The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

  • NY TIMES

  • BACKSTAGE

  • TM

  • NY DAILY NEWS

  • NORTH JERSEY

Opening Night:
June 7, 2011
Closing:
July 3, 2011

Theater: Playwrights Horizons / 416 West 42nd Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

Set in Fremont, New Hampshire in the early '70s, The Shaggs is based on the true story of a working class dad (Peter Friedman) who has a vision of rock n' roll destiny for his three talentless daughters, convinced they're his family's one-way ticket out of hardship and obscurity. But the girls have ideas of their own - and as their father's ambition turns to obsession, the price of familial obligation becomes all too clear.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World

    Three Sisters, a Deluded Dad and Some Wretched Rock

    Charles Isherwood

    June 8, 2011: Momma Rose may not be the most lovable character in musical theater, but at least she has a sense of humor and a steamer trunk full of galvanizing songs to perform. That’s a lot more than can be said for Austin Wiggin (Peter Friedman), the tyrannical father determined to exorcise his own demons by making stars of his kids in “The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World,” a glum “Gypsy” for the hippie era that opened on Tuesday night at Playwrights Horizons in a co-production with New York Theater Workshop.

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  • BACKSTAGE REVIEW OF The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World

    The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World

    David Sheward

    June 7, 2011: A bizarre combination of "Gypsy" and "The House of Blue Leaves," the new musical "The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World" is an edgy examination of the American obsession with fame and our endless capacity for self-delusion. A co-production of Playwrights Horizons and New York Theatre Workshop, it follows the true story of the title group—a trio of talent-free teenage sisters, Dot, Betty, and Helen Wiggin, whose driven father, Austin, yanks them out of school in the insane belief that their nonexistent musical skills will be the family's ticket out of their depressing New Hampshire town. In the 1980s, the Shaggs' sole, execrable album—"Philosophy of the World," recorded in 1969—was praised by the likes of Kurt Cobain and Frank Zappa as an authentic example of outsider music, granting the group a degree of cult coolness. But it was too late for Austin, who died of a heart attack in 1974. The girls seldom played after their dad's death, and they never left their working-class community.

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World

    The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World

    Andy Propst

    June 8, 2011: A sad story of a man's pursuit of a promise of fame and happiness comes discordantly to life in The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World, now playing at Playwrights Horizons in a co-production with New York Theatre Workshop. It's an ambitious new musical that inspires almost consistent admiration, while also proving to be curiously distancing.

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  • NY DAILY NEWS REVIEW OF The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World

    The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World

    Joe Dziemianowicz

    June 8, 2011: Proof that reality is weirder than fiction? See Exhibit A: Off-Broadway's "The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World." Drawn with poetic license from true events of the '60s, it's one of the most provocative and strange musicals to come along. And that feels right, what with its behind-the-musical back-story.

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  • NORTHJERSEY.COM REVIEW OF The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World

    The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World

    Robert Feldberg

    June 8, 2011: The Shaggs, a 1960's trio of New Hampshire sisters, are a brief, bizarre footnote in the history of rock-and-roll: They're remembered because of their profound lack of talent. The girls, whose real name was Wiggin, were forced to learn to play guitar and drums by their obsessed father, who believed he was fulfilling his mother's prophecy that they would bring wealth and status to the family.

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