Penguin Project

January 12 & 13 at 7:30 PM

January 14 at 2:00 PM


Penguin Project


Once a year, a magical and touching celebration of the human spirit unfolds at Eastlight Theatre in East Peoria, Illinois. 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. This production is unique, however, because all of the roles are filled by children 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 their “peer mentors”, a group of children the same age without disabilities, who have volunteered to work with them side-by-side and guide them through 4 months of rehearsals and the final production. By creating unrestricted access to the performing arts, The Penguin Project® demonstrates that the special challenges of a disability need not handicap a child’s ability to participate in life’s experiences. For more information, please visit http://www.penguinproject.org/


    • 2004 Annie Jr.
    • 2006 Music Man Jr.
    • 2007 Guys and Dolls Jr.
    • 2008 Beauty and the Beast Jr.
    • 2009 High School Musical Jr.
    • 2010 Fiddler on the Roof Jr.
    • 2011 Disney’s High School Musical Jr.
    • 2012 Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr.
    • 2013 Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr.
    • 2014 Grease! School Edition
    • 2015 Seusical Jr.
    • 2016 Singin in the Rain Jr.
    • 2017 Crazy for You Young Performers Edition
    • 2018 Mary Poppins Jr.
    • 2019 Hairspray Jr.
    • 2020 Legally Blonde The Musical Jr.
    • 2022 Disney’s Newsies Jr.
    • 2023 Footloose Youth Edition