Published Thursday, July 30, 1998
Singer Doug DiPreta produces career change, plans a show in Atlantic City
By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer
Times have changed professionally and personally for singers Doug and Pam DiPreta of Hermitage, who perform under the stage names Doug Michaels and Pam Mitchell.
Venues open to live entertainment have decreased, while the number of musicians looking for work has increased, and the DiPretas are not as gung-ho about the demands of their art as they used to be, Mrs. DiPreta said.
“We don’t want to do the gruelling six-night-a-week thing like we used to,” she said.
While they don’t want to give up singing and still are frequent entertainers at Harrah’s Casino, Atlantic City — they have spent most of the year there — DiPreta has moved behind the scenes to become a personal manager and agent. His newest venture mixes the creative and business aspects of his career: show production.
DiPreta’s debut show, featuring a Liberace impersonator and the hefty Lovely Liebowitz Sisters, runs Aug. 11-23 at Harrah’s. There will be two shows a night, six nights a week in a 900-seat theater.
Daryl Wagner has more than gone out of his way to adopt the look and sound of Liberace. Wagner, a classically trained pianist, met Liberace when he worked for him in Liberace’s restaurant in Las Vegas, and Liberace let Wagner do his impersonation at Liberace’s shows. To capture the spirit of a Liberace extravaganza, DiPreta will have Wagner wearing several elaborate costumes, and entering the stage in an 18-foot-long Bentley.
“There’s going to be quite a bit of glitz and glitter,” Ms. DiPreta said. “Because it’s Liberace, we have to bring it up to his level of flamboyance.”
Between costume changes, the Lovely Liebowitz Sisters sing Andrews Sisters-style numbers. “They’re wonderful singers,” Ms. DiPreta said. “The smallest one weighs 300 pounds.”
Eight female and two male dancers also are part of the fun.
A highlight of the show is Wagner setting the Liebowitz’s hearts aflutter with a rendition of “Temptation,” and roller blading onto stage in red and white shorts to sing “Strike Up The Band.” The Liebowitz’s solo on a Carmen Miranda-style number.
DiPreta has had show production in the back of his mind for a long time. When watching others perform he always pays attention to the lighting, the sets, the curtain and other issues that producers concern themselves with, Ms. DiPreta said.
“He’s excited but he’s not nervous because he’s prepared,” she said. “He said he’s been preparing for this his whole life.”
DiPreta is working with arranger Artie Schroeck, who has written for Liza Minnelli, Frankie Valli and Engelbert Humperdinck, choreographer Hosana DeCosta, whom DiPreta met while helping produce “The Rat Pack” at the Sands in Atlantic City, and musical contractor Mike Natale.
Among DiPreta’s other endeavors are managing singer Michael Keating, who performed with the couple Sunday at Buhl Farm park, Hermitage, and as agent for comedian Frank Gorshin and singers Lou Christie and Lesley Gore.
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Updated July 30, 1998
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