There’s no place like the stage for the more than 100 artists and mentors who make up the cast of this year’s Penguin Project of Sun Prairie Civic Theatre production of “The Wizard of Oz.”

DeForest participants include: Ethan Bauer, Artist, ninth grade; Sierra Farris, Artist, 11th grade; Sylas Morrison, artist, fifth grade; Ivy Morrison, junior Mentor, fourth grade; Gavin Bauer, artist, fifth grade; and Jamello Moorehead, artist, seventh grade.

The beloved story of Dorothy making her way along the yellow brick road to the Emerald City will come to life through a musical theatre program that is a creative home for young performers with special needs or disabilities who wouldn’t otherwise be given the opportunity to perform in a musical theatre production.

“The experience of performing is accessible to everyone thanks to our volunteers, who offer individualized encouragement and support to make the performance experience possible,” said Sara Beth Hahner, executive director for the Penguin Project. Since 2016, artists from the greater Madison area have taken the stage once a year to perform a modified version of a well-known Broadway musical. These artists are joined on the stage by their youth mentors — peer volunteers who work with them side by side during five months of rehearsals. The mentors are responsible for knowing the lines, songs, and blocking of their artists, but appear “in the background” to provide direct assistance only as needed. The Penguin Project enhances social interaction, strengthens communication skills and boosts self-confidence. It also provides an opportunity to create lasting friendships and to be a part of the performing arts community.

Performances of “The Wizard of Oz” are June 21 and 22 at 7 p.m., and June 23 at 2 p.m. at the Sun Prairie Performing Arts Center, located at Sun Prairie High School, 888 Grove Street, in Sun Prairie, Wis. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at or at The Piano Gal on Main Street in downtown Sun Prairie. Any remaining tickets may be purchased at the door prior to the performance. Cost is $16 per adult, $13 for seniors 55 or older, and $11 for students with a valid ID. All seats are general admission.

The Penguin Project of SPCT is made possible in part through a grant from the Sun Prairie Education Foundation, season sponsor McFarland State Bank, and major sponsor Ameriprint Apparel.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.