Written by kids. Performed by grownups. Enjoyed by humans.

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That’s Weird, Grandma: Stories About Food

July 23 - August 27
Monday nights at 8
The Neo-Futurists Theater

Jessie Oliver dressed as a donut and Barry Irving dressed as a dragon singing

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Bring a Group

Barrel of Monkeys proudly presents a side-splitting lineup of food-related sketches adapted from stories written by Chicago elementary school students. Join us in exploring our students’ favorite dishes and culinary traditions - whether on Earth, in space, or in a magical land.


Ticket Prices

Adults - $15
Seniors (65+), Veterans/Military, and Students with ID - $10
Groups of 10 or more - $10 using code MONKEYGROUP at check-out
Children (12 & under) and Teen Arts Pass members - $5


Run time: approximately 65 minutes with no intermission
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About the Director

Joe Schupbach

Joseph Schupbach is a former Artistic Director of Barrel of Monkeys and an Emeritus Company Member. Schupbach has been working with the organization since 2005 and served on staff for the organization for seven years in several roles. He is currently pursuing his MFA in Dramatic Art at University of California, Davis.

Schupbach has directed projects with Barrel of Monkeys, Chicago Dramatists, Compass Players Redux, Akvavit Theatre, North Park University, UC Davis, Murakami Sound Machine, and InGen Productions, a company of which he is co-founder and Associate Artistic Director. He has assistant directed for The Ruffians and The Neo-Futurists and has performed all over Chicago.

What is That’s Weird, Grandma?

That’s Weird Grandma is a sketch comedy show adapted from stories written during Barrel of Monkeys’ creative writing residencies in Chicago elementary schools. Our ensemble of professional adult actors and musicians use these stories to devise sketches, songs, and movement pieces that resonate with adults while celebrating young authors’ imaginations.

Announcing our 2018-19 Season!

Tickets for our first show go on sale August 28

October 7 – November 4, 2018
That’s Weird, Grandma: Ghosts, Ghouls, and Talking Potatoes
Directed by Artistic Director Brandon Cloyd
Sundays at 3 p.m.

Just in time for Halloween, gather ye ‘round for a line-up of scary (and silly) stories featuring creepy twins that appear in photos, talking potatoes getting lost in the woods, Malcolm X fighting zombies and other spooky scenarios imagined by Chicago elementary school students.

December 10 – December 22, 2018
That’s Weird, Grandma Rings in the Holidays
Directed by Artistic Director Brandon Cloyd
Mondays at 8 p.m. + weekend performances

Barrel of Monkeys’ beloved holiday special returns with a mix of classic stories from the That’s Weird, Grandma repertoire alongside brand new sketches and songs. Make That’s Weird, Grandma your family’s newest holiday tradition!

January 20 – February 17, 2019
That’s Weird, Grandma: Star-Studded Stories
Directed by Mary Tilden
Sundays at 3 p.m.

Witness pop culture legends live onstage – or at least pop culture legends as 3rd – 5th graders imagine them! BOM performers portray stars past, present and fictional through outrageous dialogues and choreographed musical numbers.

May 3 – May 25, 2019
That’s Weird, Grandma: Stories That Sing and Dance
Directed by Artistic Director Brandon Cloyd
Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.

Back by popular demand, BOM’s all-musical line-up returns with a mix of new and classic song-and-dance numbers performed to live accompaniment by the talented musicians of Barrel of Monkeys. Now performing in prime-time for the first time ever!

June 24 – August 12, 2019
That’s Weird, Grandma: Fantastic Beasts and the Stories About Them
Co-Directed by Artistic Director Brandon Cloyd and Bradford Stevens
Mondays at 8 p.m.

Meet the strange and wonderful creatures created by Barrel of Monkeys students, from talking animals to intergalactic lifeforms. BOM performers bring these beings to life through song, dance, and ridiculous costumes.

Teen Arts Pass logo

Barrel of Monkeys is excited to be an inaugural Teen Arts Pass (TAP) partner. TAP is a new initiative by Urban Gateways that gives young people ages 13-19 access to $5 tickets to see professional dance, music, and theater performances in and around Chicago. Learn more about the program and sign up here.


Some reviews of the show...

“Barrel of Monkeys brings its A-game every week. That’s not just devotion to the craft: it’s devotion to the cause.”

–Ian Rigg, Chicagoland Musical Theatre

“Barrel of Monkeys’ shows, like chocolate chip cookies, are a source of infinite delight.”

–Jessie Bond, Chicago Splash

“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

Read more reviews

That's Weird, Grandma
That's Weird, Grandma
Barrel of Monkeys That's Weird, Grandma
Barrel of Monkeys That's Weird, Grandma
Barrel of Monkeys That's Weird, Grandma

What's New in TWG?

Food Has Feelings, Too!

Posted by Gavin on August 10

Many Barrel of Monkeys students enjoy imagining what their food thinks. Their stories explore questions such as, “what emotions does a pizza feel?”, “would chicken sandwiches eat humans if they could?”, and “can pies be cannibalistic?” In That’s Weird,… More

Read more in the Monkey Blog

“The most important thing that I learn was writing is full of magic. The best thing you will like about the barrel of monkey is having a world of imagination.”

–Daniel, Lorca Elementary