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Don’t you forget about her: Molly Ringwald plays the Smith Center

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Pretty in black: Molly Ringwald knows jazz, and she can sing it, too.
Hussein Katz

It’s not original to crush on ’80s-era Molly Ringwald, but she certainly was. She’s the only actress I’ve ever seen who looked beautiful when she was scowling. Her realness made me believe that unrequited love could be requited, that odds could be beaten.

So when I listened to Except Sometimes, Ringwald’s debut album of classics from the Great American Songbook, I wasn’t surprised to be pleasantly surprised. Usually when movie stars decide to be singers it bugs the hell out of me, and usually they’re not good. Ringwald, though, started singing to animals as a kid (so say the liner notes), and her voice has an unvarnished honey-sweetness. From breathy torch song “Sooner or Later” to punchy swinger “I Believe in You,” the 10-track selection hits all the right notes in the canon.

Calendar

Molly Ringwald & Her Trio
May 10-11, 7 p.m., $35-$45
The Smith Center's Cabaret Jazz, 749-2012

Ringwald doesn’t, struggling with half-steps and softballing a few heavy lines. But it fits. She’s not the diva. She’s the chorus girl singing alone in a dark studio, lovely and unaffected. The live show at the Smith Center can only benefit from her charisma, especially during the jazz cover of everyone’s favorite song from The Breakfast Club. “Don’t you forget about me,” she sings, and we can’t.

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