When a fresh-faced Molly Ringwald first appeared on the scene in the 1980s, she had no idea the cultural impact her films would make and how quickly she’d become a household name for decades to come.
Now, at age 47, Ringwald is still very much actively acting in film and television — and even on the stage — but she has also added a few cars to her career train. She writes a column for the Guardian, she penned her first book in 2010, and two years ago she launched her jazz career. That’s right — Samantha Baker can sing.
Singing has always been on Ringwald’s mind. “I guess you could say that it sort of was something that I intended to do as a side project,” she says. But until recently, she didn’t have the time to fully pursue it. “I was kind of busy,” she laughs. “I mean, I was doing a lot of movies, and then I was doing theater, and then I was focused on having kids, and I was doing a television show... so I figured that when the opportunity presented itself, it would be right and organic.” And so it was.
The year of her jazz career takeoff was 2013, when she released Except Sometimes, a ten-track album compiled from the Great American Songbook. The triple-threat might be inclined to writing nonfiction, but she’s shying away from writing lyrics for now and instead prefers selecting classics that speak to her.
“All the songs in the album, I would say, are songs that I just really loved over the years and in my mind I thought if I ever did an album, I would put those songs on them.”
One of the songs on her debut album is a cover of a popular '80s song that is forever associated with one of Ringwald’s most memorable acting roles as a teen: “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds. Yep, it’s that song from The Breakfast Club.
Choosing to include the Simple Minds song came mostly out of the circumstances of the time she was recording. It was the year Ringwald’s old friend and Breakfast Club director John Hughes passed away. “We started playing the song during rehearsals to see if we could do it as a jazz ballad, and then I thought it would be a nice tribute to him.”
Despite concentrating on her music career now, Ringwald says she will always juggle the things most important to her: acting, writing, singing, and motherhood. She explains that while she’s busy doing one thing, she’s not able to give proper attention to her other talents. “Sometimes it’s really hard to balance. I feel like there’s always something that doesn’t quite get done, and sometimes I wish I did just one thing, but I’m not that kind of person.
“I keep expecting one to kind of dominate. I feel like probably the acting dominates the most because that’s my career. I’ve been known as an actress for so long, and I have no intention to stop acting.”
Up next for Ringwald: She'll be back on the silver screen in the live-action adaptation of Jem and the Holograms. (We know — we can’t wait for it either.) And come Sunday, she'll perform an intimate session with just her collaborator, Peter Smith, at the Cabaret South Beach. “I like the sort of intimate venues, the ones where I can actually see the people in the audience,” she says with an audible smile.
Audiences can expect to hear a combination of songs from her 2013 album and new tracks that have been added specially for the tour.
An Evening With Molly Ringwald will take place at the Cabaret South Beach (233 12th St., Miami Beach) this Sunday beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $60 for general-admission seating and $75 for preferred seating. Call 305-763-8799 or visit thecabaretsouthbeach.com.
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