Cthulhu

Stuff We Love: A Shoggoth on the Roof takes a beloved musical to unmentionable places

Contributed by
May 21, 2018

A Shoggoth on the roof
Sounds crazy — no, certifiably insane!

Maybe you've seen Fiddler on the Roof. Maybe you're vaguely familiar with at least some of the songs. Maybe you even starred in some off-off-off-off-off-Broadway version of it like I did in the seventh grade. If you can say yes to any of these and have an undying devotion to the cult of Cthulhu, the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society (HPLHS) has done the unthinkable by taking that musical to the depths of R’lyeh and mutating it into A Shoggoth on the Roof.

You're not going to think this is serious when you see the playlist on YouTube; there's a funeral-music take on the Fiddler theme that breaks into a robust chorus — "Tentacles! Tentacles!" in place of "Tradition." After that you're going to really start picking up on the lyrics, which speak of unmentionable creatures and human cadavers and the unfortunate scholars whose sanity spiraled into darkness. Then you know that Shoggoth dancing on the roof is for real — and it may or may not consume you before you've finished listening to this blasphemy.

Like your very first time opening up the Necronomicon, there is no turning back.

While you may recognize "Arkham, Dunwich" (aka "Sunrise, Sunset"), "Byakhee Byakhee" (aka "Matchmaker Matchmaker"), "If I Were a Deep One" (aka "If I Were a Rich Man"), and "Do You Fear Me?" (aka "Do You Love Me?") among other tentacled tunes, this musical is not about a human family — or, at least, a fully human one. You won't hear the story of a humble Jewish family marrying off their daughters. What you will be subjected to is a clan of cultists who intermarry and inbreed among fish-people. Instead of a matchmaker, the daughters decide to summon a terrifying life-form from space. Weddings bleed into murders. The corpses get reanimated.

A Shoggoth on the Roof, the Mockumentary is an HPLHS short film-in-progress that spawned from this monstrosity. Featuring Stuart Gordon and Chris Sarandon, it will chronicle the disaster of trying to bring something that huge and tentacled to a Broadway musical, if it ever comes to life. Whatever you do, just don't sing these songs by yourself. You might end up summoning something you'll regret.