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A Songfest for Mandy Moore and Friends

On Lifetime's fourth annual 'Women Rock!' concert, the focus is on the divas and their favorite movie melodies.

October 19, 2003|Jay Bobbin | Special to The Times

Mandy Moore is getting to do two things she loves: singing and acting.

The young talent's new album, "Coverage," hits stores Tuesday, and she's been working on several movies following her starring roles in "A Walk to Remember" and "How to Deal." On Thursday, Moore joins other singers in serving up film music as she hosts "Women Rock! Songs From the Movies," the fourth annual edition of the Lifetime concert specials geared toward raising awareness of breast cancer.

Recorded in September at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, the two-hour show also features Bonnie Raitt, Dolly Parton, Anastacia (a breast cancer survivor) and Alison Krauss & Union Station. Kenny Loggins marks the "Women Rock!" franchise's first headlining appearance by a male star.

Although she wasn't at the taping, Celine Dion contributes a performance. Segment presenters include Sharon Osbourne, Debbie Reynolds, Jessica Alba ("Dark Angel") and Lisa Rinna ("Days of Our Lives").

"I'm just excited to show up and be a part of this," the 19-year-old Moore says, particularly since she has served as honorary chairwoman of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. "My world doesn't often include running into the likes of Dolly Parton and Kenny Loggins, and being a fan of them both, I knew for sure that this would be a fun time. My first single from my new record ['Have a Little Faith in Me'] is a cover of a John Hiatt song that was in a movie back in the early '90s ['Benny & Joon'], so I'm happy that can be scooted into the show. I haven't had much opportunity to perform it in front of people yet."

Indeed, Moore says, "There's nothing like being onstage. The rush of adrenaline, the automatic connection with people, the instant feedback; it's simply like nothing else. It's fun to take a break and be creative in another way, but it's nice to step back into these shoes. I haven't really done anything music-related for the past two years, so this event comes at a time when I want to get my mind going on something else."

"Coverage" also offers Moore's versions of Joni Mitchell's "Help Me," Carly Simon's "Anticipation" and Todd Rundgren's "Can We Still Be Friends." Critics can be unkind to artists who attempt material immortalized by others, but Moore has steeled herself.

"I decided this concept was something I felt passionate enough about to go through with. It's music I didn't grow up listening to but discovered over the past couple of years. I'm excited to introduce other people my age to it. I chose songs I love by singers I love, so being in the studio was like my own private karaoke session."

Moore is the girlfriend of tennis star Andy Roddick, who won the men's singles title at last month's U.S. Open. She plays a U.S. president's daughter in a yet-to-be-titled romantic comedy movie due early next year. Shortly after that she'll be seen as a Baptist high school student in the drama "Saved."

"It's just nice to keep doing things I love and making friends with new people," Moore says. "I spent the summer working in London and Venice and Prague, and it was amazing. I never thought that by the age of 19, I'd have the sorts of experiences I've had. I owe a lot to my parents, because I feel they've raised me and my brothers very well. We're very close, and they've kept my feet on the ground."

Jay Bobbin writes for Tribune Media Services.

"Women Rock! Songs From the Movies" airs at 10 p.m. Thursday on Lifetime.

Cover photograph courtesy of Lifetime Entertainment.

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