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 young people 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 main roles are filled by young artists with Special Needs 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” – young people ages 10+ without special needs who have volunteered to work side-by-side with them in rehearsals and every performance.  By providing access to community theatre, The Penguin Project demonstrates that the challenges should not handicap a person’s ability to participate in life’s experiences.

Established in 2004, The Penguin Project has evolved into a National program, with Chapter sites throughout the United States. The program provides a supportive environment for children with disabilities to explore their creative talents.  It has also demonstrated that participation in the performing arts has therapeutic value by enhancing social interaction, communication skills, self-confidence and self-esteem. The impact of the program has reached beyond the stage to create a social network for children who previously had very few friends and limited social opportunities.

“Our penguins may not be able to fly, but that does not prevent their spirits from soaring.”

-Dr. Andrew Morgan, Founder of The Penguin Project Foundation

Wizard Of Oz Penguin Project 2018

Our 2024 Penguin Project will perform at the majestic theater!

A poster for the sound of music.

It's not too late to join this cast! Rehearsals held at GCT! Performances at The Majestic!


The Story

The final collaboration between Rodgers & Hammerstein was destined to become the world’s most beloved musical. Featuring a trove of cherished songs, including “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” and the title number, The Sound of Music won the hearts of audiences worldwide, earning five Tony Awards and five Oscars. The inspirational story, based on the memoir of Maria Augusta Trapp, follows an ebullient postulate who serves as governess to the seven children of the imperious Captain von Trapp, bringing music and joy to the household. But as the forces of Nazism take hold of Austria, Maria and the entire von Trapp family must make a moral decision.


The Characters

(in order of appearance)

Maria Rainer – A Postulant at Nonnberg Abbey

Opening Number Ensemble:
Mountains, Trees, Birds, a Brook, etc.

Sister Berthe – Mistress of Novices
Sister Margaretta – Mistress of Postulants
Sister Sophia
The Mother Abbess – In charge of the Abbey
Captain Georg von Trapp – A renowned naval officer
Franz – The butler
Frau Schmidt – The housekeeper

The Children of Captain von Trapp:
Liesl von Trapp
Friedrich von Trapp
Louisa von Trapp
Kurt von Trapp
Brigitta von Trapp
Marta von Trapp
Gretl von Trapp

Rolf Gruber – A telegram delivery boy
Max Detweiler – A friend of Captain von Trapp
"The Lonely Goatherd" Ensemble: Goat, Girl In The Pale Pink Coat, Folks In The Town, Mama

Party Scene:
Herr Zeller – A Nazi supporter
Baron Elberfeld – A party guest who is against the Nazis
Party Guests

A New Postulant
Admiral von Schreiber – An Admiral in the Nazi Navy
German Officials

Contestants in the Festival Concert:
The Trio of Saengerbund of Herwegen
Fraulein Schweiger