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Submit to Hobo Robo 9!

Submissions are now open for our ninth short play festival, HOBO ROBO 9: HOBO’S HEROES, slated for July 25-27 at Stage 773 in Chicago.

We are currently seeking new, original ten-minute comedic plays that focus on superheroes — and nah, we’re not talking about, like, everyday heroes, firemen who save kittens and deserve medals or whatever. We’re talking about people who have hacked life because they touched some plutonium and now can shoot swords out of their eyes or whatever. Whether it’s a parody of an existing superhero, a fantastical serial starring a superhero of your own creation, or a play about a domesticated Superman running out of mustard and having to deal with it, the play’s main objective is this: It has to make us laugh!

The first act of the festival will be comprised of new works by Hobo Junction ensemble members and our frequent collaborators. The second act will contain four submissions from playwrights like you; these final four will compete for audience votes over the three-night event. At festival’s end, the winning playwright receives ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS! Holy Jeebus!

So send us your scripts! We want them smelling like deliciously old comic books by the time they land in our Inbox. (Electronic submissions only, please. PDF or DOC format required.)

Submissions are due by June 1st, 2016 at midnight. Selected plays will be announced no later than June 20th, with the festival itself taking place July 25-27.

We encourage playwrights from all across the world to submit their work. Past submissions have come from countries as far-reaching as France, Russia, and Czechoslovakia … we hope we’re spelling that right. We are a company known for creating Cartoons for Adults, so funny and ridiculous is our bread and butter. Send your plays to Spenser Davis, Hobo President at


*Scripts should be between 7 – 10 pages, not including the cover page and character list.

*The playwright’s personal information should not appear anywhere on the script, including the cover pages; directors will be asked to read the scripts “blind.”

*Each playwright can send up to two scripts. Sending more than two will immediately disqualify that particular writer.

*The plays must be original, not yet produced in Chicago, and fit the festival’s theme of superheroes.

*ENTRY FEE: Or should we say “ENTRY FREE”– It costs nothing to submit!

*CASH PRIZE: $100 to the playwright whose play receives the most audience votes! Due to the high volume of submissions we receive each year, we will be unable to comment on individual scripts.

* DEADLINE: June 1, 2016 at midnight

Thank you, and we look forward to reading your work!

Who Won Hobo Robo 8? Who Drank Dranks?

This year was a madhouse. Host Dan has low iron and ended up with horrible hand marks on his back. Host Josh also directed this year and got his infamous Chad the Bird puppet involved. Host Kevin “Put Me In, Coach” Alves got aaaaall sorts of wasted. But Hobo Robo 8: Hobos With Their Eyes All A-Glow was potentially one of the most competitive year yet, with the top three plays two votes or less away from each other. They were…

“Christmas Turns 30″ by Kristi Parker-Barnhart, directed by Richard Paro

“Azzmetta Abbington’s Mistletoe Meatballs” by John Weagly, directed by Breahan Pautsch

“Away in a Danger” by Kevin Lambert, directed by Kim Boler

You read that right. Four-time champ Richard Paro was dethroned by newcomer Kim Boler (making her Chicago directorial debut!), and Kevin Lambert became the first playwright to win back-to-back festivals. Stage 773 was the perfect host for this crazy-ass competition, after working with them on Sure Thing and our Halloween parody Bernie Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street…’s Brother. Until next year, ya Chumps Who Like Good Stuff!

Hobos Do Halloween… the Sondheim Way

So imagine you’re Kevin Alves, Chicago playwright and actor, and you get an email from Hobo Junction artistic director Spenser Davis saying, “I need a one-act comedy based on the idea that Sweeney Todd has a brother named Bernie, and Bernie has a law firm, but Sweeney’s murderous rampage has become a PR nightmare for Bernie, and now Bernie has to deal with it. It’s kind-of like a sequel to the Sondheim musical but I need original lyrics and his side kick has to be Dr. Frankenstein’s nephew. You have one week.”

You’d have said no, right? Well, he didn’t.

Now imagine you’re Richard Paro, Chicago director and artistic director of Indie Boots, and you get an email from Spenser saying, “Rich, do you want to direct a one-act comedy based on Sweeney Todd? I don’t have a script yet and we open in two weeks and it has a musical number and there will be a huge violent fight scene, OH, you need to figure out fake blood, but come oooon, you like directing, right?”

You’d have said no too, right? Well, he also didn’t.

Basically, here’s the deal: Hobo Junction presents Bernie Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street…’s Brother every Friday the month of October as part of Stage 773′s One Act Festival: Halloween Edition. That’s right. They asked us back. The festival starts at 10:30pm, with a lineup that includes companies we love like Babes with Blades, The Ruckus, and Organic Theatre Company.

We hope you’ll come out and see it. Somehow, these two gentlemen who said yes to Spenser made something hilarious, together with an outstanding cast that includes Hobos Kristi Parker-Barnhart, Travis Barnhart, Kevin Lambert and Elise Spoerlein.

Tickets are on sale now. All performances are produced and staged at Stage 773 in the Belmont Theatre District.

The Hobos @ Stage 773

We got an e-mail the other day going, “What are you guys doing? I can hear things through the walls, and sometimes it sounds dirty and other times like a robot,” and we’re like, “None of your business and when did you get an e-mail address, Mom?”

That said, maybe you’ve had the same question: What’s something we’ve got coming up? The answer: THIS. After the success of the One-Act Chekhov Festival last year, Stage 773 is hosting another community festival, featuring six different plays produced by six different theater companies, all leading to a series of Friday night performances that present its audience with a giftbag of theatrical collaboration that we here at Hobo Junction find just swell.

This year, Stage 773 presents David Ives’ entire “All in the Timing” collection. Hobo Junction artistic director Spenser Davis directs two of his ensemble members, Travis Barnhart and Kristi Parker-Barnhart in “SURE THING,” a short play that follows two complete strangers whose conversation is continuously reset by the use of a dinging bell, which starts over their dialogue whenever one of them responds negatively to the other. It’s a whipcrack of a little comedy, and seeing these two play opposite each other is a friggin delight.

Tickets will be on-sale soon. All performances are produced and staged at Stage 773 in the Belmont Theatre District.

New Hobos in Da House!

We told you 2015 was going to be the year of Getting Stuff Done, and so far… yeah, we’ve been sleeping mostly, but also not really. We’re developing new shows, eyeing interesting left-field venues to perform in, and, most exciting of all, expanding our drunken, exhausted, dare-I-say-mostly-incoherent family. Please welcome two brand new Hobos to the stage: Christopher Waldron and Kevin Lambert.

Chris is a part-time manny who enjoys the finer things in life, including sewing kits and those little metal things that conveniently catch hair that tries to go down the drain. He has also worked with us extensively over the past several years, including numerous Hobo Robo festivals and two installments of the Abbie Fest Awful Night of Crap trilogy. He is currently serves as the Director of Visual Media for our friends at Tympanic Theatre.

Kevin is the sexiest Lambert this side of Adam Lambert. Previously, he has been seen in Awful Night of Crap 3: Jew Tycoons, and was the writer of both Days of Yore (which received an incredibly successful Drinking-in-Public reading at the Greenhouse) and the Hobo Robo 7-winning short comedy It’s a Wonderful Holiday Play. He is also a member of The Ruckus, another company dedicated to the development of new works.

We’re so jazzed to have both of these fellas onboard. But we also encourage you beautiful jerks to keep coming back and checking for more news as we continue to expand our ensemble this season. Our prediction: You’ll have absolutely no idea that it’s happening until we’re everywhere and it’s too late!

Please join us in welcoming these two very funny guys to the team. They’re going to regret ever stepping foot into our sandbox.

2015… Engage.

We’re heading into the new year. That’s right. We know how calendars work. And as we get ready for 2015, we’re talking about doubling down, gearing up, and getting back to the roots of what makes our company such a fun place to work: Alcohol.

PSYCHE. Well, no, we do drink a lot, but what we also do is develop new, original comedies for the Chicago stage. And that’s what we’re about to start doing again.

Over the past few years, we’ve created really funny shows that we’re incredibly proud of, like the commercial smash Bad Guys in Suits, the Fringe hit The Temp, the horror rom-com Horrible, the scifi deportation farce In Pursuit, and the rock musical The Regulars, which involved a whole cast of waiters… the first show that probably ever thought that was a good idea. We look back, we smile, and we want to do more of that.

2014 was the Year of Figuring Stuff Out. 2015 will be the Year of Getting Stuff Done.

On the horizon? A variety show that features heavy substance abuse, not one but two Hobo Robo Festivals, a MainStage adaptation of one of our ridiculous one-acts, a remount of all three Awful Nights of Crap, a holiday showcase in the Summer, and a slew of staged readings of brand new full-length comedies that we’re primping and prepping for the next year or so. Oh, and did we mention we’ll be announcing new Ensemble members!

Keep checking back here as we grab this year by the hair and tell it to “shut up and learn!” We promise we’ll make you laugh at least twice this year, even at the risk of our own reputations.

The Winner of Hobo Robo 7 is…

After three nights of watching hosts Dan Krall and Kevin Alves chug beers, slur words and butcher the names of the 50+ artists we had work on this year’s Hobo Robo 7: Hobos Nipping at Your Nose, the votes were tallied and the winners declared. The top three plays this year were….

“Misanthrope Under the Mistletoe” by Laura Arwood, directed by Wm Bullion
“You Better Watch Out” by Mark Harvey Levine, directed by Benjamin Brownson

“Tofurkey Day” by Allie Costa, directed by Breahan Pautsch

“It’s a Wonderful Holiday Play” by Kevin Lambert, directed by Richard Paro

Congrats to everyone who got tricked into doing this stupid little thing with us, and congrats to the audience for being subjected to it. Better luck next time, People Who Enjoy Substantial Theatre!

What’s New? Jews.

Oh, hey! You been here the whole time?

Sorry. We were napping. Hobo Robo 6 really tuckered us out. And by Hobo Robo 6, we mean lots of inappropriate activities involving mayonnaise … aaaaand it’s awkward.

Here’s the deal: We’re up and running again with Abbie Fest 26, where we plan to conclude our An Awful Night of Crap trilogy with the company-created one-act An Awful Night of Crap Part III: Jew Tycoons. It’s a Western. Jewish tycoons are trying to build an amusement park in the middle of an Indian preserve. That’s really all you need to know right now.

Trust us, it’ll be offensive. But in that way that makes you chuckle, point at the person who said the thing and go, “Yoooooou.”

Keep checking back for details on this and future stuff we’ve got planned!