The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World
Original Off-Broadway Cast Recording

POTW Cover1500

A musical inspired by the story behind what some consider to be the worst rock recording of all time (but hailed by others as an outsider masterpiece), it’s like the history of the Beach Boys or the Jackson 5 as told from another dimension.

Co-written with Joy Gregory and John Langs over the course of 11 years (first workshop production in 2001, premiered at Inside the Ford in Los Angeles in 2003, reworked for the 2004 season at LookingGlass Theatre in Chicago, reworked again at the Beckett Theatre in NY in 2006, and most recently produced Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons, Summer 2011 (a co-production of New York Theater Workshop and Playwrights Horizons).

Book, Lyrics, Story by Joy Gregory
Lyrics, Music, Story by Gunnar Madsen
Story by John Langs
Directed by John Langs

FEATURING
Kevin Cahoon
Peter Friedman
Annie Golden
Jamey Hood
Steve Routman
Cory Michael Smith
Sarah Sokolovic
Emily Walton

Scenic Designer: Mimi Lien
Costume Designer: Emily Rebholz
Lighting Designer: Geoff Korf
Sound Designer: Darron L West
Music Director: Aaron Gandy
Choreographer: Ken Roht
Production Stage Manager: Lori Lundquist
Music Coordinator: John Miller

“They defined cult status – and were gone in the blink of an eye.  Fremont, NH, the early 70s.  A working class dad 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.  Based on a true story.”

THERE ARE VERSES IN THE BODY
THE OPEN EYE CAN SEE
THERE ARE PATTERNS WE DREAM
AND PATTERNS WE BREATHE
AND PATTERNS IN THE MARKS THAT A FINGERTIP LEAVES…

THE LIFE THAT YOU WANT IS ALREADY THERE
IN LINES OF SHADOW AND LIGHT
THE LOVE THAT YOU WANT IS ALREADY THERE
IT STANDS LIKE A HOUSE IN THE NIGHT.
IN THE NIGHT, IN THE NIGHT…

I SEE A BRIDE WITH REDDISH HAIR
GOLDEN RED LIKE AN EMPEROR’S DESIRE.
I SEE A HOUSE, A LITTLE WORSE FOR WEAR,
A BLESSED HOUSE THAT NO ONE WILL ADMIRE
BUT THE GIRLS, SHE SAID
THE GIRLS, THE GIRLS…

OH THE RICH PEOPLE WANT WHAT THE POOR PEOPLE’S GOT,
AND THE POOR PEOPLE WANT WHAT THE RICH PEOPLE’S GOT,
YOU CAN NEVER PLEASE ANYBODY IN THIS WORLD — IN THIS WORLD!

THERE ARE VERSES IN THE BODY THE OPEN EYE CAN SEE,
PATTERNS WE DREAM AND PATTERNS WE BREATHE AND PATTERNS IN THE MARKS THAT A FINGERTIP LEAVES

THE LITTLE KIDS WANT WHAT THE BIG KIDS GOT,
AND THE BIG KIDS WANT WHAT THE LITTLE KIDS GOT, YOU CAN NEVER PLEASE ANYBODY IN THIS WORLD!

THE LIFE THAT YOU WANT IS ALREADY THERE IN LINES OF SHADOW AND LIGHT,
THE LOVE THAT YOU WANT IS ALREADY THERE, IT STANDS LIKE A HOUSE IN THE NIGHT,
IN THE NIGHT, IN THE NIGHT…
THE GIRLS ARE THE THING THAT’S GONNA SAVE YOU,
THE GIRLS ARE GONNA BRING YOU TO THE LIGHT.
I DON’T KNOW HOW THEY’LL DO IT,
THAT’S FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND…

© 2011 Gregory/Madsen/Wiggin

Career Day

WHY DO I NEED A DUMB CAREER DAY WHEN I’M ONLY GONNA GET KNOCKED UP ANYWAY?
CAREER DAY, NO WAY!
I AIN’T GONNA BE A STUPID SECRETARY. CAREER DAY, IT’S MY DAY!
NO ONE’S GONNA TELL ME WHAT TO —

EVERYTHING IS OPEN TO YOU,
IMAGINE IT AND MAKE IT COME TRUE…

OH, REALLY, HOW’S THAT WORKING FOR YOU!?!

COME ON, LET’S TELL HIM HOW IT’S REALLY GONNA BE!

CAREER DAY, FOR REAL DAY
WHO SAYS WE’RE ALL GONNA BE SOMETHING?
CAREER DAY, FOR WHAT DAY?
WE DON’T WANT TO LOCKSTEP TO YOUR —

TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, FAILURE,
WHAT’S IT GONNA BE?

BURN DOWN ALL THE FACTORIES!
THROW MY WEDDING DRESS IN THE SEA!

WHAT I’M REALLY GONNA BE IS THE GUY WHO SPINS ALL THE ROCK AND ROLL RECORDS FOR THE KIDS WHO LISTEN IN…

CAREER DAY! CAREER DAY!

I’M GONNA BE A SUPER COOL DJ!

CAREER DAY! IT’S OUR DAY!
NO ONE’S GONNA TELL US ANYTHING!

EVERYBODY’S SAYING WHAT I GOTTA BE BUT ALL I REALLY WANNA BE IS ME!
CAREER DAY! IT’S HERE DAY!
AND I JUST WANNA BE SEVENTEEN!
CAREER DAY! A CLEAR WAY —
I WISH I COULD SEE!

MOTHER, MRS., TEACHER, SEAMSTRESS, WHAT’S IT GONNA BE?

RIDE A MOTORCYCLE AND SEE
WHAT IT REALLY MEANS TO BE FREEEEEE…
NOW WE CAN LIVE FREE OR DIE!
CAREER DAY, CAREER DAY…
CAREER…DAY!

© 2011 Gregory/Madsen

Helen:

YOU, YOU, IMPOSSIBLE YOU
HOW CAN WE BECOME TWO?
TOGETHER, TOGETHER, ME AND YOU
HOW COULD THAT BE TRUE?
THERE’S AN EMPTY BENCH IN THE LONELY PARK IN MY HEART
WE COULD SIT THERE AND NOT SAY ANYTHING ‘TIL IT’S DARK
AND WHEN IT’S NIGHT AND THE STARS APPEAR
WE COULD FLOAT LIKE BALLOONS THROUGH THE ATMOSPHERE
AND SEE THE MYSTERIES OF THE GALAXY COME CLEAR
DREAMS, DREAMS, AND FANTASIES THEY DON’T TELL ME THIS:
WHAT’S THE WORLD THAT PEOPLE SEE WHEN THEY CLOSE THEIR EYES AND KISS?
IS IT A UNIVERSE THAT GOES BY ANOTHER NAME?
OR A BACKYARD UPSIDE-DOWN IN A DROP OF RAIN?
AND WHEN THE KISS IS ENDED AND WE OPEN OUR EYES
HAVE WE LANDED OR JUST BEGUN TO FLY?
WILL THE MYSTERIES OF ETERNITY COME CLEAR?
THERE’S A ROOM CALLED LOVE WHERE THE SECRETS COME UNDONE
AND THEY KEEP IT CLOSED ‘CAUSE THEY THINK THAT WE’RE TOO YOUNG…
I WANT TO OPEN IT WIDE, SEE THE PULSING LIFE
I WANT TO LIFT MY VEIL AND UNCOVER A WIFE
AND SEE THE MYSTERIES OF UNITY COME CLEAR
KING OF THE COSMOS AND BEAUTY QUEEN
I KNOW, BABY, WE COULD MAKE THE SCENE
FROM FREMONT TO HEAVEN AND IN BETWEEN
IN YOUR SPACE MACHINE…

© 2011 Gregory/Madsen/Wiggin

Austin:

THE GIRLS ARE THE THING THAT’S GONNA SAVE YOU,
THE GIRLS ARE GONNA LEAD YOU TO THE LIGHT,
I KNOW HOW THEY’LL DO IT,
YEAH, I FINALLY UNDERSTAND:
(spoken)
The girls are gonna play in a band.
(singing)
YES, THE GIRLS ARE GONNA PLAY IN A BAND, MY GIRLS ARE GONNA PLAY IN A BAND!

© 2011 Gregory/Madsen

Annie:

AN OBJECT AT REST TENDS TO STAY AT REST AND AN OBJECT IN MOTION TENDS TO STAY IN MOTION
WITH THE SAME SPEED AND IN THE SAME DIRECTION
UNLESS ACTED UPON BY AN UNBALANCED FORCE–
THIS IS CALLED INERTIA.

THIS DETAILED IMPRESSION OF A WOMAN TRAPPED IN ASH
INDICATES HOW THE CITY OF POMPEII WAS BURIED WHEN MOUNT VESUVIUS ERUPTED…

© 2011 Gregory/Madsen

Dot:
DON’T SAY NOTHING BAD ABOUT MY DAD.
IF YOU DO, YOU’RE ONLY PUTTING ME DOWN, TOO.
I KNOW WHAT PEOPLE SAY: IF THEY WERE ME THEY’D RUN AWAY.
BUT HE’S THE ONLY DAD I EVER HAD,
HE’S MY ONLY DAD.
HOW’D YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOUR LIFE A FREAK?
TAKE THE STUFF THEY THROW AT YOU AND TURN THE OTHER CHEEK.
THEY CALL YOU NAMES OR WORSE: THEY BARELY NOTICE WHEN YOU’RE THERE.
BUT I’M THE BRIGHTEST STAR ON HIS CHRISTMAS TREE,
‘CAUSE HE BELIEVES IN ME.
I’M NOT A COW, YOU KNOW I AIN’T THAT DIM.  I DON’T GO CHASING RAINBOWS ON A WHIM.
I DON’T BELIEVE IN MIRACLES,
BUT IF THERE CAN BE MIRACLES,
THE GUY WHO CAN DO MIRACLES IS HIM.
DON’T SAY NOTHING BAD ABOUT MY DAD.
HE’S GOT HIS REASONS, HE DON’T NEED NO RHYMES.
THE NORTHERN STAR ABOVE LED PILGRIMS ALL THE WAY TO ROME,
AND I WILL FOLLOW HIM WHERE HE’S LEADING US,
‘CAUSE WHERE HE’S LEADING US IS ALWAYS HOME.
I MAY NOT BE HIS ONLY GIRL,
OR EVEN HIS FAVORITE GIRL,
BUT DON’T SAY NOTHING,
DON’T SAY ANYTHING,
DON’T SAY ANYTHING BAD ABOUT MY DAD.
MR. WILSON, I HEARD WHAT YOU SAID,
AND I KNOW YOU ONLY WANT WHAT’S BEST FOR ME.
BUT BEST WILL ALWAYS BE BETWEEN MY FAMILY AND ME.
SO DON’T SAY ANYTHING,
DON’T SAY NOTHING,
DON’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT MY DAD.

© 2011 Gregory/Madsen

Annie:
CAPTURE THE BUTTERFLIES WITH THE NET
AND PLACE THEM IN THE POISONING JAR, WHICH CONTAINS COTTON SOAKED WITH ETHYL ACETATE.
FUMES FROM THE POISON WILL KILL THE BUTTERFLIES.
USE TWEEZERS TO REMOVE THE DEAD ONES.  PLACE THE BODY OF EACH INSECT ON THE MOUNTING BOARD
AND INSERT A PIN THROUGH THE THORAX–
(spoken)
I need a cigarette.

© 2011 Gregory/Madsen

Kyle:
SHE’S NEVER HEARD OF SMILEY.
SO WHAT, IT DOESN’T MATTER.
Betty:
HE LOVES SOME GUY NAMED SMILEY,
COULD THAT BE ANY SADDER?
Betty/Kyle:
HOW COME IT’S NOT AS COOL
AS WHEN HE/SHE TALKED TO ME AT SCHOOL?
Kyle:
COME ON, SMILEY…
Betty:
COME ON WORLD…
Betty/Kyle:
SHOW ME THE MAGIC I BEEN WAITING FOR,
IT’S GOTTA BE HERE TONIGHT,
IT’S GOTTA BE SOMETHING MORE THAN EVERY DAY STATIC,
SHOW ME THE MAGIC,
SHOW ME WHAT’S POSSIBLE.
Kyle:
BEFORE I GET SENT TO ‘NAM —
Betty:
BEFORE I END UP LIKE MOM —
Betty/Kyle:
BEFORE IT GOES TRAGIC, GIVE ME ONE NIGHT OF MAGIC…
Kyle:
(spoken)
So what do you think of Smiley?
Betty:
He’s okay. Kind of a weird name.
Kyle:
That’s just his blues name. He got it ‘cause he was missing his front teeth after he got in this fight. Which makes it a perfect blues name, in a way.  ‘Cause he’s named after what he doesn’t have, you know?
Betty:
THIS IS MAGIC?  IS THIS MAGIC?  I CAN’T FEEL THE MAGIC.
MAYBE SOMETHING’S WRONG WITH ME…
I RUIN EVERYTHING.
Kyle:
OH GOD I’M TALKING TOO MUCH,
WHY AM I TALKING SO MUCH?
HER EYES ARE GLAZING OVER,
NOW, I GOTTA MAKE MY MOVE,
I CAN’T JUST MAKE A MOVE,
I GOTTA WIN HER OVER…
Betty:
IF I JUST THINK OF STEVE MCQUEEN
IN A MOVIE MAGAZINE
I CAN CLOSE MY EYES AND FEEL THE MAGIC
EXCEPT HE’S TALKING WAY TOO MUCH, AND ALL THE STUFF HE SAYS IS SUCH A BORE–
Betty:
ONE THING DAD WOULD SAY AND THAT’S FOR DAMN SURE:
Betty/Kyle:
IF THERE’S NO MAGIC,
THEN YOU MAKE YOUR MAGIC,
THAT’S THE ONLY MAGIC IN NEW HAMPSHIRE.
Betty:
(spoken)
Yeah. Well, I guess I’m gonna go crawl back in my mayonnaise jar and practice guitar for the rest of my life. It was nice knowing you.
Kyle:
Wait a minute — you play the guitar?
Betty:
I torture one. That’s why my dad took us out of school, so we could start a stupid band.
Kyle:
You’re in a band? You and Dot and… Helen?

Kyle:
(singing)
I FEEL THE MAGIC!
Betty:
I feel kind of sick…
Kyle:
WHAT I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR!
Betty:
What am I doing here?
Kyle:
I KNEW IT WAS HERE TONIGHT.
Betty:
Oh well, it was worth a shot…
Betty/Kyle:
BUT MAGIC’S NOT IN THE STARS–
Kyle:
IT’S DRUMS AND BASS AND GUITARS!
Betty/Kyle:
SALVATION–
Betty:
IT’S NOT HERE TONIGHT, BUT I’D SETTLE FOR
Kyle:
I CAN FEEL
Betty/Kyle:
ITS REFLECTED LIGHT…
ONE THING I KNOW AND THAT’S FOR DAMN SURE:
Betty:
(as she leaves)
THERE IS NO MAGIC…
Kyle:
THERE JUST MIGHT BE MAGIC…
Betty:
THERE IS NO MAGIC…
Betty/Kyle:
…IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

© 2011 Gregory/Madsen

CHARLEY
I’m saying I want to bring your girls home, man. A home for the kind of music only true aficionados can appreciate.
This is starting to capture Austin’s interest.
AUSTIN
Okay.
CHARLEY
Now you know what I’m talking about?
AUSTIN
I think so.
CHARLEY
Yeah.
(singing)
DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR,
DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE?
DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR,
DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE?
THAT’S CONNECTION, IT’S SIMPATICO
THAT’S REFRACTION OF THE STATUS QUO,
THEY CAN SHA LA LA LA LA LA LIVE FOR TODAY,
THEY’RE CO-OPTED, MAN, WE’RE OUTSIDE OF THE FRAY,
WE’RE NOT RIGHT! WE’RE NOT LEFT!
WE’RE NOT BEGGING FOR LOVE ALL ABUSED AND BEREFT!
YEAH, I KNOW WHAT I KNOW, AND I KNOW WHAT I SEE
WE ALL WANT A PIECE OF THE P-I-E
BUT PEOPLE LIKE US, WE DON’T GET IT FOR FREE, PEOPLE LIKE US MAKE OUR OWN DESTINY
DESTINY

AUSTIN
Destiny.

CHARLEY
YEAH, DESTINY…
I SEE IT IN YOUR EYES, AUSTIN.
I KNEW, I KNEW THAT YOU’D KNOW,
THERE’S A PLACE IN THE SUN FOR THE CHOSEN ONES
SO IT’S TIME TO STEP OUT FROM THE SHA-A-DOWS,
THIS IS ME, THIS IS YOU,
IT’S A RED-HEADED STEPCHILD’S DREAM COME TRUE — TAKE A CHANCE,
CAN’T YOU SEE,
CAN’T YOU SEE,
CAN’T YOU SEE,
CAN’T YOU SEE…

AUSTIN
This is the future. Right here. Right now.
I CAN SEE,
I CAN SEE,
I CAN SEE,
I CAN SEE —

BETTY
LISTEN TO ME. IT’S NOT THAT HARD. YOU JUST CLIMB OUT THE WINDOW, OVER THE FENCE, AND NO LOOKING BACK.
DOT
What’s going on?
BETTY
Nothing.
DOT
Where’s she going?
BETTY
She’ll be back in a few hours.
As for me, don’t wait up.
DOT
What are you doing? You can’t just leave!
BETTY
Why not? What’s stopping me?
(singing)
CAN’T YOU SEE,
CAN’T YOU SEE,
CAN’T YOU SEE —

DOT
I MAY NOT BE HIS ONLY GIRL
OR EVEN HIS FAVORITE GIRL–

BETTY
DOT, DON’T SAY ANYTHING,
DON’T SAY NOTHING,
DON’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THIS TO DAD.

CHORUS
THERE’S A ROOM CALLED LOVE WHERE THE SECRETS COME UNDONE,
AND THEY KEEP IT CLOSED ‘CAUSE THEY THINK THAT WE’RE TOO YOUNG…
THE LIFE THAT YOU WANT IS ALREADY THERE IN LINES OF SHADOW AND LIGHT,
THE LOVE THAT YOU WANT IS ALREADY THERE, IT STANDS LIKE A HOUSE IN THE NIGHT,
IN THE NIGHT, IN THE NIGHT!

AUSTIN
Where’s Helen?

© 2011 Gregory/Madsen

Austin
I HAVE A DREAM, GIRLS,
A FEVER DREAM, GIRLS,
I GOT A SOUND IN THE MIDDLE, THE MIDDLE OF MY HEAD.
AND IT’S A SOUND, GIRLS,
FROM UNDERGROUND, GIRLS,
IT’S GONNA CARRY YOU DOWN THE RIVER WHEN YOU’RE DEAD.
IT’S A SCREAM AIN’T IT,
HOW IT SEEMS DON’T IT,
THAT THE PROMISED LAND IS ALWAYS JUST AHEAD,
DON’T LOOK DOWN, BABY,
DON’T LOOK UP, HONEY,
KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE LIKE I SAID.
(howling)
AH-OOO, I HEAR THE MOTHER WOLF CALLING!   AH-OOO, BRING YOUR BABIES BACK HOME!    AH-OOO, WE’RE GETTING CLOSER TO YOU NOW!
CLOSER THAN THE BLOOD INSIDE OUR BONES

I WANT TO BLESS YOU, MOTHER,
I WANT TO KISS YOU, LORD,
I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR SALVATION CLOSE AT HAND.
IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME, JESUS,
SINCE I FELT YOUR TOUCH,
BUT NOW I’M TELLING YOU I’M ONE BELIEVING MAN.
ALL THE WASTED YEARS DON’T MEAN NOTHING NOW,
I CAN FEEL THE TIME OF PROPHECY’S BEGUN,
‘CAUSE I KNOW YOU ROSE AFTER THREE LONG DAYS,
BUT TOMORROW IT’LL ONLY TAKE US ONE.
AH-OOO, I HEAR THE MOTHER WOLF CALLING!   AH-OOO, SEE YOUR BABIES ARISE!
AH-OOO, GIVE US ALL WE GOT COMING
OR LAY ME DOWN AND LEAVE ME HERE TO DIE!

Annie
OH, THE AIR’S GETTIN’ THIN, I’M FLYIN’ THERE’S A CHILL ON MY SKIN, I’M FLYIN’ AND THIS WORLD MADE OF WOE, IT’S SO SMALL DOWN BELOW,
‘CAUSE INSIDE WHERE I GO, I’M FLYIN’

FLYIN’ UP ABOVE THE CLOUDS, I GO SOARIN’ FLYIN’ UP ABOVE THE CLOUDS, I FLOAT FREE,

OH, I KNOW ALL THE WAYS HE’S TRYIN’
WHO AM I TO SAY FATE MIGHT BE LYIN’?
BUT THOSE STARS THAT HE SEES COULD BE DUST IN THE BREEZE,
AND WE’RE DOWN ON OUR KNEES WHILE HE’S FLYIN’

FLYIN’ UP ABOVE THE CLOUDS, HE GOES SOARIN’
FLYIN’ UP ABOVE OUR HOME, HE FLOATS FREE,

IF I SAID I WAS THROUGH WITH TRYIN’
I COULD PACK UP AND LEAVE, NO MORE CRYIN’
I’D BE HALFWAY TO GONE —
THEN TURN BACK BEFORE DAWN
‘CAUSE IT’S HERE I BELONG
OR I’M DYIN’

Dot
REMEMBER THAT FEELING IN SWIM CLASS BEFORE YOU DIVE IN?
Betty
THE WATERY LIGHT ON THE CEILING, THE LAST LONG BREATH IN.
Dot and Betty
FOR ONCE YOU DON’T CARE IF YOUR SWIMSUIT’S TOO TIGHT,
IT’S ALL ABOUT GETTING THIS ONE MOMENT RIGHT
Dot
YOUR BODY’S A MIRACLE WAITING TO BE FREE.
Betty
WE NEVER DID SWIM SO GOOD…
Dot
THIS COULD REALLY BE…
Betty
THINK OF THE NIGHT BEFORE SCHOOL WHEN IT ALL SEEMS SO GREAT.
LIKE MAYBE THIS YEAR’LL BE DIFFERENT, YOU CAN’T EVEN WAIT,
BUT THEN ONCE YOU’RE THERE IT’S THE SAME ONLY WORSE
WHAT IF THIS WHOLE THING TURNS OUT TO BE CURSED?
Helen and Betty
AND THEN WE’LL BE EVEN WORSE OFF THAN BEFORE IT BEGAN.
Dot, Helen and Betty
NOTHING EVER ENDS UP THE WAY IT SEEMS.  ANYWAY…GOOD NIGHT. SWEET DREAMS.

THE NIGHT BEFORE IS MY FAVORITE PART,
THE BREATHING AND WAITING BEFORE IT STARTS,
WHEN EVERY BEAT OF MY HEART IMPARTS A PROMISE.

THE NIGHT BEFORE IS MY FAVORITE PART.  EVERYTHING’S BETTER BEFORE IT STARTS.  BETTER THAN WISH OR HAVE OR LOSE IS PROMISE.
Annie
SLEEP, I JUST WANT TO SLEEP…
Mr. Wilson, Charley, Kyle
SLEEP. SLEEP. DREAM.
Austin
The Shaggs are real. Pure.
Dot, Betty
A PROMISE.

Kyle
BIRDS ON THE ROOFTOP,
MATCHES BY THE STOVE,
MOM SLEEPS IN ‘TIL I WAKE HER
ORDINARY MORNING
ORDINARY GUY
ORDINARY DAY.

ORDINARY DAY.

Annie
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER,
LAUNDRY ON THE LINE
COLDER THIS YEAR THAN LAST YEAR
ORDINARY DINNER
ORDINARY LIFE
ORDINARY DAY

ORDINARY DAY.

Kyle
SLEEPING AND WAKING,
BREAKFAST AND WORK,
LEAVE AND IT GOES ON LIKE WATER
Helen and Kyle
CAN YOU SEE A DOORWAY
OPEN IN THE SKY
OF THIS EXTRAORDINARY DAY?

Charley
CAN’T YOU SEE, CAN’T YOU SEE, CAN’T YOU SEE, COME ON, CAN’T YOU SEE…?

THIS IS REAL, THIS IS TRUE, IT’S A KODACHROME PICTURE IN BLACK AND BLUE,
THIS IS SOMETHING WE’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE,
IT’S LIKE INNOCENCE BUT IT’S TWISTED, IT’S LIKE RARE ‘CAUSE IT’S EVERYDAY,
IT’S THAT FEELING YOU GET WHEN THE SKY GOES GRAY,
THIS IS REAL, THIS IS TRUE,
IT’S A TRAIN OFF THE RAILS COMING STRAIGHT AT YOU,
IT’S THE RATTLE OF THE BRANCHES WHEN THE LEAVES HAVE BLOWN AWAY,
IT’S LIKE BLOOD-STAINED PAJAMAS,
A SWEET DESOLATION
AN EMPTY PLAYGROUND ON CHRISTMAS DAY
CHECK IT OUT, TAKE A SPIN,
‘CAUSE IT AIN’T JUST A RECORD, IT’S THE STATE I’M IN,
THEY’RE EVERY GIRL YOU LEFT TO HANG LIKE LAUNDRY ON A LINE,
THEY’RE A UFO IN A CORNFIELD,
THEY’RE A RUSTED LAST-CHANCE GAS STATION SIGN,
THIS IS REAL, THIS IS TRUE, IT’S BEYOND GOOD AND BAD,
JUST FORGET WHAT YOU KNEW,
IT’S THE SOUND OF THE HEART OF EVERY FUCKED UP KID YOU THINK YOU KNOW
AND IF YOU DON’T GET THAT RICHIE,
IF YOU DON’T GET THAT, MAN
WELL, HEY, YOU JUST KEEP WALKING PAST VAN GOGH

Dot
MY HEAD IS AN EMPTY BIRDCAGE
A RUMPLED BEDSPREAD
DAD’S OLD TV CHAIR
A BURN ON THE RUG FROM THE TIME MOM DROPPED HER CIGARETTE
Helen
CIGARETTE
Dot
THE SKY IS THE COLOR OF WATER THAT’S BEEN USED TO WASH OUR SOCKS.
Dot and Betty
THE NEIGHBOR’S DOG IS STRAINING AT HIS ROPE
Helen
LEASH.
Dot, Helen and Betty
VENUS IS A PLANET
MARS IS SMALLER AND RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO IT JUPITER’S HUGE
WITH A BIG RED STORM THAT GOES ON FOREVER
Helen
EVER

Betty
IF ONLY I COULD GET MY DRIVER’S LICENSE
Dot, Helen and Betty
IF ONLY I COULD GET MY DRIVER’S LICENSE
I WOULD DRIVE
I WOULD LEAVE
I WOULD DRIVE FOREVER
I WOULD LEAVE
I WOULD DRIVE
TIL THE CAR RAN OUT OF GAS
Helen
THEN I’D LAY DOWN IN THE GRASS
Dot
AND LIVE THERE
Dot, Helen and Betty
ANYWHERE
ANYWHERE
ANYWHERE…

Dot
DID YOU SEEEEE?
Helen
I WISH HEEEEE…
Betty
WE’RE FREEEEEE!
Austin
I AM TRYING, GOD,
I AM WAITING HERE,
I AM ABANDONED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD.
Dot
DID YOU SEE HOW THEY TREATED HIM?
Betty
AH, I CAN FINALLY BEGIN
Helen
I COULDN’T LOOK AT HIM…
Dot
I KNOW IT’S MY FAULT, IT’S ME…
Dot, Helen and Betty
NOW IT’S BACK TO BEING STRANGERS, NOBODY STRANGER THAN ME.
Austin
THE PROBLEM AIN’T ME, HERE.
THE PROBLEM IS YOU.
THE PROBLEM IS YOU LIKE IT IN THE MUD.
YOU LIKE HOW IT FEELS.
YOU LIKE HOW IT SMELLS.
YOU PROBABLY GOT IT RUNNING IN YOUR BLOOD.
YOU COULD TRY IF YOU WANTED,
Dot, Helen and Betty
I COULD LEAVE IF I WANTED,
Austin
YOU COULD SWIM FOR THE SHORE,
Dot, Helen and Betty
I COULD SWIM FOR THE SHORE,
Austin
BUT INSTEAD YOU’RE GONNA STAY RIGHT HERE AND DROWN!
Helen
BUT INSTEAD I’M GONNA STAY RIGHT HERE AND DROWN!
Betty
AIN’T NO WAY I’M GONNA STAY RIGHT HERE AND DROWN!
Dot
BUT I’M STAYING HERE ‘CAUSE I AIN’T GONNA DROWN!
Austin
YOU GOT BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS,
Dot, Helen and Betty
I GOT BLOOD IN MY VEINS.
Austin
YOU GOT SCALES ON YOUR EYES.
Dot, Helen and Betty
I CAN OPEN MY EYES.
Austin
YOU ARE LEADING US NOWHERE.
Dot, Helen and Betty
THIS WAS ALL HEADED NOWHEREEEEEEEEE…
Austin
SO WELCOME HOME, ‘CAUSE NOWHERE’S WHERE I DIE!

Austin
THE GIRLS ARE THE THING THAT’S GONNA SAVE YOU…
THE GIRLS ARE GONNA BRING YOU TO THE LIGHT
YOU SAID THEY WOULD DO IT
I DON’T UNDERSTAND…

SO THIS IS IT. SO NOW IT’S OVER.
DO I SHRUG IT OFF AND SAY IT’S ALL BEEN PLAYED?
DO I SMILE?
DO I SURRENDER?
DO I FADE?

THEY’LL LAUGH AND SAY I NEVER GOT IT RIGHT
BUT THEY WON’T SEE HOW BEAUTIFUL AND BRIGHT YOU ARE
I WON’T EVER LET YOU FADE.

OPEN YOUR EYES AND TELL ME YOU CAN SEE IT SEE HOW IT BURNS AWAY
OPEN YOUR MIND AND TELL ME YOU CAN HEAR IT
HEAR HOW IT PLAYS?

THAT’S YOUR SONG WHIPPING OUT AGAINST THE DARKNESS
THEY COULDN’T TOUCH IT IF THEY TRIED TO! AND THOSE SPARKS FLYING UP INTO THE HEAVENS THAT’S THE PROMISE THAT I MADE:
I WILL NEVER FADE!

COME WITH ME NOW, LET’S WALK THIS ROAD TOGETHER —
Girls and Annie
JUST LET IT FADE AWAY…
Austin
COME WITH ME NOW AND STAY WITH ME FOREVER —
Girls and Annie
SEE HOW IT FADES…
Austin
I WILL NEVER FADE AWAY!
Girls and Annie
JUST LET IT FADE AWAY…
Austin
I WILL NEVER FADE AWAY…
Girls and Annie
SEE HOW IT FADES…

KYLE
Dear Helen. I just heard about your dad’s heart attack. I’m real sorry for your loss. As it turns out, my tour of duty ended early, so if you don’t mind, I’d like to come by and pay my respects. I hope you still recognize me. I don’t look the same as I did before. I guess because I’m not. In any case I remain, your husband, Kyle.

Austin
I TELL YOU WHAT: YOU TAKE THIS BODY,
AND YOU CUT AWAY THE MUSCLE FROM THE BONE
AND YOU CUT IT UP AS TINY AS YOU CAN
AND YOU TAKE THE LITTLE PIECES AND YOU BURY THEM ALONE
THEN YOU WAIT AND SEE A FOREST START TO GROW
AND YOU GO THERE AND YOU LAY THERE
OUT AMONG THE RAGGED TREES OF BONE
Girls and Annie
VERSES IN THE BODY THE OPEN EYE CAN SEE, PATTERNS WE DREAM AND PATTERNS WE BREATHE,
Austin
ONE FOR EVERY GUY WHO EVER WANTED
ONE FOR EVERY KID WHO EVER DARED
ONE FOR EVERY DREAMER WHO GOT SHAFTED, I’LL BE THERE
I’LL BE THERE…
I’LL BE THERE…

Dot
OH THE RICH PEOPLE WANT WHAT THE POOR PEOPLE’S GOT,
Dot, Betty
AND THE POOR PEOPLE WANT WHAT THE RICH PEOPLE’S GOT,
Dot, Helen and Betty
YOU CAN NEVER PLEASE ANYBODY
IN THIS WORLD,
IN THIS WORLD,
IN THIS WORLD.


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A captivating and bravely weird new musical that elicits sweet harmonies from the world’s worst rock band. There are deep, disturbing joys to be had in this oddball-underdog odyssey. “The Shaggs” deserves a serious listen.
David Cote, Time Out New York

Remarkably – insistently – memorable. Peter Friedman is astonishing.
Jeremy Gerard, Bloomberg News

Sweetly Shaggs-adelic and genuinely heartbreaking.
Elisabeth Vincentelli, NY Post