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

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Barrel of Monkeys' That's Weird, Grandma: Star-Studded Stories. January 20-February 17 at the Neo-Futurists Theater in Chicago.

Barry Irving plays Prince during a performance of

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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 musical numbers.

Regular Ticket Prices

Adults - $20
Seniors (65+), Veterans/Military, and Students with ID - $12
Groups of 10 or more - $12 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

head shot of That's Weird, Grandma director Mary Tilden

Mary Tilden is an actor and comedian, originally from South Carolina. She most recently appeared in “The Wolves” at The Goodman, “Our Dear Dead Drug Lord” at the Latinx Theatre Common’s Carnaval and “Hookman” at Steep Theatre. Mary’s writing has been featured at The Paper Machete, The Skewer, Andersonville Lit Crawl and The Neo-Futurists. This is Mary’s second time directing “That’s Weird, Grandma.” As a performer, Mary improvises every Tuesday night at iO Chicago with her team Devil’s Daughter and is currently in pre-production for a short film she’s producing and starring in, written by Calamity West, entitled “Cool for Five Seconds.” You can follow her project on Instagram: @coolforfiveseconds or on Facebook: Cool for Five Seconds- Short Film.   

Current Cast

Juanita Andersen, Bryan Bosque, Kaylyn Carter, Maya Haughton, Barry Irving, Jasmine Jordan, Laura McKenzie, Meredith Milliron, Stewart Romeo, Rawson Vint, and Steph Vondell.

What is That’s Weird, Grandma?

Now in its eighteenth year, That’s Weird, Grandma features adaptations of stories written during Barrel of Monkeys’ creative writing residencies in Chicago elementary schools. BOM’s ensemble of professional actors, comedians and musicians bring the young authors’ stories to life as raucous sketches, songs and movement pieces, performing first for students in their schools and then for the public. These stories - from hilarious dialogues between unlikely characters to poignant pleas for social change - resonate with adults while celebrating the imaginations of young people.

Later This Season

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...

“[BOM's performers are] the perfect blend of over the top energy, comedic timing, and wacky facial expressions . . .”

–Bonnie Kenaz-Mara, ChiIL Mama

“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

Read more reviews

That's Weird, Grandma

Jen Johnson, Mary Winn Heider, and Laura McKenzie performing in
Raquel Torre wearing a shark hat performing in

What's New in TWG?

All the BOM Stars are Here

Posted by Gavin on January 31

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… More

Read more in the Monkey Blog

“There is laughter, fun, joy in every step of the creative writing process in this program.”

–Elsa Carmona, Principal, Little Village Academy