By Matthew Hacke | Photographs from RayGarciaPhotography.com
When the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh was planning its annual “Nightmare on Hellsworth” Halloween event, selecting a main act was an easy choice. “With an artist whose career spans 30 years, has sold 16 million albums, has starred in 17 musicals, and recently participated on the 2017 season of ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ Debbie Gibson was the perfect pick to headline this year’s event,” says Christine Bryan, director of marketing and development for the Delta Foundation. We recently spoke with the original “pop princess” about her upcoming Pittsburgh performance on October 27 and, of course, her Halloween traditions!
How did you get involved with the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh and its Nightmare on Hellsworth event?
I was invited to perform fairly recently, and since my stint on “Dancing with the Stars” had come to an end, I was so thrilled to be able to say yes!
What is it like working with such an incredible organization that is a catalyst for change in the LGBTQ community?
I think it is fantastic the Delta Foundation is able to provide events such as this one for the LGBTQ community and for all who want to attend! This will be my first performance of its kind in Pittsburgh.
What are you most looking forward to about your visit and performance in Pittsburgh?
I just always love connecting with people through music and this event surely screams ‘festive!’ That, and the fact that my 6-month-old puppy, Joey, will be visiting Pittsburgh for the first time and was delighted to hear of all the local pet-friendly hotels!
Can you give us any inside scoop on your plans for the show? Will you be wearing a Halloween costume?
I thought about that and still am deciding. Maybe I should go as Tiffany [Darwish]?! (Laughs) I will be singing live to backing tracks and my two dancers, known as ‘The Bookend Baldies’ (Buddy and Eddie) will be joining. There will be some impromptu moments at the keyboard as well. It will be fun, festive, and primarily upbeat!
Do you have any special Halloween traditions in your family or a favorite part about the holiday?
My dad, Joe, has this authentic Native American headdress. He would run around terrorizing my sisters and our friends in the headdress and a loin cloth! It sounds rather racy but, if you know Joe or have seen him in my ‘We Could Be Together’ video, you would get how hysterical that was! I was always a sugar fanatic, so getting candy always ranked high on my list.
How was your “Dancing with the Stars” experience?
It was amazing! The cast and crew are incredible. I am not gonna lie, I felt I had way more creative things left to do, but the universe had other plans. I am so grateful to be a part of it and will be back for the finale!
Why did you decide to go on the show?
I had been dealing with Lyme Disease for nearly five years and there were certain hurdles I could not get over. I figured if I told my body that it was time to do it, that it would. And it did!
What advice would you give to the pop stars of today that you wish you would have gotten starting out?
This is not a race! This is your life and your own personal journey, so stop and smell the roses and take things in your own time and at your own pace.
What’s next for you in terms of upcoming projects? Anything that you can tell us a little about?
My 30-year commemorative box set is available on Amazon November 3! I am working on launching some original musicals that were put on hold due to my health challenges. I am also working on new music and a new film project! But, first up is securing that red wig to be Tiffany [Darwish] on Halloween! (laughs) I look forward to seeing everyone at “Nightmare on Hellsworth” on October 27!