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CCT’s Penguin Project announces cast for ‘Little Mermaid’

Published: Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

The Penguin Project has announced the cast for its Sept. 26 through 29 presentation of “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” at Sycamore High School.

Penguin Project, which is operated by Children’s Community Theatre, features children and young adults with disabilities in all of the roles. Most of those artists are assisted by peer mentors who work side-by-side with their artist through a four-month rehearsal process and assists on stage as needed.

This year, the Penguins will present “Disney’s The Little Mermaid,” based on the 1989 animated retelling of the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale.

The cast features Jennifer Busby of DeKalb in the title role, playing across from Adam Wirth of Waterman as Prince Eric. The duo also played the romantic leads in the Penguin Project production of “The Music Man” two years ago. Prince Eric’s right-hand man, Grimsby, is played by Cody Marbutt of DeKalb (mentored by Rebekah Small).

Ariel’s trio of helpful friends are portrayed by Jacob Ihm of DeKalb as Sebastian the Crab, Erin Steele of St. Charles (mentored by Brianna Cada), and Jonah Malecki of Sycamore as Scuttle (mentored by Sarah Grant). Ariel’s protective father, King Triton, is played by Daniel King of Sycamore (mentored by Laura Lahey).

The show’s main villain, Ursula the Sea Witch, is played by Haley Tyrrell of Sycamore (Taylor Vanlanduyt) while her henchmen, Flotsam and Jetsom, are played by Garrett Shuck and Jonnie Schauer (mentored by Alex Riley and Ian Harrison, respectively). The menacing Chef Louie, who makes life miserable for Sebastian, is played by Jacob Collingbourne of Genoa.

Ariel has a collection of musical mersisters played by Shari Schramer (Megan Meyer), Shaelyn West (Izzy Johnson), Kayla Craig (Sammi Hepker), Lauren Cooper (Lauren Duval), Meghan Cheatham (McKenzie Bohlig), and Stephanie Baccay (Lindsey Cooper).

The list of lead characters also includes Scott Heinsohn (Cole Cada) as the court crier and Cierra Bend (Lori Perry) as the castle housekeeper.

The show also includes a large and talented ensemble, that at various times play seagulls, sailors, sea creatures and many other characters. Members of the ensemble are: Joshua Beamish-Austin (Kyle Hess), Rebecca Butler (Sarah Ball), Amanda Christensen (Julianna Klecka), Hannah Dupre (Sarah Horton), Lisa Finkelstein (Sydney Blackburn), Drew Garland (Jack Marbutt), Jake Hickey (Drew Brady), Sarah Holda (Emily Earl), Alyssa McKnight (Cassidy Garland), Justin Parker (Cailtlin Cheatham), Kenneth Perry (Elija Bourge), Nicole Pikula (Jessica Stanberry), Jasmine Robles ( Sarah Lehan), Bobbie Roller (Danny Earl), Sarah Roller (Marie Perry), Benjamin Turk (Sam Naftzger), Grace Turk (Maddie Hickey) and Emily Watson (Raina Sands).

For more information, visit, or follow the show on CCT Penguin Project on Facebook. Tickets will be available to the public starting Aug. 24.

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