You likely recall her as Claire, the popular but insecure teen trapped in detention with five other misfits for a day of self-discovery in the seminal Brat Pack comedy “The Breakfast Club” from 1985 — or perhaps from her over 50 other film and TV credits.
But what you may not know is that Molly Ringwald can also sing.
“I grew up with jazz because my father is a jazz musician, and that’s the first kind of music that I performed,” Miss Ringwald told The Washington Times. “I call it my musical version of comfort food.”
Miss Ringwald and her quartet will be performing at the AMP by Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland, Friday evening. She will offer up her take on American standards as well as a jazzy rendition of “The Breakfast Club” theme song, “Don’t You (Forget About Me).”
Many celebrities who venture beyond their typical categories of artistic expression are often labeled as engaging in “vanity projects,” but Miss Ringwald says that her longtime fans will be pleasantly surprised by her level of vocal jazz virtuosity.
“I think any time somebody is known primarily for something else, it’s always a surprise that they can do more than one thing,” she said of her versatility. “I feel like for most of when I was younger, you were supposed to be very specialized and do only one thing, [but] you should do as many things as you’re able to do.
“I feel like everything I do influences the other art. I think my acting experience makes me a better singer, and I think my acting ability makes me a more interesting writer.”
The performer released the album “Except Sometimes” in 2013 and says a live recording is forthcoming.
While in the nation’s capital, Miss Ringwald said she will take in the sights before or after taking the stage at AMP by Strathmore.
“In certain places it does feel like being transported back to another time,” she said of the District.
While she hopes that her musical career will show the public another side of her performance ability, it is undeniable that Miss Ringwald will always be associated with “The Breakfast Club” and its look at teen angst as seen through the writing and direction of the late John Hughes. (Miss Ringwald starred in three films Hughes either wrote or directed.)
The lasting appeal of the film, which also starred Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson and Anthony Michael Hall, Miss Ringwald said, is that is was among the first to take the feelings and anxieties of teenagers seriously rather than as fodder for humiliation. Prior to that, she believes, films about teens were typically more crass and sex-obsessed, such as “Porky’s.”
“There haven’t been that many movies that have managed to do it in such a profound way,” the actress, who was but 17 when she made “The Breakfast Club,” said. “I think that it just keeps speaking to generation after generation with the issues pretty much the same.
“Everybody has to go through high school, and everybody has to deal with their parents, who they feel don’t understand them.”
She likens the film’s ongoing appeal to “Catcher in the Rye,” which was written by J.D. Salinger in the late 1940s but is still required high school reading today.
“For me it could have been written yesterday. It didn’t matter that it was a boy and I was a girl. I felt it hit that sweet spot, and I feel like ‘Breakfast Club’ kind of does the same thing.”
Molly Ringwald will perform at the AMP by Strathmore, located at 11810 Grand Park Ave, North Bethesda, Maryland, 11810 Grand 20852, Friday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 to $45 by visiting AMPbyStrathmore.com.
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