The bittersweet story of the Shaggs begins with a strict, delusional father who dreamed that his three talentless daughters could be the next big rock band. They, of course, never made it outside their small New Hampshire town. Instead, Helen, Betty, and Dorothy Wiggin performed childish, tone-deaf ditties, such as “Who Are Parents?” and “My Pal Foot Foot,” and went on to record only one album in 1969 titled Philosophy of the World before disbanding in 1975 upon their father’s sudden death. No one could have guessed that a little more than a decade later, Lester Bangs, in a 1981 Voice piece on the Shaggs titled “Better Than the Beatles (and DNA, Too),” (a play on Shaggs fan Frank Zappa’s declaration in Playboy in 1976 that the trio were “better than the Beatles”) would proclaim their album to be “one of the landmarks of roll ‘n’ roll history.” The sisters have since gained a cult following with fans all over the world, and their fame continues to grow with this new play The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World, a co-production by Playwrights Horizons and New York Theatre Workshop. John Langs directs a cast including Annie Golden, Steve Routman, Sarah Sokolovic, and Emily Walton. Joy Gregory and Gunnar Madsen provide the lyrics. Earplugs not provided.
Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Sundays, 7:30 p.m.; Tuesdays, 7 p.m. Starts: May 12. Continues through July 3, 2011