What's up with the Shaggs Musical?
Shaggs NY
 
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Monday, April 8, 2013

Time marches on...like a peg-leg stumbling through a field of bald Uniroyals. Progress has been made, and all the tracks for the cast album have now been recorded, and the mixing has commenced, and the final airbrushing is blasting away some (though not all) of the smudgy coal to reveal the rough diamond of our cast album!

When, exactly, you ask? I know not, exactly. Patience, dear listener/readers. Remember, the Shaggs themselves waited 14 years for the release of their own album. I'm pinning my hopes on a mere 14 weeks from now!

Thursday; October 6, 2011

The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World is a musical I co-wrote with Joy Gregory, directed by John Langs. It is based on the real-life story of the Shaggs, a group of sisters from a small town in New Hampshire who, with the 'help' of their father, recorded a record in the 60's. The record and the group were forgotten until 1980, when the remaining copies of their LP were discovered and hailed as primitive art and as ancestral to the punk movement (or something like that). The music is revered by some as masterpiece, reviled by others as junk. I find their music deeply depressing, but I find the story of how they made that music thrilling. I'm very proud of the musical.

It was developed with the help of Theatreworks in Palo Alto and the Geva Theatre in Rochester, NY, and first produced in LA by the Powerhouse Theatre Company at Inside the Ford, where it broke box office records and won armfuls of awards. It's next stop was in Chicago at the LookingGlass Theatre, where it again did very very well. Next stop, NY, where it ran for 6 performances at the NYMTF in 2006 and garnered great reviews, including by the NY Times.

This past Spring, in a first-ever co-production, Playwrights Horizons and New York Theatre Workshop brought the musical to Off-Broadway for a phenomenal run with a phenomenal cast and phenomenal design. I mean, really, it was phenomenal. 3 of the surviving Wiggin sisters came to opening night, to see our interpretation of their life story. Working on this production was one of the richest artistic experiences of my life.

The recording of the cast album is underway - it should be out sometime in 2012. I'll be sure to let you know...

updated: 4/8/13 10:58 AM