The Omaha Symphony is revisiting the ’80s with the help of Debbie Gibson and Sam Harris.
“Don’t Stop Believing: Songs from the ’80s” takes place Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Holland Performing Arts Center. Tickets, starting at $25, can be purchased by calling 402-345-0606 or online at www.OmahaSymphony.org.
Gibson, an ’80s teen pop star, and Harris, “Star Search” grand champion, will sing songs that cultivated the MTV generation, like “Footloose,” “Jessie’s Girl,” “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” “Don’t Stop Believing,” and more. Gibson’s own hits such as “Foolish Beat” and “Lost in Your Eyes” will be included, too.
At 16, Gibson became the youngest person to write, produce and perform a No. 1 single. After selling 16 million albums, she performed on Broadway and on film. She also mentors young performers and songwriters through a series of performing arts camps.
We caught up with Gibson earlier this week.
Q: How did you decide that singing and songwriting was the career for you?
A: I never decided. It chose me. I started playing piano by ear, mimicking my sisters and the radio.
Q: Were there any challenges in taking a break from your music career and switching to Broadway?
A: I never saw it as a break but a natural transition back to something I loved. Theater is where I started. Theater requires more stillness. Pop performance is more adrenaline-based. I love both.
Q: What has it been like getting back to ’80s music?
A: I never left the ’80s. I have always included my hits, as well as covers in my live set. The thrill of this project is the orchestra and Sam and our fabulous band and cast.
Q: Do fans respond well to these types of shows?
A: This is the first, so Omaha better bring it.
Q: How did you get involved in this show with the Omaha Symphony?
A: I was invited by Sam Harris and producer Steve Cook to collaborate and couldn’t say no. I started performing at the (Metropolitan Opera) as a child and love being surrounded by the lush sound and support local symphonies fully! Each is different and adds their own magic.
Q: You mentor young performers through “Debbie Gibson’s Electric Youth.” What has it been like to give back? Did you have any influences when starting out?
A: I am the hugest Billy Joel fan though I also love Mozart. I love working with kids. They teach me more than I teach them because they are not hindered by rules. They are pure and free.