Molly Ringwald: Finding Intimacy with the Long Beach Symphony


This Saturday, the Long Beach Symphony is presenting an exciting POPS! concert, Broadway Blockbusters with Special Guest Star, Molly Ringwald. Many know Ringwald as the iconic ’80s teen sweetheart from John Hughes’ films Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink.

Music, however, was her first love: She recorded an album at the tender age of six. Yet, it wasn’t until 2013 that she released another, Except Sometimes, on the legendary Concord Records label. For Ringwald, returning to music had always been her plan.

“It just took a lot longer than I actually anticipated,” Ringwald said. “I met Peter Smith, who is my arranger and pianist. When I met him, it all just came together. I intended for it to be a side project, but it has just kind of taken over.”

Smith is perhaps best known for his work on the ABC TV show Duets, where he worked with Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Nettles, Robin Thicke, and John Legend. Once Smith and Ringwald connected, the process of recording the album unfolded organically, with Ringwald and Smith sorting through songs they knew and liked, working on arrangements, and assembling the musicians.

“Doing the album was a bit of a commando mission,” said Ringwald. “It came from a mutual desire to capture the moment. Actually, we just did it again. We did a week-long stint at Birdland, in New York, and recorded a live album. It happens naturally. We get to a new place, we realize we’ve evolved, and we want to capture it.”

While most of Ringwald’s experience as a singer is with trio and quartet groupings, she’s also worked with larger ensembles, such as the Columbia Jazz Orchestra.

“Playing with the symphony is a dream,” Ringwald said. “We’re doing arrangements that I’m familiar with, but it is just so interesting to hear the music in a new way. [It is as] if you were painting with just a few colors and, all of a sudden, you’re painting with every color in the crayon box.”

She went on to say she found the experience exciting. 

“The challenge is finding that same feeling of intimacy that you have with a small group,” she said. “Finding that with a big symphony is possible, but I don’t have as much experience with it. It will be a new experience for me, but I’m always up for new challenges.”

The concert will be conducted by Sean O’Loughlin, Principal Pops Conductor of Symphoria, in Syracuse, New York. He’s led performances by the Boston Pops Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, and collaborated with many pop artists, including Adele, Journey, Melissa Etheridge, Pink Martini, and Janelle Monáe.

Doors open at 6:30PM for pre-concert picnicking, with music beginning at 8:00PM. Tickets and information are available at Ticket prices begin at $20.

To learn more about Ringwald, including her autobiography, novel, and other projects, visit

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