I’m a believer in high school theatre

One of my favorite of many great moments in Appleton North’s production of Shrek happens after the curtain call.

That’s when the whole jubilant cast bursts into Neil Diamond’s “I’m a Believer.”

Watch them all — chorus members, fairytale creatures and leads — dance and sing with such unfettered joy and contagious confidence and know that their gifted director once again has made believers of them all.

That’s high school’s biggest trick. The believing.

You can coach the dance, encourage the pitch, recite the lines and drill the marks, but you haven’t succeeded, really, until you’ve inspired the belief.

Belief straightens the spine, lifts the chin, and brightens the eyes long after the applause fades away.

Believe in the program, believe in the story, believe in the script but, more than anything, believe in yourself.

Esteem, not eminence, inspires all kinds of volunteers — the sewers and sellers, painters and builders, engineers and photographers — to give up countless hours behind the scenes.

The Appleton North Theatre program counts many professional artists among its alumni, including rock stars and opera singers, actors and writers, but that’s not the goal.

The end game is self-confidence and the belief that if you can be a dragon, stand on stilts, breathe fire, belt a song and literally spread your wings for the run of a high school show, then you can be anything after it as well.

I’ve seen Shrek and I’m a believer in every single member of that cast, crew and pit orchestra, without a trace of doubt in my mind.

Curtain Call
Bravo to the cast, crew and pit orchestra of Appleton North’s Shrek.
Our friend Molly Sina wrote cute sayings on our wall when she was six-years old. In Shrek she plays a fierce, smoke breathing dragon. She’s a believer too.
Fight scene
That’s our Molly and the rest of the Merry Men, preparing to fight Fiona.
Green Room
The green room before a show bustles with excitement and generosity. At North, it’s not unusual for alumni believers to come back and build on what they started.
Duloc Dancers
These are the Duloc Dancers. The costumes, designed by veteran seamstress Cece Shoaf and sewn by a team of current and alumni parents, are amazing.
Fairyland Creatures
The Fairytale Creatures believe in Shrek and in each other.
Fiona and Shrek
The attention to detail that brought about this replication of the Shrek cartoon amazes me. The talent of these young actors amazes me as well. 
We've known Jacie since she was a tiny girl. I saw her singing and dancing this weekend and knew she'd become a believer too.
We’ve known Jacie. who plays Little Red Riding Hood, since she was a tiny girl. I saw her singing and dancing this weekend and knew she’d become a believer too.
Shrek 201
This is the view from behind the sound board. Shrek is a tech heavy show that inspires believers behind the scenes too.
Lights Freak Flag
I thought the lights looked cool during “Let Your Freak Flag Fly,” which is an inspirational message all on its own.

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