Want to kick off your fab Fourth weekend with former teen mall queen Debbie Gibson, now a bona fide Broadway diva/star? Gibson joins N.C. School of the Arts alum and musical legend Terrence Mann (pictured above), Anthony Rapp, Alice Ripley, Raleigh native Lauren Kennedy and more for Broadway Rocks for the Arts, presented by the Carolina Arts Festival at Cary's Regency Park Amphitheatre. Gibson, who played Belle in Beauty and the Beast, will not only perform songs from the musical but will bust out a few of her teen hits. Along with songs from Rent, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Scarlet Pimpernel, among others, the featured artists are performing a selection of rock and pop hits. The Carolina Arts Festival is distributing free passes to "culturally underserved" children through groups such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Wake County, several Triangle United Way agencies and others (agencies can request tickets by calling 890-6244).
For the non-show tunes set, first wave N.C. popsters The Connells will perform at 6:30 p.m., followed by The October Project. This kicks off an event featuring a roster of N.C. talent running the gamut from beach to bluegrass, and culminating in--of course--a fireworks display. Sounds grand. Cary is hoping to make this festival an annual event. Broadway Rocks for the Arts begins Wednesday, July 3 at 6:30 p.m., at the Amphitheatre at Regency Park, Cary. Call 462-2025 for details or visit www.carolinaartsfestival.com. --Angie Carlson