Debbie Gibson Stars in New Hallmark Movie, 'Summer of Dreams'
The almost-biopic premieres Saturday, Aug. 27, featuring a new Gibson song and an update of a classic.
And, as a Hallmark film, its lessons translate to an even more universal level of overcoming obstacles.
Gibson burst in with five hooky, pure-pop top 40 Billboard Hot 100 hits, including four top 10s, from her 1987 debut album, Out of the Blue. Her breakthrough smash, "Only in My Dreams," hit No. 4 and "Foolish Beat" became her first No. 1. Thanks to the latter hit, Gibson, who was 17 when "Beat" topped the June 25, 1988, Hot 100, remains the youngest female artist to write, produce and perform a Hot 100 No. 1 by herself (a feat cited in the movie, which chart fans will surely appreciate).
Her 1989 follow-up album Electric Youth crowned the Billboard 200 for five weeks and yielded a second No. 1 love song, "Lost in Your Eyes," as well as two more top 40 Hot 100 hits. In 1990, Gibson added the No. 26-peaking single "Anything Is Possible," from her third album of the same name. The song remains her most recent top 40 hit, and that's where Summer of Dreams centers much of its attention.
"What if I peaked at 15?," Gibson, in the role of pop singer Debbie Taylor, asks.
Of course, Summer of Dreams being a Hallmark movie, her love interest (played by TV veteran Robert Gant) smiles and responds: "Maybe you haven't peaked yet."
The film, which Gibson also developed and co-executive produced, is not a biopic, but many real-life parallels exist: her character's last name is Taylor, which doubles as the first name of Gibson's longtime boyfriend. She has a sister named Denise in the movie (played by Pascale Hutton), reflecting her actual sister Denise, and her movie manager is named Ray, as is her real-life best friend.
And, this being not only a Hallmark movie, but a Gibson movie, she performs a ballad version of "Only in My Dreams," along with a new song, "Wonderland," the tracks (both self-written) serving as melodic bookends to her career, so far.
Meanwhile, the film extends Gibson's robust acting resume. Following her run of top 40 hits, she starred in 17 Broadway musicals in 17 years; teamed with fellow '80s chart queen (and good friend) Tiffany (who also receives a winking nod in Summer of Dreams) in the kitschy 2011 Syfy movie Mega Python vs. Gatoroid; and, also in 2011, cameoed as Katy Perry's mother (also named … Tiffany) in the video for Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" (which became the record-tying fifth Hot 100 No. 1 from Perry's album Teenage Dream).
Summer of Dreams marks Gibson's second feel-good TV movie in as many years. In 2015, she starred in UP's The Music in Me, also featuring an original song of hers, "Promises."
Ultimately, is Gibson/Taylor in a good personal place in 2016? Not to give any spoilers, but (again) Summer of Dreams is a Hallmark movie, and one whose title suggests that she has never been the type to give up on her dreams.
"I need some time to figure out who I am," she muses, "apart from who I was."
Summer of Dreams premieres Saturday, Aug. 27, on Hallmark Channel. Gibson also performs tomorrow (Aug. 26) on Fox News Channel's Fox & Friends (6-9a ET), as part of the show's All-American Summer Concert Series.