BURBANK -- Before Dean Colley goes on stage portraying the famous
singer Neil Diamond, he draws on his memory of videos the pop artist made
during the mid-1970s. Colley tries to capture Diamond's stage presence,
how he moves his arms and hands and how he walks while he's singing.
"I just love to be able to step up and put someone else's face on,"
Colley said. "It's a real challenge. It gives me a chance to express
myself in a different way."
He will perform Sunday night at the Starlight Bowl in Burbank along
with Frank Gorshin and Frank Sinatra impersonator Michael B. Levin.
Colley grew up in Los Angeles and was a pre-med student at USC in the
late 1970s and early '80s while working at Queen of The Valley Hospital
Emergency Room. But medicine wasn't his true passion, so he turned to
music, playing guitar in a variety of rock 'n' roll bands for 18 years.
Four years ago, a promoter remarked that he looked so much like Neil
Diamond he could be making three times as much with a tribute act. So
Colley put together a backup band and a 25-plus song list. "Hot August
Night! A Tribute to Neil Diamond" went public for the first time
producing a promotional concert in 1998 to a sold-out crowd of 500 at the
Ontario Convention Center.
A thrill for Colley was performing with the late Vince Charles at one
of his first shows. A longtime member of Diamond's band, the steel drum
player and percussionist sat in for half the show, Colley said.
Over the years, the act has appeared in Las Vegas, Reno, Oregon, and
throughout California at local fairs, clubs, concerts in the park and
Also finding success in the impersonating field is Michael B. Levin,
who has portrayed a tribute to Frank Sinatra for more than six years.
Sinatra's popularity, Levin said, stems from his unique singing style
-- his use of phrasing and his charisma.
"He recorded over six decades. I don't think there was anyone else who
did that. It was pretty amazing," he said.
Levin, who is also a stand-up comic/impressionist with more than 25
different singing voices, has performed as Old Blue Eyes in casinos and
clubs throughout the United States, including The MGM and Luxor in Las
Vegas. He is also the voice of Dino Spumoni for Nickelodeon's TV show
One of Levin's favorite mementos received from a fan is a $100
gambling chip that Sinatra had given the fan.
Most people remember Frank Gorshin as the original Riddler on the '60s
TV show "Batman."
Earlier this year, Gorshin performed to standing ovations as George
Burns in "Say Goodnight, Gracie" at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami.
Gorshin received Emmy nominations for his portrayal of The Riddler in
the Batman series and as a guest star as the half-black, half-white alien
on "Star Trek."
At the end of August, Gorshin will begin a 22-week national city tour
with Dick Van Patten in Neil Simon's comedy hit "The Sunshine Boys." It
will be at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts March 1 to 3.
A highlight of Sunday's performance, titled Las Vegas Night, will be
the announcements of winners who guess how many raisins are in the 5-foot
star. Grand prize is a trip for two to Vegas donated by Southwest
Airlines with tickets to see Wayne Newton and a two-night stay at the
First prize is tickets for two to Universal Studios Hollywood and two
Starlight Bowl T-shirts. Second prize is a $100 gift certificate for the
Media City Center mall and two Starlight Bowl T-shirts. Third prize is a
$50 gift certificate to the Media City Center mall and two Starlight Bowl
The concert begins at 6:30 p.m. but gates open at 5:30 for picnicking.
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 per child 3 to 12 and seniors 60 and
older. Parking is $2. The Starlight Bowl is at 1249 Lockheed View Drive