Written by Finegan Kruckemeyer

Produced by Childsplay from Tempe, Arizona

About the Company

Zachary Briddling is unbearably normal. His height is exactly the height of an average boy of an average age. His hair lies exactly the way of an average boy on an average day. And when he dreams at night, he dreams the most average dreams. But Zachary wants to be different – someone who stands out and is special.

So he sets off on an epic journey find his own place in the world, meeting many strange and marvelous characters along the way. This hilarious and imaginative adventure is for anyone who has ever struggled to discover and embrace all that makes them unique and special.


The Grumpiest Boy in the World is written by playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer, winner of IPAY’s 2017 Mickey Miners Lifetime Achievement Award and author of The Tragical Life of Cheeseboy, The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly, and Man Covets Bird

Childsplay is also touring Tomás and the Library Lady 
in 2018-2019 .

Best for Grades: K–5th

Audience Size: Medium Venues

Please enjoy this preview with behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage and interviews with the creative team.
Contact us to watch a full length archival recording.



Company Background

Past Tours: Go, Dog. Go!, The Cat in the Hat, Schoolhouse Rock Live!, and Rock the Presidents

Since 1977, Childsplay has been committed to its mission: “To create theatre so strikingly original in form, content or both that it instills in young people an enduring awe, love, and respect for the medium, thus preserving imagination and wonder, those hallmarks of childhood that are the keys to the future.” 

Childsplay is a resident professional company of adult actors who teach and perform for young audiences and families. The internationally respected theatre company believes that young people deserve to experience theatre of the highest artistic quality. Childsplay has performed for more than 5 million children and adults and has grown to serve an average annual audience of 250,000 children, teachers and families. Childsplay's recent national tours include Tomás and the Library Lady in the 2007-2008 and 2013-2014 seasons, Peter and the Wolf in 2009-2010, Ferdinand the Bull in 2010-2011, Rock the Presidents in 2012 – 2013, 2016 - 2017, Schoolhouse Rock Live in 2014-2015 and Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat in 2015- 2016, 2016 - 2017. 

In addition to Childsplay’s professional productions,  it’s educational programming has expanded dramatically in response to the needs of school partners. Over 1,500 young people attend classes each year in the Childsplay Theatre Academy and nearly 5,000 students experience drama directly in their classrooms through Childsplay’s Education Outreach programs. These programs emphasize experiential learning, language acquisition and literacy competency – essential precursors to overall academic achievement and long-term success across all subject areas. Childsplay believes that by continuing to create strikingly original theatre and connecting to young people’s learning potential, we can build a generation of creative learners, innovative thinkers and dynamic leaders.

Visit the company's website!


Artistic Team

Written by Finegan Kruckemeyer

Directed by Jon Gentry

Scenic Design: Jeff Thompson

Costume Design: Elizabeth Ihlenfeld

Lighting Design: Kara Ramlow

Sound Design: Stephen Christensen

Critical Acclaim

The pace and complexity were great for my students. At times, artistic experiences provided for our grade level are simple in theme and content and the rigor of this performance kept them engaged and wondering about the characters!

—1st Grade Teacher

[My students] absolutely LOVED it!! My students love slap stick humor and were laughing throughout the play.

—2nd Grade Teacher

My students were engrossed and spent a lot of time laughing. The actors were funny and expressive. Thank you!

—Kindergarten Teacher

Great physical comedy. Had our whole family in stitches.

—Family Audience Member

My nephew was captivated. He participated in answering questions after the show although he's usually shy. I loved the themes. And the actors were wonderful! Really good at convincing the children the characters were real. A show adults and kids can both enjoy.

—Family Audience Member

Please reload


Gallery of Past Productions


2017/2018 Dates

See Performances of “Tomás and the Library Lady”: 

October 21, 2017- November 12, 2017 at Tempe Center for the Arts in Tempe, AZ

Or see the company on the road with "Go, Dog. Go!"

Curriculum Connections

  • LITERACY - Reading: Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

  • 21st CENTURY LEARNING- Leadership and Responsibility: Guide and Lead Others - Leverage strengths of others to accomplish a common goal.

  • STEAM- Science: Ask questions based on experiences with objects, organisms, and events in the environment.


Sample Study Guides

Minimum Technical Requirements

  • Load in: 4 hours

  • Crew Needs:  4 minimum to load in (carpenters/electricians/sound), 1 crew member to run the show, show crew to strike.

  • Min. Stage Size: 25 feet wide by 25 feet deep by 11 feet high

  • Soft goods: 3 sets of legs and borders, 1 full black US

  • Sound: Sound reinforcement with six (6) available inputs and four (4) minimum outputs, two (2) monitors

  • Lighting: Theatrical Lighting required.  Childsplay will provide the plot and gobos

  • Load out: 1 hour


Outreach and Workshops

Sensory Friendly Performances

This performance is available as a “sensory friendly” or “relaxed” performance if arranged with the company in advance and with specific direction as to what adjustments are necessary for your venue.

ph: 512-477-1859 | fx: 512-477-3908 | email: | P.O. Box 49036 | Austin, TX 78765
The Grumpiest Boy in the World