This week, Debbie Gibson’s Gibson Girl Foundation will host its Inaugural Gala at the Oheka Castle in Huntington. The gala will honor Hank Lane of Hank Lane Music & Productions and Ira Wallach of Linear Logistics for their contributions to the performing arts.
The Gibson Girl Foundation was founded by singer and Long Island native Debbie Gibson in 2008; it awards scholarships and music-educational opportunities to underprivileged children who display talent and have a desire to participate in programs designed to nurture their individual skills in the performing arts. Since its inception, the Gibson Girl Foundation has provided more than $75,000 in scholarships to kids in need.
“I started the foundation because I realized with the economy as it is, parents can’t afford to give kids opportunities in the arts as readily as they used to, and I wanted to provide support for that,” Gibson explains. “I grew up on Long Island with a lot of opportunities to be involved in theater. The arts was my childhood and I wanted to pay it forward.”
The fundraising event is set to take place Monday, May 2, at 6 p.m. Cocktails will be served followed by a 7 p.m. dinner.
“I love it—bringing it home to where everything started; it’s great,” says Gibson. “I did events at Oheka Castle growing up, years ago. Doing it on Long Island is, for me, for sentimental reasons, the perfect place to do it.”
The event will include a special performance by Gibson, and “American Idol” Season 10 contestant and Merrick native Robbie Rosen.
“He put Long Island on the map again, in a good way, recently,” says Gibson of Rosen. “It’s always heartwarming for me to see young people on Long Island making good, if you will.”
She says the two will even perform as a duet. “He’s doing a couple of songs and we are actually doing something together.”
Gibson wouldn’t reveal what exactly they will be performing but said, “You have to come and be surprised, let’s just say we are doing a famous song by an iconic performer.”
Later this summer, Gibson will join another ’80s star, Tiffany, on “A Journey Through the ’80s” tour. The tour kicks off Friday, July 28, at NYCB Theatre at Westbury. Gibson says people will not only get their ’80s fix but also see what the performers have evolved into.
Coming together comes as quite the surprise: Gibson and Tiffany were long regarded as rivals.
Gibson disagreed and revealed a different story: “People felt there was a rivalry but there never was. It was more of a sisterhood. We are very supportive of each other.”
She also spoke of their choice to come together for a tour now. “It’s a time of joining forces and I think there’s power in that and power in us coming together. It’s so funny, we are so different but our differences are what make us get along,” she says.
“Our music was so similar in the ’80s but now we are so different, she is kind of doing her country rock thing while I am very pop and Broadway. Put us together and it’s a funny thing.”