READ and BE MERRY! Here are the Student-Written Stories in… That’s Weird, Grandma: Holiday Extravaga

Posted by Brandon on December 6, 2019

Thanksgiving is complete, so get out the jingle bells & holly and come celebrate the Holidays with That’s Weird Grandma: Holiday Extravaganza. Did you know you can read all of the stories online before you come to the show? Check them out here!

The Sord features the hilarious dynamic duo of Santa & Krampus
The Unknown Baby: What will you get from Santa?
In Santa’s Mean Day, we learn that even Jolly Old St. Nick can have a bad day.

After a long hiatus The Time I ate a Christmas Ball returns to TWG!
Monica’s Special Xmas Eve is another Holiday Classic about a girl who is the worst at Geography.
Also, Jerry Like to Work... on Christmas eve… Doesn’t he?

Dear Hidoyla teaches the extraterrestrials all about Hanukkah
And OMG I found Sister’s Friend gives a child’s perspective of how adults celebrate NYE

In Way of Soup, Jackie Chan helps Jeff overcome his fears and embrace a delicious comfort food.
The Story of the Weird Monkey is set in the freezing cold land of Cent-o-pia.
In The North Pole, two jungle animals vacation to the Arctic.
The Fire King is one character that has extreme hot-weather blues

Trap of Death, get ready for Coding and Trap Music
Can We Have Super Powers? Is a compelling argument written to God

Evil Devil Printer combines demons with office equipment and its an Opera!
Don and the Three Mimes pits a scientist against performance artists
And then there is The Darkness… Just read it because you’ll love it!

I hope you enjoyed reading all of the students’ stories and we can’t wait to perform them for you at That’s Weird, Grandma: Holiday Extravaganza!!! December 9-December 21 at Fridays at 8pm and Saturdays at 3pm & 8pm at The Neo Futurist Theatre.

Cast Includes: Jen Allman, Noah Appelbaum, Ashley Bland, Bryan Bosque, Annie Calhoun, Kaylyn Carter, Taylor Galloway, Gaby Hirsch, and Brandon Cloyd
Stage Manager: Cedar Larson
Director: Brandon Cloyd

They Affirmed That My Voice Was Worthy

Posted by Ashley on November 18, 2019

As an eight year old immigrant navigating a new country, one of my favorite memories is when I would brave the frigid cold weather and take the bus to the Barrel of Monkey’s program at Loyola Park. With numb fingers I would walk into a warm room full of people excited to create stories together. The teachers in that program affirmed that my voice was worthy and that I could take risks.

Seeing my story performed at Celebration of Authors with my family in the audience helped us feel like we belonged to Chicago a little more and ultimately gave me the confidence to pursue my dream career as an adult. At 20 years old I started work as a stand-up comedian and I was thrilled to stumble on an audition call for Barrel of Monkeys, the company that meant so much to me as a young student. Today, as a full company member, I still get emotional standing behind the curtains and seeing kids experience their stories being brought to life. I know firsthand the magic and powerful transformation that brings.

Stuti COA

Stuti Sharma, Former Student and Current Company Member

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READ the Stories in… That’s Weird, Grandma: Goes Trick or Treating!

Posted by Brandon on October 2, 2019

We are getting so excited about That’s Weird Grandma: Goes Trick or Treating as we bring you a collection of new and old stories to help celebrate Halloween and the horrors imagined by our brilliant students.

Did you know you can read all of the stories online before you come to the show? Check them Out!

The Fire King! A Bob-Fosse-Inspired Must See!!!

Stories About Halloween
Ninja Lovers has been brought back as a favorite of last year’s Halloween show. Its a musical adventure in trick or treating!
The Day it was Halloween provides advice for those who are scared on halloween… eat a candy bar!
Bee careful watching Candyman and other scary movies around Halloween, they may haunt you…

Ghost Stories
The Orphan Girl is an audience favorite, featuring the ghost of Mia Blake 1873-1885
In The Haunted Mansion even ghosts can have sibling rivalries.
The Key reveals dark family secrets

Stories About Revenge
Johny’s Revenge and The Bull Boy is the ultimate story of a 20 year grudge over who should be Benny, the Bull’s Mascot
Don and the Three Mimes, come find out why these mimes love to sabotage Don
Jonny’s Last Day is the Tell Tale Heart with Pigs!

Scary Animals
Family Road Trip Gone Wrong features some freaky pigs
And in The Story of the Weird Monkey, its scary to find out your new name.
The Hair Stylest, mixes werewolves with cosmetology

Real World Horrors
McDonalds is about the horrors of fast food
Evil Devil Printer is about the horrors of home office appliances
And The Wind and the Rain is about the horrors of rain and snow

Monsters, Vampires, and Bears Oh My
We have TWO Monster stories including The Monster which all about being misunderstood Monster Monologue, is about growing up.
Vampire Kiss is a teenage after-school special
And The Darkness, features a bear among other monsters….

I hope you enjoyed reading all of these spooky (and not so spooky) students’ stories and we can’t wait to perform them for you at That’s Weird, Grandma: Goes Trick or Treating. P.S. There will be candy!

Sundays, October 6-November 3 at 3pm at The Neo Futurist Theatre

Cast Includes: Elisa Carlson, Linsey Falls, Barry Irving, Cedar Larson, Tom Malinowski, Nic Park, Brad Stevens, Rawson Vint, and Rachel Wilson
Stage Manager: Daniel Parsons
Director: Brandon Cloyd

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).