Welcome to The Penguin Project

What is the Penguin Project?

Founded in 2004 by Dr. Andy Morgan, Professor Emeritus of Clinical Pediatrics and the former Head of the Division of Child Development at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, the Penguin Project pairs young aspiring artists with special needs/disabilities with typically developing peer mentors to create a unique and wonderful theatrical experience as they perform beloved Broadway musicals. The Penguin Project seeks to empower children with special needs through the beautiful journey of theatre-making.

Who Can Participate?

Artists: are children and young adults ages 8-18 with disabilities, including (but not limited to) cognitive, learning, motor, visual, and hearing impairments, genetic disorders, and neurological disorders and neurodiversity.

Peer-Mentors: are children and young adults ages 8-18 who are typically developing. They will be matched as closely as possible with an Artist of similar age and interests, and the two will work side-by-side through the entire rehearsal and performance process.

Click the buttons below for Mentor + Artist Applications.

The Penguin Project Schedule

ANNIE JR. Performance Dates: April 4-7, 2024

The production will be staged on the Terry Martin Main Stage at the Addison Theatre Centre at 15650 Addison Road, Addison, Texas 75001.

About the Program Director | ASHLEY PUCKETT GONZALES:

As a performer, Ashley Puckett Gonzales has appeared at theatres across the country including Madison Square Garden, The Kennedy Center, and was fortunate enough to make her living in the arts for the better part of 15 years. After many years of living and working in NYC, she chose to explore her voice more fully as a director. She has since directed shows in all levels of the theatrical strata from children’s theatre to Off-Broadway. She is especially proud of WTT’s I Am My Own Wife, The Odd Couple, and the critically acclaimed The Manic Monologues. Ashley is a proud mama to a neurodiverse kiddo, wife to a crazy talented husband, and founder of a 501c3 helping Artists in times of crisis. Follow us on Instagram @gideons_feet or on Facebook.