Behind the Scenes with Brad

Posted by Ashley on August 5, 2019

A whirlwind, in the midst of a stampede. I think that best describes a typical first week of That’s Weird, Grandma. Things are moving so fast, with songs to learn, stories to remount, choreography to clean up, that when the lights go up, you’re not really sure if you’re truly ready to start the show. But, as is always the case, you settle in, take a deep breath, and trust your amazing cast will rise to the occasion (which they always do), and knock the ball out of the park. This round of Grandma, “Fantastic Beast and the Stories about them”, was no exception.

Dark, weird, quirky, funny, “Fantastic Beast and the Stories about them”, has something for everybody. So take a break from the heat, and get down to the Neo Futurist Theater, for some end of summer fun. The Fantastic Beast inside you will be glad you did.

Nancy and Bryan

Linsey and Kaylyn


MEET The Fantastic Beasts and READ the Stories About Them!

Posted by Brandon on June 21, 2019

This Monday is the Preview Performance of That’s Weird, Grandma: Fantastic Beasts and the Stories About Them and I’m thrilled to share with you now, the BEASTLY student-written-stories kicking off this round. As you know, each week we change a few stories,so make sure you plan your visit before the stories you love TWG.

The Beasts
The Bear with Steel Wings Tells About Opposite Day: A classic BOM story that brings together beloved cartoons with a knowledgable beast.
Extreme Alien Party!: This is a brand new 2019 story that has been turned into an extreme techno dance party!
Attack of the Onomatopoeias!: Who knew figurative language could attack!?!
Unicorn AKA A Horse: A true story about dressing a pet up for halloween. And whether Lucy is a unicorn or a horse, she definitely is the sweetest beast on the list.

The Creatures
Glacier Living with Sharks: This story is all about dolphins saving the world from global warming through dance.
The Oregon Trail: This classic computer game remains relevant even in 2019. Let’s hope the cow makes it to Oregon
Car Insurance Big Accident (Fart): Tigers, Giraffes, and Farts, Oh My
A Toothless Beaver and A Broom: The oldest/fastest story on the list. These characters will not disappoint!

The Goblins, Ghosts, & Ghouls
The Unknown Granddaughter: You thought you knew the Townersons… Well think again because KONNY is back in TWG!
Gobby Got His Freedom: Even though this a new story, Gobby the Goblin feels like a folk tale from long ago.
Horror At Key Lime Cove: This story will make you rethink your trip to the Wisconsin Dells.
The Orphan Girl: Another new story set long ago, that features Mia Blake, 1873 - 1885

The Objects That Come Alive
I Need to Use the Bathroom: This story will dance its way into your heart.
The Living Toilet: Another Bathroom Story?!?! YOU KNOW IT! And you won’t forget it when this toilet opens their eyes.
Evil Devil Printer: Its a hilariously haunting Opera written by a neighborhood student at Peirce International School.
The Fridge: A classic about the importance we put on the material possessions that bring us joy.

I hope you enjoyed reading all of these amazing students’ stories and we can’t wait to perform them for you at That’s Weird, Grandma: Fantastic Beasts and the Stories About Them.

Mondays, June 24-July 15 at 8pm at The Neo Futurist Theatre

Cast Includes: Noah Appelbaum, Linsey Falls, Aissa Guerra, Jennifer Johnson, Tom Malinowski, Emily Marso, Laura Mckenzie, Nic Park, Leo Thorp, and Rawson Vint
Stage Manager: Cedar Larson
Director: Brandon Cloyd

Then Starting July 22 through August 12,  A Brand New Director (Nick Hart) and A Brand New Cast, take over with all new stories in: That’s Weird, Grandma: Fantastic Beasts and the Stories About Them (Part II).

Executive Director Kemper Florin Reminisces on “That’s Weird, Grandma: Stories that Sing and Dance”

Posted by Brandon on May 25, 2019

That's Weird Grandma

New Executive Director, Kemper Florin, speaks on her opening night experience:

As the new Executive Director for the amazing Barrel of Monkeys Productions, I was particularly excited for opening night of That’s Weird Grandma: Stories that Sing and Dance!! (It also didn’t hurt that my background is in musical theatre and opera, so this round was right up my alley!) On opening night, I welcomed our audiences and sensed the excitement as I took my seat. From the upbeat opening number to the last clever closing pitch for supporting Barrel of Monkeys, everyone, including me, laughed out loud and laughed often. The display of talent is truly remarkable and made me feel such pride and gratitude that these artists are also the same ones doing such remarkable work in our schools. As we enter into our closing weekend, I’ll always remember highlights from this run, including when one of our students came with his parents and saw his story about riding in his Bugatti come to life as a catchy K-pop song! The beaming bright smile on his face said it all, and that, my friends, IS something to sing about.

My Bugatti, written by Angelo from McPherson Elementary
                                    My Bugatti, written by Angelo from McPherson Elementary

What are the Stories that Sing and Dance?

Posted by Brandon on April 26, 2019

That's Weird Grandma

We are a week out from opening That’s Weird, Grandma: Stories That Sing and Dance and I am very excited to share with you the incredible stories written by our students that are going into this Musical Extravaganza. You can click on the links to read the student’s original story.

Stories That Sing
Breakin Phone. We are thrilled to finally debut in TWG this groovy song from 8 years ago.
It Hurts is a love song composed in collaboration with the student author herself.
The Prince and Princess is a TWG classic with a twist ending (spoilers ahead).
Evil Devil Printer is a hilariously haunting Opera that is making its TWG debut and was written by a neighborhood student at Peirce International School.

Stories That Dance
Glacier Living with Sharks is all about dolphins saving the world from global warming through dance.
Dear Government was a TWG audience favorite for over a year and its now its back again, asking the question is our government fair to dance teams?
The Queen with No Friends features Voguing, Duck Walking, Sissying that Walk and it continues to be an audience favorite.

Stories That Sing and Dance
Shame is a brilliantly crafted melancholic poem we will sing word-for-word.
Lost Mouth is a cautionary tale about sharing.
One Day Washing Clothes brings a ton of funk to an otherwise tedious chore.

Audience Favorites from the Previous rounds of TWG
The Girl and The Panda returns after premiering in TWG Rings in the Holidays
Malcolm X and the Monster and Zombie Infection. Audiences can’t get enough of Malcolm X fighting zombies to music.
IRS Moles. Now that tax season is over, the IRS Moles are returning!
The Girl Who Said NO! The title says it all!

Brand New Stories (That also Sing & Dance)
My Bugatti is a new story from the nearby McPherson Elementary performed by BOM’s first ever Kpop band.
I Need to Use the Bathroom i also new from McPherson and will dance its way into your heart.
Twisted Trumpet #DontBuyATrumpetFromAWitch

I hope you enjoyed reading all of these amazing students’ stories and we can’t wait to perform them for you at That’s Weird, Grandma: Stories That Sing and Dance.

Fridays and Saturdays, May 3-25 at 7:30pm at The Neo Futurist Theatre

Cast Includes: Noah Appelbaum, Bryan Bosque, Kaylyn Carter, Linsey Falls, Gaby Hirsch, Arielle Leverett, Nic Park, Stewart Romeo, Rawson Vint, Carly Wicks, and Rachel Wilson
Music Director: Jon Schniedman
Stage Manager: Krista Mickelson
Director: Brandon Cloyd



All the BOM Stars are Here

Posted by Gavin on January 31, 2019

That's Weird Grandma

Barrel of Monkeys students love to write about celebrities and pop culture icons - so we decided to bring you some of our favorite pop-culture-inspired stories in That’s Weird, Grandma: Star-Studded Stories. You won’t just see conventional stars in the show, though. We’re also featuring “BOM stars” - beloved characters that have become a staple in our repertoire.

Here are three BOM stars we’re excited to bring to the stage during this round of Grandma!

1. The Evil Horse

Bryan Bosque and Lauren McKenzie performing

The Evil Horse (making their Grandma debut in this round!) comes to us from Isis at Poe Classical School. This horse hates “everything under the sun,” from donuts, to chicken wings, to having fun. Company member Rawson Vint turned Isis’s poem into a song - and now, The Evil Horse’s hatred of everything lives on in BOM infamy.

Hello little kiddies, little ponies, and fillies
I’m an evil horse you see.
I hate everything from donuts to chicken wings
Don’t put them in front of me.

2) Mrs. Rawson

Bryan Bosque and Rawson Vint performing

Mrs. Rawson - a character created by the aforementioned Evil-Horse-song-writing Rawson - originated in the story “How To Get to School in a Fast/Safe Way” by Maggie, Mira, Branden, Sydney, and Javon from Lincolnwood Elementary. They wrote the tale during Persuasive Argument Day, a part of Barrel of Monkeys residencies when we ask students to argue for or against a specific stance.

These students argued that bosses should allow their employees to pick their kids up from school during the workday - and Mrs. Rawson illustrates why this would make the world a better place. When Mom needs to stay late at work, she calls her friend Mrs. Rawson to pick her kids up from school - but thanks to Mrs. Rawson’s not-so-wonderful driving skills, the kids end up in a wild car ride involving lots of swerving, speeding, and near-collisions.

We believe… work should let parents drive and pick up kids to schools. Rocket cars could make the drop off fasters. It is safer when parents drop kids off. Parents know where to go. Your parents get worried when they aren’t the ones. We need our parents!

3) The Man Who Farted

The Man Who Farted comes to us from Angel at Graves Elementary in Summit, IL. The Man has a problem with flatulence - and his diet filled with broccoli and tacos certainly doesn’t help. We turned his tribulations into a classical choir piece - and of course, added in some appropriate sound effects.

The Man was eating cereal then the man farted the man was eating broccoli the man farted again the man was eating tacos the man farted loud the end.

Join us for this Sunday’s opening performance of That’s Weird, Grandma: Star-Studded Stories for more BOM stars. The fun starts at 3pm at the Neo-Futurist Theater in Andersonville - get tickets ahead of time here.

Barrel of Monkeys company members performing the closing number of That's Weird, Grandma