Obvious jokes about a certain Simple Minds song aside, who could forget about Molly Ringwald? She’s the redheaded queen of teen flicks who headlined features like Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles in the 1980s, but these days she’s settled into a different artistic milieu: music. That’s right, the actress has traded in her angst for a set of jazz standards, and she’s actually quite the chanteuse.
After a childhood spent learning traditional jazz singing alongside her father, a desire to “be Bessie Smith” set in for Ringwald, and the path from music to musical theater to screen acting was paved hence.
Ringwald’s voice is crisp as blue smoke as she pushes out sultry versions of classics like “The Very Thought of You” and “Pick Yourself Up”. Her forthcoming album Except…Sometimes features nine standards from the Great American Songbook, and it is rounded out by the aforementioned “Don’t You (Forget About Me).” Whether this ending is designed as an ironic reminiscence or as a blatant cry for help in the face of feared insignificance remains to be seen. But Ringwald’s got pipes, so here’s to hoping it’s the former.
Her live performances thus far have garnered some mixed reviews, but wake up, people: This is Samantha Baker, not Shirley Temple. At 45-years-young, Ringwald has years to sculpt her craft, and it’s unsurprising that she’s been shaky. Most people are balking at the very idea of Claire Standish with a mic in her hand, let alone giving her voice a chance. I say give her time to warm up, and stop imagining this as a Joaquin-Phoenix-rap-career situation — because unlike that mess, this is real.
While Ringwald’s career as a singer is still fledgling, it seems there’s very little holding this chick back. And hey, even if people hate the album, she’s still got a part on ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager waiting for her.
Molly Ringwald sings at 7:30 pm Friday, April 12, at The Shedd; $17-$44.