INTERVIEW: Molly Ringwald (Pizza Express Jazz Club, Weds 19th and Thurs 20th Aug)

Molly Ringwald. Photo credit: Angela George/ Creative Commons

Californian-born Molly Ringwald is known above all for the films she made in her late teens and early twenties with John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty In Pink). These films, however, are only a small part of her story. She has also starred in Broadway and West End shows, written a best-selling novel (When It Happens to You, Simon and Schuster 2012), and in 2013 she released a jazz album Except Sometimes on Concord. Ahead of Ringwald’s two shows at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho this week (Wednesday 19th August and Thursday 20th August), Joe Paice asked her some questions:

Joe Paice: Your father, Bob Ringwald, is a Traditional Jazz pianist – was music a big part of your life growing up?

Molly Ringwald: Music was essential to me as a child. It was all around me from the time I was a baby -- according to my mother, I sang before I spoke! And jazz, in many ways, was the language that I shared with my father Bob Ringwald. It connected us. And still does.

On ‘Except Sometimes’, though the album draws heavily on jazz standards, there are some very interesting selections like The Ballad of Sad Young Men, Sooner or Later and Don’t You (Forget About Me).

Can you tell us something about how these songs ended up on the album?

When I recorded the album, I basically decided to put on as many of my favourite songs as possible. And then we narrowed it down further based on the songs that really gelled as a group. "Don't You" was recorded as a tribute to John Hughes who passed away while we were arranging the songs.

The Pheasantry was your music debut in London, but you were here in 2004 in ‘When Harry Met Sally’ at the Theatre Royal Haymarket – how does London compare to California?

I love London. One of my happiest times was that summer I spent at the Royal Haymarket. London has a history and cultural richness that California, despite its charms, just can't match. It's like having a conversation with an adult versus a child. As endearing and energetic and precocious as the child may be, there's something to be said for maturity and refinement.

Tell us about your pianist, Peter Smith?

Peter is an amazing musician -- and a great friend. I first met him in New York, in a play we did together, and right as I was leaving -- literally at my goodbye party -- I heard him play piano, and was stunned at how talented he was. We met up again, a couple years later, when we were both living in LA and casually started performing together. Then came the album, which he arranged, and the touring, in which he's my musical director He's like my jazz swiss army knife. He can do anything musical and do it beautifully.

You published a novel in 2012, your album came out a year later, and then in 2014 you became an advice columnist for the Guardian! What can we expect in 2015 and 2016?

I have two movies coming out this fall, most imminently JEM and the HOLOGRAMS, which releases in October. And I'm in the middle of shooting a new TV show, slated for early 2016. Then there's the writing, which is still taking shape, and potentially a second album... I don't like too plan too far ahead though -- spontaneity and discovery are important to me.

Joe Paice is on the music staff at Pizza Express Jazz Club

Pizza Express Bookings : Wednesday / Thursday

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