Molly Ringwald visited UNCW

Corin Sponsler | Contributing Writer

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After performing her first song of the night, “Sooner or Later,”  famous singer and actress Molly Ringwald greeted the audience in Kenan Auditorium. In response, they applauded and shouted eagerly.

“I have to tell you, the last time I was in Wilmington I filmed a movie here—probably before any of you were born,” Ringwald said.

Ringwald is most known for her renowned roles in movies such as “The Breakfast Club,” “Sixteen Candles,” “Pretty in Pink” and many other classic ‘80s films. However, on Sept. 17, she showcased a different talent: jazz music. Throughout the evening, she performed songs from “The Great American Songbook.” Selections varied from “I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes)” to “I Feel Pretty” to “Brother Can You Spare a Dime.” The audience was awestruck at the former movie star’s vocal abilities.

“We thought she would resonate with students while also showcasing her talents in a way different from how we typically know her,” said Stefani Mancuso, interim associate director for Campus Life Arts and Programs.

Ringwald indeed captured the audience’s attention with her newly surfaced talent. With each riveting number, the audience cheered.

“[Her performance] was very lively, very upbeat, and she’s very talented,” audience member and UNC Wilmington student Caroline Huffman said of the event. “She’s always been known for her acting, but I think that she’s equally as great as a singer.”

The evening’s audience was one of variety. Kenan Auditorium was packed with an audience consisting of all ages- students, faculty members and other members of the Wilmington community, alike. This turnout was exactly what the Campus Life Arts and Programs had hoped for, Mancuso said.

“I was extremely excited to kick off the season with An Evening with Molly Ringwald,” she said. “We knew it would bring students, faculty, staff and the community together, which is always the goal for our shows.”

Mancuso considers it to be a successful opener for this year’s UNCW Presents Arts in Action Performance Series.

“From the moment we put out our season brochure with Molly Ringwald on the cover we have been getting calls and positive feedback,” Mancuso said. “The show saw an audience increase of over 100 from the season opener last year. We believe most of those were students.”

Students like Huffman may have been motivated to attend due to a preexisting love for Ringwald’s work.

“I am a fan and have been for quite a while,” Huffman said. “My mom raised me watching [Ringwald’s] movies because they were her favorite movies as a teenager, and that was something that she and I shared. My mom’s favorite movie is ‘Pretty in Pink,’ and my favorite ‘80s movie is ‘Sixteen Candles,’ both starring Molly Ringwald.”

For students who consider Ringwald’s movies to be classics, it was quite the experience to see her perform live. She also signed CDs for audience members immediately following her performance, allowing fans the chance to meet her.

Ringwald charmed her fans through her performance onstage just as she had through her movies, even paying homage to her role in “The Breakfast Club” by ending the show with her own rendition of band Simple Mind’s song “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”—the closing song of the beloved movie.

“Seeing her and talking to her, even though it was only for a short amount of time, she had the same sense of humor and personality as was shown through her acting. She was genuine,” Huffman said about meeting Ringwald.