Baltimore Sun

Deborah Gibson chat

Deborah Gibson stars as Cinderella with Paolo Montalban in 'Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella' at the Mechanic Theatre.

Deborah Gibson is best known for her stint as a teen idol pop star during the late 1980s. With songs such as "Foolish Beat," "Only in My Dreams" and "Electric Youth," she had a string of Top Five singles. However, Gibson has also performed at the Metropolitan Opera with Placido Domingo, starred on Broadway as Eponine in "Les Miserables" and toured as Rizzo in "Grease."

Gibson's seventh and newest CD, "MYOB (Mind Your Own Business)," will be released in February and includes a remake of Tony Orlando's "Knock Three Times."

SunSpot: Welcome, Deborah Gibson. It's nice to have you.

Sheila, Laurel: What do you like about playing Cinderella?

Deborah Gibson: First of all, I love that this is an all new current production with an interracial cast and very current musical arrangements. A very hip fairy god mother (Eartha Kitt). Of course, it's every girl's dream to play the princess.

Chris, Greensboro, N.C.: What is working with a diva/legend such as Eartha Kitt like?

Deborah Gibson: It is truly an inspiration and an adventure because you never know what to expect from her on stage and off.

Theresa, Baltimore: One of my co-workers saw you in "Cinderella" on opening night, and he said that you were great! How long did it take to rehearse for the role?

Deborah Gibson: I had less prep time for this than for previous roles because I was only approached about doing the role a matter of weeks before rehearsals started. The actual rehearsal period was three weeks followed by two weeks of technical rehearsals. Usually, I set aside time for myself -- at least a month prior to rehearsals to prepare. The upside to that is that you open the show feeling very fresh and in the moment on stage.

Tiffany, Gainseville, Fla.: What is the funniest experience you've had with "Cinderella?"

Deborah Gibson: Onstage, it had to be when I was at the top of the stairs entering the ball and the staircase which is supposed to gracefully glide across the stage with me on it suddenly stopped short with me on it. I kept my composure, but the cast was snickering around me. One of the craziest, unexpected things that happened on this tour was that I found an abandoned kitten outside my door in Miami and I was dealing with a new pet an hour before curtain.

Gilad, Tel Aviv, Israel: Which would you rather have -- an Emmy, a Grammy, a Tony or an Oscar?

Deborah Gibson: Decisions, decisions. Can I have them all? But seriously, I've always wanted a Grammy and a Tony. [She does not have a Grammy award.]

Ginny, Florence, S.C.: I remember you saying at one time that you would like to put out an album of Broadway tunes, which I think would be a good idea. Do you think you will ever do something like that?

Deborah Gibson: Absolutely. I definitely want to first reestablish myself in the pop world so that I can eventually expose a larger number of people to Broadway music.

SunSpot: What is you favorite Broadway show?

Deborah Gibson: "Annie," because that's what turned me on to theater as a kid. And "Les Miserables." It's so moving and so original and I was fortunate enough to be in it.

Nicky, Belgium: Do you sometimes want to go back to London and star in a musical?

Deborah Gibson: Yes, constantly I think about that. I had an amazing year in London and I would welcome the chance to go back there and do it again.

SunSpot: Tell us about "Skirts."

Deborah Gibson: "Skirts" is a musical that I am composer/lyricist on and it's something that I have been working on for what seems like an eternity. But I swear it's nearing completion. Writing a musical is a very long process. For those of you who don't have any idea what I'm talking about, "Skirts" is a musical that in my opinion combines elements of "Moonstruck," "West Side Story" and "Dirty Dancing." It takes place in 1964 and centers around an Italian family in the Bronx and focuses on a lot of racial issues that existed at that time.

April, Baltimore: What was it like to work with Placido Domingo?

Deborah Gibson: Well, I worked with him at The Metropolitan Opera when I was eight years old. I actually snuck into his dressing room area and he was very gracious and answered all my questions. The production was "La Boheme."

Cheryl, Kansas City, Kan.: Who was your inspiration or who did you look up to when you first got started with your solo career?

Deborah Gibson: Artist-wise, the true divas like Bette Midler and Barbra Streisand, as well as singer/songwriter/pianists Elton John and Billy Joel.

Britta, Cape Cod, Mass.: You have been a positive influence in the lives of many girls and women. Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why or why not?

Deborah Gibson: [Screams] I guess I consider myself to be a role model for young women, although I feel I am caught between [another scream] a traditional role of a woman and the modern view of a woman.

Jack, Hanover, Mass.: What do you think of the new crop of teenage singers these days (Mandy, Christina, Britney, Jessica, etc.) and do you think your work influenced them at all?

Deborah Gibson: Hopefully, I have saved them a few steps on their path to the charts by virtue of the fact that record company executives seemed to instantly know how to market these teenage girls. When I started there was a lot of reluctance to sign teenagers. I definitely have my favorites of the new crop, but I'm very supportive of all of them. I met Britney and she seems to be headed in a good direction.

Margie, Unionville: I have an 8-year-old daughter who loves to sing and wants to take private voice lessons. Is eight too young to be so serious about training? How do we encourage her love of singing and not become "stage parents?"

Deborah Gibson: Great question. First of all, it's definitely not too young to start training, but more than training I recommend getting experience in community theater and local talent shows. As far as not becoming a stage mother goes, support her without pushing her and if ever she wants to stop singing allow that to be her decision. Good luck.

Matt, Baltimore: This is like your second or third show in Baltimore in the past few years. What is you favorite part of our town?

Deborah Gibson: I really love the area near the Aquarium, but I've only been there once in the warm weather and look forward to coming back again when it's not too cold.

Jamie, Pikesville: Are you planning a new pop album any time soon?

Deborah Gibson: Yes, thank you for asking. I just put the finishing touches on my latest album, "MYOB" (Mind Your Own Business) a week ago. It will be released at the end of February. I finish my stint as Cinderella on March 3 and will immediately begin a national promotional tour hopefully to be followed by a concert tour. There is a possibility that I will be making an appearance on the American Music Awards, but we are still working out the details.

Deborah Gibson: It's been great chatting with all of you ... great questions. Hopefully, I will be seeing you either at "Cinderella" or on my promotional tour. Happy Holidays.