Thursday, October 09, 2014

Don't You Forget About Molly Ringwald at the Cafe Carlyle

When I got invited to review Molly Ringwald's just-opened two-week residency at the Cafe Carlyle, my first reaction was: What time do I have to be there? So with that fan-boy mentality in mind, there are two ways to evaluate this show. One: If you're a fan -- and what Generation X gay man isn't? -- go. And go now. Molly is as bubbly and delightful as you remember her -- ageless, really -- and sings so much like a Broadway-bound Karen Carpenter it's almost frightening. The show's a hoot -- she opened with "Sooner or Later" from "Dick Tracy"! -- and her awkward attempts at connecting with the audience are priceless. (Tickets on sale now HERE.)

On a slightly less fawning note, I will say this. Molly describes the songs she sings -- there was also an album called "Except Somtimes" -- as being from the Great American Songbook, yet also interchangeably refers to her musical career as a foray into jazz, something her musician father introduced her to. (I always thought they were two different things, but I guess because so many Great American tunes were interpreted by jazz artists there's some overlap?) The songs she did that I actually know to be from said songbook are fantastic -- we're talking Sondheim, Hoagy Carmichael, Rodgers and Hart -- and suited her "Cabaret"-tested vocals perfectly, kind of like when Linda Ronstadt sang standards in the '80s. The songs that were either jazz standards or had jazzier arrangements were a little less effective -- anything that hints of scat singing is just not in my wheelhouse, plus lady doesn't really sing the blues to be doing no Billie Holiday, okaaaaay? -- but because she seemed to enjoy performing them so much, it was kind of a wash. That she ends with one positively non-Great American Songbook number -- a reworked version of "Don't You Forget About Me" from "The Breakfast Club" -- is worth the price of admission alone!

Susanna Hoffs and Molly Ringwald pics in one week? If I run into Kristy McNichol by Sunday, I will have my boyhood-crush trifeca completed!

Afterward I made a beeline for the notoriously Pretty in Pink one, who was gracious enough to pose for a picture while being about as cold as Claire Stand(off)ish was in Saturday-morning detention. And truth be told, would you really want Molly Ringwald to be any other way?

An Evening with Molly Ringwald continues through Oct. 18. Performances will take place Tuesday - Friday at 8:45 p.m.; and Saturday at 8:45 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. Reservations made by phone at 212.744.1600 are $70 ($120 for premium seating, $50 for bar seating) Tuesday – Thursday and the Saturday late show; and $80 ($130 for premium seating, $65 for bar seating) on Friday and Saturday. Reservations made online HERE are $65 ($115 for premium seating) Tuesday – Thursday and the Saturday late show; and $75 ($125 for premium seating) on Friday and Saturday. Café Carlyle is located in The Carlyle hotel (35 East 76th Street, at Madison Avenue). Molly Ringwald is joined by her musical director and pianist Peter Smith (all dates except October 9 where he will be substituted by Laurence Hobgood), Tony Jefferson on drums and Trevor Ware on bass.

Set list:
Sooner or Later (Stephen Sondheim)
Exactly Like You (Jimmy McHugh/Dorothy Fields)
I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes) (Hoagy Carmichael)
I'll Take Romance (Oscar Hammerstein/Ben Oakland)
I Thought About You (Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Mercer)
Don't Explain (Billie Holiday/Arthur Herzog Jr.)
Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? (E.Y. "Yip" Harburg/Jay Gorney)
The Very Thought of You (Ray Noble)
If I Were a Bell (Frank Loesser)
It Never Entered My Mind (Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart)
Mean to Me (Fred E. Ahlert/Roy Turk)
I Feel Pretty (Sondheim/Leonard Bernstein)
Don't You (Forget About Me) ( Keith Forsey/Steve Schiff)


Don said...

Kristy? Don't you mean Jimmy?

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

No -- Kristy was more butch! xo