Penguin Project’s “Annie Jr.” This Weekend

November 17, 2023
From Rise Up Alliance
Photos by Jerri Shafer of
JAMS Photography

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.

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 four months of rehearsals and through the final performance. By providing access to community theater, The Penguin Project demonstrates that the special challenges of a disability should not handicap a child’s ability to participate in life’s experiences.

This weekend The Penguin Project of Rise Up Alliance will be performing Annie Jr. at Thomas Ewing Junior High School (2024 Sheridan Drive, Lancaster, Ohio 43130).

The performances are November 17 and 18 at 7 pm with a 4 pm matinee on Sunday, November 19. Interpreters will be provided for the Friday and Saturday shows.

Seats cost $12,00 for adults and children 12 years of age and older. Active military pay $8.00 and seats for children ages three to 11 cost $6.00. Tickets may be purchased online at