'Disney Performing Arts' gives teens chance to shine

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A special program at Disneyland gives talented teens a chance to learn how to make music like the pros.

The new show "Rising Star" gives singers a shot at fame. But if you're a teenager, there might be an easier way to get a taste of Hollywood. At Disneyland, talented teens from all over can audition for a chance to go behind the scenes and learn how to make music like the pros.

It's the final hour before the big show, one last chance to iron out the trouble spots and warm up the vocal cords.

"And warm up your body," said recent high school graduate Jake Chustz. "Even as a singer you need your body to be warm."

Many of these teens just graduated from the Orange County School of the Arts. But before they head off to college, they're doing one last show on a different sort of campus -- the stage near the set of Monsters University at Disney California Adventure.

"I feel like a star when I'm at Disneyland," said recent high school graduate Madi Wackerman.

Now believe it or not, you don't have to know somebody to get on stage at Disneyland.

"Disney Performing Arts" is a program for teenage and college ensembles that gives them a glimpse of what it's like to be in a theme park production.

"We treat them like professionals," said Disney Performing Arts guest services manager Shawn Kelly. "We don't treat 'em like kids coming in, we treat 'em like they're working performers for the day."

It's a venue and an audience like no other.

"They're happy to be here, they're pumped, they're ready to watch a live performance like this, and it's exciting to perform for people who want to see you," Kelly said.

Being onstage there is a learning experience of monstrous proportions. But Disney Performing Arts goes beyond that. They take these young artists to where some of the real Disney magic happens -- in the recording studio.

The harmonies are simple and classic. And the coaching is from Hollywood pros.

Within just minutes, those notes transform into a soundtrack; and seconds later, a private screening of "The Lion King" with its brand new music.

"Incredible," said recent high school graduate Maddie Coyle. "I mean, I grew up on Disney, I love Disney and it's been a dream of mine to be like, hey, that's my voice in a Disney movie. And it kind of came true today."

There's no doubt, for these rising stars it truly is the happiest place on earth.

The one-day Disney workshops are open to groups of ten or more. And not just singers, but also bands, theater and dance troupes can apply.

To learn more about the program, click here.

(Disney is the parent company of ABC7 News)
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