November 21, 2013

From ‘Breakfast Club’ to Jazz Club: Catching up with Molly Ringwald

She performs two shows with her jazz quartet Saturday in Bangor

By Aimsel Ponti
News Assistant

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Molly Ringwald has starred in movies and on TV, written two books and this year released a jazz album, “Except Sometimes.”

Courtesy photo

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WHEN: 4 and 7:30 p.m. shows on Saturday

WHERE: The Gracie Theatre at Husson University, Bangor

HOW MUCH: $25, $32;

“The sound that we had together was, I thought, really special, and so that’s where the idea to do the album came from,” she said.

It was around this time that Ringwald became pregnant with her twins. Then she got really busy writing books. The album sat. Meanwhile, all the musicians on it kept nudging her to do something with it. “I finally got serious about it and then Concord (Records) heard it and loved it and wanted to release it,” she said.

Timing, as it turns out, is everything. “I wouldn’t say I’m overly spiritual,” she said, “but I do have this feeling that things happen when they’re supposed to happen. I just kind of let things go and then all of a sudden it just sort of presents itself and that’s the moment. There’s a reason for this and I don’t know exactly what it is, but it just feels right.”

As for the CD itself, Ringwald intentionally veered off the well-worn path with songs like “Pick Yourself Up” from the 1936 film “Swing Time,” and “I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes),” a 1939 Hoagy Carmichael tune. “Mostly they are just songs that I had loved a lot and I also tried to pick ones that were maybe a little bit more obscure,” she said. “I tried to pick ones – obviously they are standards but they’re maybe not heard quite as often as ‘My Funny Valentine’ or ‘Embraceable You,’ – songs that you expect to hear on somebody’s album of the great American songbook.”

To that end, Ringwald also included “Sooner or Later,” originally recorded by Madonna for the 1990 film “Dick Tracy.” The song was written by Stephen Sondheim and fits in quite well with the rest of the selections on the “Sometimes” CD, which include “Where is Love” from the musical “Oliver!,” “I’ll Take Romance” and “I Believe in You.”

The final song on Ringwald’s album is a tribute to an old friend, the late writer and director John Hughes, who passed away in 2009 at the age of 59. This time around, Ringwald not only acknowledges her 1980s roots, she wraps her arms around them. At first you might not recognize the Simple Minds song “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” until you find yourself singing along and the lightbulb goes off in your head. With warm mezzo soprano vocals, saxophone, brushed percussion, subtle bass notes and breezy piano, the song is turned on its head but still packs the emotional punch that it had when it was featured so prominently in “The Breakfast Club.”

Ringwald’s writing career has produced two published books so far. The first was in 2011 with “Getting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family and Finding the Perfect Lipstick.” The second one was last year’s “When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories.” It’s a compelling book that doesn’t flinch when taking on infidelity, family dynamics, infertility and other wrenching matters.

Ringwald knows all too well that pursuing more than one interest doesn’t always sit well with fans who have put her into a specific box. The good news is, she senses a shift in this old way of thinking. When she was growing up in the ’80s as an actress, Ringwald says she had to choose one thing or she wouldn’t have been taken seriously.

“There was this fear of being a dilettante, and that’s just kind of gone away,” she said.

“At a certain point you think, this is ridiculous, I only have one life and I’m good at these other things,” Ringwald said. “Chances are you’re always kind of thought of as one thing, and certainly being an actor usually eclipses everything else because it just reaches so many people, but I do think the rules and chains are loosening up a little bit.”

Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at:

This story was updated at 10:45 on Nov. 21 to include Molly Ringwald's age.

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