written by kids. performed by grownups. enjoyed by humans.

that's weird grandma stories that groove

March 12 - April 9

Mondays, 8 p.m. at The Neo-Futurists Theater

Get Tickets

Explore the evolution of music at That’s Weird, Grandma: Stories That Groove, our annual musical revue. We’ve got sketches, songs, and dance pieces, all adapted from stories written by Chicago elementary school students during our creative writing residencies.

Special RESCHEDULED Pre-Show Panel

Theatre, Storytelling, and Social Change
March 19, 7 p.m.

Join Barrel of Monkeys for a pre-show conversation with Chicago arts leaders facilitated by BOM Program Director Shá Norman. We’ll be talking about storytelling as self- and community-care, creating social change through theatre, challenging dominant narratives through stories, and other related topics.

Our panelists are:

Kurt Chiang - Artistic Director, The Neo-Futurists
Brandon Cloyd - Artistic Director, Barrel of Monkeys
Coya Paz - Artistic Director, Free Street Theater

We can’t wait to join in on a robust and fascinating conversation with you!

Meet the Director

eunice woods

Eunice Woods joined Barrel of Monkeys in 2012. In addition to directing shows with the company, she’s also been heavily involved as an actor and teaching artist. Witnessing the creativity of young authors come to life onstage is one of the most gratifying and inspiring parts of her work with Barrel of Monkeys. Outside of BOM, you may have spotted her onstage around town. Chicago credits include Hinter (Steep Theatre),  No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks (Manual Cinema), Parade (Writers Theatre), 10 Out Of 12 (Theater Wit), Little Shop of Horrors (American Blues Theater), The Project(s) (American Theater Company), Sparky! (Lifeline Theatre), The Revel (The House Theatre of Chicago), Dessa Rose (Bailiwick Chicago), Hey! Dancin’! Hey! Musical (The Factory Theater) and more. She also toured DEFAMATION with Canamac Productions. Television credits include Shameless and Chicago PD. She is represented by Gray Talent Group.

Meet the Music Director

Jon Schneidman music director

Jon Schneidman is a Jeff-nominated music director and composer whose work has been seen on stages around the ChicagoLand area. Favorite credits include High Fidelity (Refuge Theater Project), Moby Dick and Thaddeus and Slocum (Lookingglass Theatre), The Nutcracker (House Theatre of Chicago), Ring of Fire (Mercury Theater), and with Chicago Children’s Theatre’s Red Kite program. He joined Barrel of Monkeys in Fall of 2015, and became music director in 2017.

The Ensemble

Jennifer Allman, Juanita Andersen, Barry Irving, Jennifer Johnson, Krista Mickelson, Devin Middleton, and Rachel Wilson 

Watch the Trailer

What is That’s Weird, Grandma?

That’s Weird, Grandma is a variety show of short sketches and songs adapted from stories written by students in Barrel of Monkeys’ arts education programs. The weekly show, now in its 17th year, runs the gamut from clever and funny to touching and poignant, and includes live music, original song-and-dance numbers, wigs and props galore, and a rotating cast of talented professional actors who celebrate the imaginations of children through this raucous performance. Check out our YouTube channel to get a taste of the show!

You probably already knew that the show changes every week, as we adapt new stories and audience members vote on their favorites. But did you ALSO know that we divide the show into themed performances to celebrate all of the different types of stories our students create?

Upcoming Shows

That’s Weird, Grandma: Stories that Groove
Mondays at 8pm, March 12 - April 9

That’s Weird, Grandma: Brand New Stories
Mondays at 8pm, June 18 - July 16

That’s Weird, Grandma: Stories about Food
Mondays at 8pm, July 23 - August 27


Some reviews of the show...

“THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA is for everyone. Everything about Barrel of Monkeys is amazing, their talent for teaching and acting, their mission and vision, their impact, and how they put a smile on everyone’s face.”

–Eden Diez, Buzz Chicago

“Audience members can expect to spend most of the show uncontrollably laughing, giggling, snorting, and perhaps accidentally farting from the abundance of laughing, giggling and snorting. ”

–Ashley Campbell, Edge Media Network

“...between songs, the performers gave more insight into the work they do with the students, describing prompting them with pictures and memories, and teaching them about personal narrative and persuasive argument. This inclusion kept the adult in me interested in Barrel of Monkeys and the importance of their work, while the guilelessness of the children’s material, enhanced by the creativity of the performers, kept the kid in me laughing and giggly for an entire hour.

–Colleen Cottet, Edgechicago.com

Read more reviews

What's New in TWG?

Young People Get It.

Posted by Corinne on November 11

Our students are young, but they are not naïve. They know exactly what took place at the ballot box this week, and inside each of their brilliant minds are opinions and questions and hopes and fears about the future. … More

Inside the Monkeys Studio: Interview with Rawson Vint

Posted by Eunice on July 10

With The Ten Diamonds and Sisters by Michelle A. from the Johnson School of Excellence slated to go into TWG on Monday, I sat down with Rawson Vint, the mastermind behind adapting this story into a song. We chatted about… More

Read more in the Monkey Blog

“The residency was fantastic, very motivating. I was amazed by how much my students enjoyed it.”

–Elva Smith, Dewey Academy