ELVIS IMPERSONATOR WOWS THE CROWDS AT TENDER AGE OF 13.
Elvis has been sighted in Lancaster - and he's only 13 years old.
Actually, it's Dean Zeligman, whose backswept brown hair and curling sideburns give him an uncanny resemblance to the boy from the backwoods of Tupelo, Miss.
Add a gold lame tuxedo jacket, black-and white wing-tip shoes, a gold horseshoe ring with fake diamonds, and a closet full of handmade jackets and jumpsuits, and it could be the King himself.
``People say it's Elvis all over again,'' said Donna Brown, 40, of Lancaster, a member of an Elvis fan club called the Jailhouse Rockers. ``The first time I saw him was when he was 8 or 9. I thought, `What can a kid do?' He started performing, and you had to pick my mouth up off the floor. He's got the moves and the voice. I was astounded.''
Dean started his act as a youngster after watching a television documentary, ``This is Elvis.''
``As soon as I saw him, I felt like I had seen him before. It was comfortable, it was familiar, like something I really wanted to do,'' said Dean, who has made three trips to Memphis to visit Graceland, Elvis' home.
At Eastside Elementary School, Dean performed ``Jailhouse Rock'' in a talent show, garbed in a white Elvis-style jumpsuit with a cape.
``He kind of brought the house down,'' said his mother, Jackie Zeligman. ``It took off from there. He got into it. Even though he was little, he had a deep voice for his age. It was amazing. No one taught him how to do it, except for him looking at tapes of Elvis.''
He continues to compete, and on Jan. 8, Elvis' birthday, went up against adults in an Elvis impersonation contest at the Country Star restaurant at Universal CityWalk.
Dean walked away with first place, beating out 19 other contestants - including a puppet Elvis.
``That kid was great,'' said Bryan Aley, special events coordinator for Country Star. ``He looks like a really young Elvis. He's a good-looking kid. Let me tell you, he nailed the song. He's got the voice. He has the moves. He has the stage presence.''
Dean, the middle child of three, said he doesn't think what he does is odd.
``It's a little bit different, but not so far as to be unusual,'' he said. ``It's a lot of fun, and I enjoy it.''
But like the real Elvis, Dean is finding out that life as a personality can be trying.
Teasing by classmates contributed to Dean's transfer last fall from Cole Middle School to the Accelerated Learning Academy, a private school in Lancaster.
``They weren't really into it,'' Dean said. ``I don't blame them.''
Dean, whose stage name is ``Dean Z,'' performs once or twice a month. He'll be participating in an Elvis convention this month at Los Angeles International Airport, and at an annual weeklong competition at Graceland in August.
``I like to do '50s and '70s acts because the '50s got the moves, the leg movements, the exciting moves,'' Dean said. ``And the '70s got the real powerful songs.''
Music runs in the family, said Jackie Zeligman. Her grandfather performed on the stage and her father was a drummer. Dean's older sister, 19-year-old Marie, is pursuing a career as a country music singer. Daniel, 11, plays the guitar.
Dean also likes other types of music. He names alternative bands, such as Bush and No Doubt as favorites, and he listens to heavy metal groups like Iron Maiden and White Zombie.
Dean said he wants to be an entertainer and start writing his own music, and will also continue singing Elvis' songs on the side. He enjoys the excitement of performing.
``When you are on stage, you feel the crowd reacting to it. It makes you feel you want to do it more. It's a great feeling for people to be cheering for you,'' he said. ``Elvis was so great. To be able to portray such a great man and get a great response back is a good feeling.''
Photo: (1--color in AV edition only) Complete with gold lame jacket, Dean ``Dean Z'' Zeligman, 13, strikes a pose in front of portraits of his performance role model, Elvis Presley.
Jeff Goldwater/Daily News
Carol Schwenk (Member): Elvis Impersonator Wow Crowd At Tender Age of 13 1/23/2008 12:59 AM
I would like to be able to get the picture mentioned in this article about Dean Zeligman at age 13. i run a fan club for this young man now age 24 who performs at The legends in Concert Theater in Branson, MO.