The Penguin Project: Annie Jr.

Penguins Project Minnesota at Northern Starz

About the Penguin Project

Once a year, a magical and touching celebration of the human spirit unfolds at numerous theaters across the country. A group of children in a program called The Penguin Project take to the stage to perform a modified version of a well-known Broadway musical.  These productions are unique, however, because all the roles are filled by young artists with developmental disabilities including Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities visual impairment, hearing impairment, and other neurological disorders.  They are joined on stage by a dedicated group of “peer mentors” – children the same age without disabilities who have volunteered to work side-by-side with them through 4 months of rehearsals and through the final performance.


Northern Starz is proud to be the first Minnesota theatre as a replication site for Penguin Project. We are currently in the planning process and would like to connect with the following:


  • Families of children's with special needs.
  • Businesses willing to donate time and money to the project.
  • People looking to volunteer or be a peer mentor.
  • Directors, choreographers or others in the theatre industry with special abilities who wants to donate their time and talent.

If you have any interest please reach out to Erica.Campbell@northernstarz.org


We will also be having our  first informational meeting is at 6:00 on Friday Nov. 10th. At this meeting you'll learn more about the national Penguin Project Program and the plan for Northern Starz.


Finally, we want to thank the Minnesota Arts Boards and the Minnesota Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment for awarding Northern Starz a grant to help make the Penguin Project happen.

Annie Jr.

For our first Penguin Project show we will be performing Annie Jr. More details on auditions, rehearsals and the show will be coming soon.

  • Rehearsals Begin: April 11th
  • Show Dates: August 2nd-5th

About the Show

Based on the popular comic strip and adapted from the Tony Award-winning Best Musical, Annie Jr. features everyone’s favorite little redhead in her very first adventure.

With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie charms everyone's hearts despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City. Annie is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of an orphanage run by the cruel Miss Hannigan. Annie eventually foils Miss Hannigan's evil machinations, finding a new home and family in billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary, Grace Farrell, and a lovable mutt named Sandy.​

Our Grant Partners

Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment

Minnesota State Arts Board

About The Penguin Project

2017 NATIONAL ARTS AND HUMANITIES YOUTH PROGRAM AWARDS FINALIST

Northern Starz is so proud to be part of the Penguins Project in 2018. The Penguins Project, headquartered in Illinois, was just named a finalist for the 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards. For more information check out the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program website. You can also learn more about the Northern Starz Penguin Project plan for 2018 under our upcoming shows.

Penguin Project National Program

Once a year, a magical and touching celebration of the human spirit unfolds at numerous theaters across the country. A group of children in a program called The Penguin Project take to the stage to perform a modified version of a well-known Broadway musical.  These productions are unique, however, because all the roles are filled by young artists with developmental disabilities including Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities visual impairment, hearing impairment, and other neurological disorders.  They are joined on stage by a dedicated group of “peer mentors” – children the same age without disabilities who have volunteered to work side-by-side with them through 4 months of rehearsals and through the final performance.

Goals

  • Provide an opportunity for children with special needs to develop creative skills related to the theater arts
  • Provide an opportunity for children with special needs to participate in a community theater experience
  • Facilitate interaction between children with special needs and their age-level peers through joint participation in a community theater experience
  • Facilitate an appreciation of the challenges faced by children with special needs and their families
  • Identify the impact of a community theater experience on the communication skills, socialization, and self-esteem of children with special needs
  • Facilitate interaction among medical, developmental, educational, and theater professionals through participation in a common community project
  • Provide a forum for support and interaction for families of children with special needs