TR Robertson…Every one of the 135 seats was filled on the Moonlight Amphitheatre stage on Saturday evening as the first show for this seasons Club M concerts kicked off with the jazz sounds of Molly Ringwald and her band. Molly Ringwald and her band have performed over 200 concerts in seven countries along with a debut jazz album, “Except Sometimes”, released in 2013. The Club M experience involves a three course dinner, referred to as the Moonlight Cabaret Menu, served on stage, paired with a selection of wines or beers that can be purchased. Steven Glaudini, Moonlight Producing Artistic Director, said the Club M experience has been a wonderful and popular success and allows the Moonlight Amphitheatre another chance to use the facility to showcase talent from around the country.
As I visited many of the patrons in attendance, prior to the concert, I kept receiving the same comments. Most of those in attendance love the Moonlight venue, love the idea of being able to enjoy the entertainment in a cabaret setting, love the menus offered, love the atmosphere and the entertainment offered. Tom and Betty Doerfler said they like to support the Moonlight Cultural Foundation and the Amphitheatre; Debbie Kramer said – “anything Moonlight does is top notch”; Diane and Steve Schofield have attended every Club M performance and feel the Club M concept is a wonderful idea; Al and Linda Wilson love Club M and feel if Steven is involved in designing the program they will attend; Bob Goldstein and Dottie Pechek referred to the great atmosphere the cabaret creates; Jack and Diane Beyer said they like the intimate setting. Many more I spoke with love the menu offered and felt, like John and Sharon McGough, it gives Vista another wonderful place to attend and eat. The menu for Saturday was Spinach salad, followed by a shake n’ bake pork chop with apple chutney and vegetables with peanut butter and jelly sofrito for dessert.
What was generally surprising though was I asked these couples, and many more, if they knew Molly Ringwald was a jazz singer when they initially saw she was on the program for Club M and the majority of them said they had no idea she was a jazz singer. Most said they knew her from the 1980’s when she starred in the popular John Hughes movies, “Sixteen Candles” (1984), “The Breakfast Club” (1985), and “Pretty in Pink” (1986). A few knew she was in the Steven King television made for T.V. movie, “The Stand”. She also had recurring roles in the popular “Different Strokes” and “The Facts of Life” sit-coms. In all Molly Ringwald was in 34 movies and on 24 different television shows during her career and will soon return to television as Archie’s mother in “Riverdale”, Archie from the Archie comic books except this time she series will be more of a mystery drama.
Few of those in attendance knew that her father was a jazz pianist for a jazz band and Molly was always around the band and jazz music. In another interview she said jazz music was 1 of her 3 passions, along with acting and writing. She has written several books and wrote an advice column for “The Guardian”. She has also performed in Broadway productions. An amazing band accompanied Ms. Ringwald made up of pianist and musical director and arranger Peter Smith, bassist Trevor Ware and on drums Clayton Cameron. Mr. Cameron played for Sammy Davis Jr. for seven years and with Tony Bennett’s band for fifteen years. The concert featured a range of musical styles and interpretations ranging from songs from musicals, other countries, historical numbers and one written by a friend; all with arrangements from Peter Smith. Ms. Ringwald introduced each song, occasionally telling a story or situation surrounding the number she would sing. She started the concert with a song from the musical “Oliver”, “Where is Love”. This was followed by an Irving Berlin song “Call me Madam”. One of most entertaining songs of the evening was a number from World War I, a French song called “I Will Wait”, which she sung in French. She sang an especially moving song, Ms. Ringwald said was written by a friend and will be on a future album, “Hummingbird and Harbor Lights”. Two Billie Holiday songs followed, “My Old Flame” originally sung by Billie Holiday and “Don’t Explain” written by Billie Holiday. Ms. Ringwald next sang a song from the Great Depression, an emotional “Brother Can You Spare a Dime” followed by a soulful song by Ray Noble, “The Very Thought of You”. From the musical “Guys and Dolls”, “If I were a Bell” was next, which was an unusual fit for the jazz concert. “An Evening with Molly Ringwald” ended with a number from the movie “The Breakfast Club” which she was in, “Don’t You Forget About Me”. Most of these songs were from her first jazz album called “Except Sometimes”, which she promoted throughout the concert with a funny quip that every time she showed the album everyone was to take a drink. I counted about 5 or 6 references during the concert.
. Next up for Club M will be deaf American jazz singer Mandy Harvey, who was selected as the 2011 VSA Top Young Soloist, the International Organization on Arts and Disability. She currently has 3 albums available. For more information go to www.moonlightstage.com