Artistic director Bill Brawley, standing third from right, leads a group of teens during a Summer at the Center program held in the Segerstrom Center for the Arts on Monday. (KEVIN CHANG, Daily Pilot / July 29, 2013)

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When applicants come in for an interview, they don't have to sing, although they can if they want. Mostly, it's desire and work ethic that results in a winning candidate.


I believe that even though I'm young, I can be the best dad for my daughter.

I believe in all of you.


Carina, who is 16 and lives in Anaheim, feels at home in the Segerstrom workshop. Her alternative school, she said, offers no music or theater, but she often sings or dances around the house.

Last year, at a teacher's urging, Carina applied for Summer at the Center and didn't get in. She thought about passing on it this year, but changed her mind and scored on her second try. Six days into the program, she was happy she'd made the effort.

"You're not kicked out because you're unique," said Carina, whose last name was withheld by Segerstrom officials. "You're celebrated because you're unique."

Emil, 17, of Tustin voiced the same feeling. He had some theater experience from his previous high school and said he sang during his interview. Not everyone in the program had his background, but he found that camaraderie came easily.

"It just feels like everybody comes together as a group," Emil said. "Everyone just becomes a solid family."

As lunchtime approached Monday, Sheahan kept playing and the tunes kept flowing: "Over the Rainbow," "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes," and the "Gettin' Jiggy" medley. There was another stab at "I Believe I Can Fly," which seemed to be the workshop's theme song, at least in spirit.


I believe we live in an amazing world, with amazing people and amazing opportunities.

I believe the sky isn't the limit. Reach for the stars.

And finally, this offering from Brawley:

I believe you guys can fly.

If You Go

What: Summer at the Center performance

Where: Samueli Theater, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

When: 12:30, 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Cost: Free

Information: (714) 556-2121 or