Molly Ringwald's Cabaret Debut: Concert Review

Molly Ringwald cabaret live P
Paul Familetti
The star of such teenage film classics as "Sixteen Candles" and "Pretty in Pink" sings popular standards in her impressive NYC cabaret debut.

The former teen idol's debut album, a collection of standards entitled "Except…Sometimes," drops in April.

Molly Ringwald is juggling a lot of hats these days. Unlike many former teen stars, she’s moved gracefully into adult roles, currently starring in the ABC Family series The Secret Life of the American Teenager. She’s a published author of fiction, having just released a novel, When It Happens to You. Her debut album, a collection of standards entitled Except…Sometimes, drops in April. And Tuesday night she made her New York City cabaret debut at the popular new club 54 Below.

Performing with an expert jazz trio led by pianist/musical director Peter Smith, Ringwald, looking elegantly gorgeous, displayed enough vocal chops to demonstrate that she’s no dilettante. She actually made her recording debut at age 6, on an album by her jazz pianist father Bob Ringwald, and her musical theater experience includes starring roles in a national tour of Sweet Charity and the Broadway revival of Cabaret.

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Singing in a sweet soprano voice, she delivered such classics as “I Get Along Without You Very Well,” “Exactly Like You” and “I’ll Take Romance” with deep reservoirs of feeling. Her voice was a bit wobbly at times, especially on such numbers as “Where is Love,” from Oliver, which was delivered in a slow tempo that did her no favors. But she managed to swing on a jazzy version of “On the Street Where You Live,” and she sang “Sooner or Later,” from the film Dick Tracy, with a sultriness that well compared to Madonna’s original.

She also displayed her Francophile leanings with a soulful rendition of the French song “J’Attendrai” (“I Will Wait”), after which she pointed out, "I feel like I should have a martini in my hand while singing this song." The wish was quickly accommodated by the club’s management.

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Although she kept her stage banter to a minimum, her comments were both moving and personal, sometimes amusingly so. Referencing the fact that she had played Sally Bowles in Cabaret at Studio 54, located right above the club, she admitted, “My daughter may or may not have been conceived in my dressing room.”

In a clever nod to the many fans of her teen film classics, she ended the evening with Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” from The Breakfast Club soundtrack, effectively rearranged as a jazz ballad. “It’s not in the American Songbook yet,” she said, before adding “But I’m thinking that it someday might be.”

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