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Struggling high schoolers take the stage at Costa Mesa's Segerstrom Center

Students rehearse for the Segerstrom Center's 22nd annual Summer at the Center performance.
Students rehearse for the Segerstrom Center's 22nd annual Summer at the Center performance.
Courtesy of Segerstrom Center for the Arts

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Alvin Ailey and the San Francisco Ballet have danced at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. It's been the home of productions of the Broadway shows Once, Les Miserable and Chicago.

And on Saturday, the center will dedicate a stage to a group of 40 struggling high school students performing their own musical production.

The students, who attend alternative schools in Orange County, have been attending the Summer at the Center program for two weeks, rehearsing their parts in a 45-minute, Broadway revue-style show that will include a medley of boy bands throughout the decades.

"It's really creative," said 15-year-old Brenton. "I think it's really great because it's just a bunch of kids doing what they love to do." 

The performance will also include pantomimes and re-creations of popular pop songs.

Brenton and his fellow students were selected from a pool of 100 applicants, all of whom attend county alternative schools. Run by the Orange County Department of Education, the schools educate children who have suffered with drug or alcohol addiction, were arrested or skip a lot of school. Because of this, KPCC is not publishing the students' last names.

The Segerstrom program is particularly exciting for the kids because they don't get much access to dance, theater or singing instruction at their schools. According to officials with the county education department, about 17,000 kids attend its alternative schools every year, including day schools and independent study programs. The Segerstrom has been providing summer performing arts training for 22 years.

High school senior Jocelyn, 18, says the program has inspired her to pursue a career in the arts.

"My school does not have an arts program at all," she said, "so this is pretty amazing to have the privilege to be able to be part of something that's helping me out with what I love to do, which is singing."

The shows will take place at Segerstrom's Samueli Theater at 12:30, 3:30 and 7:30 pm. Admission is free.