Talking All Things Travel with The Boston Globe

Debbie Gibson on her jet-setting dog, used bookstores, and bringing her own hot plate

While many people like to get out of the city and go to the country, beach, etc. for vacation, that is not the case for singer/songwriter/producer and actress Debbie Gibson, who loves hitting big cities and experiencing the “energy of the people” when she has time off. Gibson, 51 (but “eternally electric,” she joked, in reference to “Electric Youth,” her 1989 hit song and album of the same name), is excited about coming to Boston for her June 9 performance at the Wilbur Theatre and to explore the city — and catch live theater, including performances of “Wicked” at the Boston Opera House and the Broadway-bound revival of “1776″ at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge. “I love that it’s with a diverse and inclusive cast,” said Gibson, who became a teen pop sensation at 17 and segued into musical theater — including starring roles in several Broadway and West End productions. “There are so many young, impressionable theater fans — especially gay boys and girls, trans kids . . . people who want to see themselves represented and feel like, ‘Oh, I can do that. I can be on that stage.’” Gibson, who has sold more than 16 million albums worldwide, said she is looking forward to providing audiences “an all-around entertainment experience” when her “The Body Remembers” tour — which kicked off June 1 in Minneapolis — lands in Boston. (“The Body Remembers” is also the name of Gibson’s 10th studio pop album, her first in 20 years, which includes a duet performance — with Massachusetts native and New Kids on the Block member Joey McIntyre — of her 1989 hit song “Lost in Your Eyes.”) “I sing, I dance, I play piano. … There’s a certain amount of well-rehearsed slickness, but there’s a lot of spontaneity,” she said of the tour. “I like people to feel like they’re in my living room at times, and they’re at a Broadway show at other times. And I really love telling stories, too. I love communing with people. I don’t believe people want to be sung at; I think people want to have an experience with the artist and I love giving that to them.” We caught up with the Brooklyn, N.Y., native, who lives in Las Vegas with her three Dachshunds, Trouper, Joey, and Levi, to talk about all things travel.

Favorite vacation destination? I love big city vacations. My last biggie was to London in 2019. I love being on foot and experiencing the energy of the people — and London at holiday time was such an amazing trip.

Favorite food or drink while vacationing? I like experiencing whatever the best local fare is. I called my 2019 vacation the “no scone left unturned” tour. I will dabble a bit in red wine, but I’m not much of a drinker.

Where would you like to travel to but haven’t? Africa. It looks divine. I am a nature and culture gal at heart, and you can just feel the richness of history there and the appreciation for nature and wildlife. It also feels like there is a visceral quality to the music.

One item you can’t leave home without when traveling? For years I traveled with my dog Joey. I have three, but he is the jet setter of the bunch. He keeps me laughing and grounded. They are cracking down on the ESA [Emotional Support Animal] rules, so it’s getting harder to bring him everywhere — but when I can, I do.

Aisle or window? Window. I like to be in charge of the sunlight.

Favorite childhood travel memory? My dad worked for TWA for 40 years in everything from crew scheduling to the ticket counter, so our family of six took one big vacation a year. We traveled standby, so I will never forget this trip to Hawaii where we were island hopping and watched probably eight flights take off before we got seats on the last one. I tap danced all day to keep occupied — much to the dismay of my sisters. There was an awesome luau on that trip, too, and Tiny Tim in concert.

Guilty pleasure when traveling? I have a no-guilt rule in general, but I do love to find used bookstores. I found a Liberace biography — with an original Western Union telegram [tucked inside] from the man himself — in Utah while on tour.

Best travel tip? Take great care of yourself by bringing what you need. Friends always rib me about it, but I bring a hot plate to make my own eggs ‘cause I graze all day and don’t want to be waiting an hour for room service or running out whenever I’m hungry.



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