad­way com­edy Mod­ern Or­tho­dox, she was in­spired to sing jazz when she met her ‘‘per­fect col­lab­o­ra­tor’’ at a cast party.

Peter Smith, an un­der­study, had just be­gun play­ing jazz tunes on the pi­ano when Ring­wald started singing along with him.

‘‘I grew up like ev­ery­one else watch­ing her in movies and just thought that the only kind of mu­sic she’s go­ing to know is like The Smiths and The Cure, all that ’80s mu­sic,’’ Smith says. ‘‘But she re­ally knew how to sing jazz.’’ Smith was im­pressed by the qual­ity and tone of her voice and most of all by her ‘‘taste­ful artis­tic choices as a singer’’. He in­vited her to sit in at his jazz club gigs be­fore he left for Los An­ge­les.

Ring­wald re­united with Smith when she moved to Los An­ge­les in 2008 to join the cast of TV show The Se­cret Life of the Amer­i­can Teenager, play­ing the mother of a preg­nant teenager. She even­tu­ally felt con­fi­dent enough to record an al­bum in 2010 with Smith writ­ing the ar­range­ments.

Ring­wald felt the time was right be­cause the mu­sic that she al­ways en­joyed singing had be­come more pop­u­lar thanks to Diana Krall, Jane Mon­heit and No­rah Jones.

The al­bum’s re­lease was de­layed be­cause Ring­wald had her hands full rais­ing her twins (now 3 1/2 years old) and pur­su­ing a lit­er­ary ca­reer. In 2010, she pub­lished Get­ting the Pretty Back, which of­fered per­sonal anec­dotes and ad­vice, and her first novel When It Hap­pens To You last year.

Ring­wald is al­ready look­ing ahead to record­ing an­other jazz al­bum and is de­vel­op­ing her own TV show.

‘‘I feel that I have grown as a per­son and as an artist and am able to take on more things at once,’’ she says.

The Gold Coast Jazz and Blues Club presents Molly Ring­wald at The Arts Cen­tre Gold Coast on June 22. Tick­ets are $99.50 din­ner and show.

Ac­tress, dancer and singer Molly Ring­wald re­dis­cov­ers her jazz roots, writes Charles J Gans

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.