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    Molly Ringwald: Actress, Author and Jazz Vocalist

    While many people may only know Molly Ringwald as an actress, or specifically as the teen star of many 1980‘s films like Pretty In Pink, The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, she’s also a published author and a jazz vocalist. In fact, she’s actually been singing longer than she’s been acting. Her father, Bob Ringwald, is a jazz pianist, and she started singing with his band when she was three years old. She released her first album, I Wanna Be Loved By You, at age six.

    Well, Molly’s second long-awaited album is finally upon us. Except…Sometimes was released by Concord Records this past April and is a compilation of songs from The Great American Songbook, what Molly describes as “national treasures.” Except…Sometimes was produced by Peter Smith and features Clayton Cameron on drums, Allen Mezquida on alto saxophone, Peter Smith on piano and Trevor Ware on bass.

    July 11th-13th Molly debuted her vocals at the brand new San Francisco concert venue, Society Cabaret. This particular series of shows was at The Starlight Room in the historic Sir Francis Drake Hotel. She graced the stage with an intimate, unpretentious elegance and a voice that is warm, inviting and oh so sweet.

    While I couldn’t help but feel she was holding back at times, she brought tears to my eyes on ballads like, “I Get Along Very Well Without You (Except Sometimes)” and “The Very Thought of You.” When she spontaneously added “Mean To Me” into her set towards the end of the night, we experienced her full range and the power behind her voice. “Mean To Me” is a song I have also sung many times and I was inspired by her interpretation.

    In addition, being a vocalist who loves the challenge of constructing a jazz tune out of a top 40 hit, I thoroughly enjoyed the jazz arrangement of “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” which she sang as her closing song of the night. (It’s also the final track on her album.) It is the theme song by Simple Minds from one of Molly’s blockbuster hits in the 80’s, The Breakfast Club. Molly included this on the album as a way to pay tribute to her mentor and colleague, director, producer and screenwriter, John Hughes, whom Molly worked with on many films during her adolescence.

    We learned that Molly has a special tie to Society Cabaret because she was childhood friends with one of the founding members, G. Scott Lacy. She revealed this relationship when she said, “We knew two things about Scott when we were kids. One was that he was gay and the other was that he loved to play the piano. I think both are still true.” The additional founders of Society Cabaret include Tim Heitman as the General Manager, Paula Heitman as the Director of Marketing, and Christopher M. Nelson as Director of Artist Relations.

    Next month, Society Cabaret will feature two-time SAG Award winner Bryan Batt in his one-man show, “Batt On A Hot Tin Roof,” August 15th – 17th. While I first fell in love with him as Darius in the 1990’s film Jeffrey, he’s most recently known for his TV role as Salvatore Romano on Mad Men.

    Shelley MacKay is a Bay Area-based jazz, pop, r&b and rock vocalist/songwriter. Learn more at www.shelleysings.com.