Back on Oct. 1, 1996, Playbill On-Line caught up with Debbie Gibson as she was about to go out of town with Funny Girl. That Broadway-bound show is still on hiatus and may never make it back to New York, but apparently Gibson still has her sights set on the Great White Way.
Gibson, whose pop-oriented record of original songs (plus "Parade" and "People" from Funny Girl), titled "Deborah," will be released the week of Jan. 6, has high hopes for a new Broadway musical she's writing. Titled Skirts, the show is based on a screenplay that almost, but didn't quite, got made. Since that screenplay was by Richard LaGravenese -- author of the Streisand film hit, The Mirror Has Two Faces -- and since Gibson is receiving engineering and production help on the project from Steve Skinner, the burner on Skirts seems to have been turned up a notch. The New York Post reports that Kenny Ortega, who was to have directed the film back in 1989, has been mentioned as possible director of the show, which is looking towards a fall 1997 premiere.
"Skirts" has overtones of West Side Story and 1980's hip-hop films. It's about a girl from Scarsdale who helps girl-gangs settling their differences via a huge dance contest.
Gibson's spokesperson David Salidor told Playbill On-Line that Skirts should eventually come to Broadway, though it may not start there. "She's been working on it 9 years, we're not gonna rush it now. Originally Dawn Steel, when she was running Columbia, approached Gibson to appear in the movie, which was a strongly green-lighted project. When Steel left the company, the project went into turn-around, but Gibson continues to work on it and has over 35 songs written to date.
-- By David Lefkowitz