The Geneseo community flocked to Wadsworth Auditorium on Saturday Sept. 19 to attend “An Evening with Molly Ringwald.” Hosted by Limelight and Accents, Ringwald was accompanied by her band: drummer Clayton Cameron, bassist Trevor Ware and pianist Peter Smith. Ringwald is acclaimed for her leading roles in 1980s cult films Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club—both directed by John Hughes—and Pretty in Pink, which was written by Hughes. Nevertheless, Ringwald wasn’t there to speak on behalf of her acting career—she was there to sing.
She did not let the crowd forget her intentions for touring, as she is currently promoting her debut jazz album Except Sometimes. Except Sometimes is a cover album with most of the songs taken from the “Great American Songbook”—a canon of 20th century popular songs from the 1920s to the 1960s.
Ringwald took the stage in a shimmery gold dress and slick black heels, enchanting the crowd by beginning the night with the song “My Man.”
Though it was clear that Ringwald was stiff in the beginning, she found her groove and loosened up as the show progressed. During her performance of Johnny Mercer’s “I Thought About You,” she did a dashing side swoosh. She cited a personal connection to the song as a tribute to her children.
Her vocal performance was adequate. One of the highlights of the night, however, was the Great Depression-era classic “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” in which she showcased her strong belts and vibrato.
Ringwald requested the lights to be dimmed as she sat down to sing Billie Holiday’s “Don’t Explain,” a dark song about betrayal. Ringwald noted that even though Holiday didn’t write many songs, the few that she did write were powerful and still very relevant today.
Picking up the pace after the somber “Don’t Explain,” Ringwald took her heels off to perform Fats Waller’s “Mean to Me.” She then went right into a short performance of “J’Attendrai”—a 1930s French song whose title translates to “I Will Wait.”
Toward the end of the show, Ringwald deviated from jazz and sang contemporary songs that aren’t found in the “Great American Songbook.” She entertained the crowd with her performance of Rufus Wainwright’s “Vibrate,” with the lyrics, “I try to dance Britney Spears/My phone’s on vibrate for you/God knows what all these new drugs do.”
While Ringwald was the beacon of the show, her band shined through as well; each member had a solo in the show. There was an impressive bass solo in “I’ll Take Romance,” a booming drum solo in “On The Street Where You Live” and various piano solos throughout the night.
The final song of the show was one of the most anticipated. Reverting back to The Breakfast Club days, Ringwald performed the Simple Minds classic “Don’t You (Forget About Me).”
It was an enjoyable sight to see the show incorporate musical diversity, unexpectedly veering to genres other than jazz. While the demographic of the audience was predominantly middle-aged and elderly, there were various teenagers and young adults present.
Ringwald and her band stimulated the crowd, drawing whistles, cheers and even a standing ovation at the conclusion of the show. Ringwald blew a goodbye kiss to the crowd and thanked the audience for attending. Ringwald even joked that she didn’t expect anyone to come, but that was certainly not the case given her stature as an actress—and now a musician.