Music. Madness. And so, so many tentacles.
Via press release today, after months of sold-out performances in Ashland, Portland, and Seattle, Puppeteers for Fears, Oregon’s only dedicated puppet musical horror troupe, will bring its original show, Cthulhu: the Musical!, to Los Angeles for performances June 21-23 at The Hobgoblin Playhouse for the Hollywood Fringe Festival.
Far from the lo-fi puppet show stereotype, the production features a full cast of five actors with elaborate custom-made puppets, a full-rock band, and projected multimedia backgrounds.
The play is adapted from the 1929 short story, “The Call of Cthulhu,” by horror icon, H.P. Lovecraft, and tells the story of his most famous creation: Cthulhu, a giant, malevolent, octopus-faced elder god who hibernates beneath the ocean, communicating to humans through their dreams, slowly driving them mad. Though Lovecraft is not as much of a household name as writers like Stephen King or Edgar Allen Poe, he is widely considered to be the creator of the genre of gothic horror, and the creatures and themes he created are highly influential on modern literature of all genres. The story PFF chose to adapt is dark, disturbing, and totally unfit for musical comedy—all qualities that make it a perfect fit for their irreverent style.
“We are always looking to turn classic themes on their head instead of rehashing tired storylines,” says PFF Artistic Director Josh Gross. “So when thinking about what our next piece might be, I sometimes add the words, ‘the musical,’ to different phrases in conversation to see how people react, if it has that magic combination of familiar hook, and new twist. When I said, ‘Cthulhu: the Musical,’ for the first time, a bunch of heads immediately turned in my direction, and strangers started asking where they could see it. So I knew we had to do that as a show, even though the challenge of turning something so dark into musical comedy was pretty daunting. It was definitely worth it though. There was a lot of comedy to be found and this show is so much fun to perform.”
Cthulhu: the Musical! will be directed by Beth Boulay, and with a script and original songs from playwright Josh Gross. Performances will feature live puppetry, a full rock band, and multimedia backgrounds courtesy of visual artist and Production Designer, Aubry Hollingshead. It stars Rachel Routh, Beth Boulay, Alyssa Mathews, and Forest Gilpin.