[Dixielandjazz] Molly Ringwald In Sweet Charity

Robert S. Ringwald robert at ringwald.com
Mon Jan 1 20:43:40 PST 2007


For any of you in the Clearwater, FL area:

>From the St. Petersburg Times

Hello, Molly
Stretching her resume far from The Breakfast Club, Molly Ringwald has made a 
of her versatility.
By JOHN FLEMING, Times Performing Arts Critic
Published January 1, 2007

 In the 1980s, Molly Ringwald was queen of the suburban brat pack.
In the 1980s, Molly Ringwald was queen of the suburban brat pack. She 
starred in
Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink, a series of hit 
films for
teens by John Hughes. Ringwald even made the cover of Time magazine.

It has been a while since Ringwald was in a high-profile movie. But she has 
plenty busy in front of the camera, with credits in more than 30 movies 
since 1990,
none of them particularly notable.

Lately, she has had more success onstage, playing Sally Bowles in Cabaret on 
and the title character in Sweet Charity on tour. She has appeared in plays 
as Paul Vogel's Pulitzer Prize-winning How I Learned to Drive.

In Sweet Charity, which opens Tuesday night at Ruth Eckerd Hall, she plays 
Hope Valentine, a taxi dancer - a Depression-era "10 cents a dance" girl 
to New York in the 1960s - at the Fan-Dango Ballroom.

Ringwald compared the two classic musical theater roles she has played in a 
phone conversation and found them to be "complete opposites."

"Sally Bowles is quite cunning and knowing and she has a hand in her own 
she said. "As opposed to Charity, who is completely wide-eyed. In a way it 
was easier
for me to play Sally Bowles. I don't know if that means I'm more cunning, 
but it
was easy to play someone who was using her wiles. It's harder to play 
somebody who
is an innocent."

Sweet Charity opened in 1966 as a vehicle for director-choreographer Bob 
wife, Gwen Verdon. With a score by Cy Coleman music and Dorothy Fields 
(lyrics) and
a book by Neil Simon, it was inspired by a Fellini movie, Nights of Cabiria, 
a streetwalker in Rome.
Not surprisingly, given the Fosse-Verdon pedigree, it is one of the great 
dance shows,
with snappy numbers such as Rich Man's Frug and Big Spender. Ringwald admits 
dance is not her forte.
"That's definitely the most challenging part of it," she said. "I'm not 
really a
trained dancer. My focus has always been on singing and acting."

Sweet Charity is the first tour Ringwald has ever done. "I think it's just 
will," she said when asked about the grind of performing eight shows a week, 
of them on Friday through Sunday. "When it gets to the weekend I think, 
'Just pace
yourself.' "

Traveling with Ringwald on the road is her 3-year-old daughter, Mathilda, 
who apparently
has the makings of a trouper.
"She loves it; she doesn't have to do any of the packing," Ringwald said. 
"For her
it's just one hotel to the next. She loves airplanes. She goes to mommy's 
- that's what she calls my dressing room - and listens to me sing. Of course 
treats her like a little princess. She's having a great time."

Ringwald herself started out young as daughter of a California jazz 
musician, with
whose band she sang as a 4-year-old. In the late 1970s, she got a part in 
the West
Coast production of Annie, and soon she was in TV shows The New Mickey Mouse 
and The Facts of Life.

Her first movie, at 14, was the Paul Mazursky- directed Tempest,
playing Miranda in a Shakespearean adaptation with John Cassavetes, Gena 
and Susan Sarandon.

Ringwald, 38, has had an unusually eclectic, independent-minded career. "I 
sort of
have been all over the place. I'm a little bit of a dilettante," she said.

At one point, Ringwald left Hollywood to live in Paris for four years. Her 
movie credits include an improbable King Lear, directed by Jean-Luc Godard, 
a cast that included novelist Norman Mailer, Burgess Meredith and Peter 

What was it like to work with the New Wave legend Godard?

"It was pretty amazing," Ringwald said. "It was one of the highlights. It 
was such
an insane kind of experience."

Ringwald has been trying to develop a sequel to Sixteen Candles in which she 
play the mother. Of all her movies, she thinks The Breakfast Club would be 
best adapted
for theater since all the action takes place in a high school detention 
hall. "It's
practically a stage show as it is," she said.

It seems slightly amazing for someone to have a resume that ranges from teen 
to brainy, avant-garde projects such as The Tempest and King Lear to a 
musical comedy
like Sweet Charity. Ringwald suggests as much in musing about what might 
come after
the current tour.
"Well, after having done Charity, I think I'll be ready to do some Chekhov 
or something
very, very serious."

John Fleming can be reached at (727) 893-8716 or
fleming at sptimes.com.

Sweet Charity opens Tuesday and has eight shows through Sunday at Ruth 
Eckerd Hall.
$39-$69. (727) 791-7400 or toll-free 1-800-875-8682; www.rutheckerdhall.com.

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