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Friedman Stars in NYMF Shaggs Musical, Sept. 27-Oct. 2

The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World, a new rock musical about the real-life cult favorites, will be presented as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Presented by NYMF, PenneySeal Productions and AWOL Theatre Project, Inc., the show, starring Peter Friedman, will run from September 27th through October 2nd at the Beckett Theatre on Theatre Row (410 W. 42nd St.).

The musical features a book by Joy Gregory, lyrics by Gregory and Gunnar Madsen and music by Madsen. "Taking place between 1969 and 1973, The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World is an earnest look at one of the oddest and most unlikely bands to achieve rock cult status. Forced by a demanding father, the three very awkward sisters of the Wiggin family of Fremont, New Hampshire were prepped to play in a band based on a prophecy laid out by their grandmother. Taken out of school and away from all outside influences, the Wiggin family patriarch pushed the girls to practice non-stop until he thought they were ready to record an album and perform concerts. They were not. They never were, but they did, and this wholly original musical chronicles their journey while incorporating songs influenced by The Shaggs' canon, as well as a re-imagining of their 'hit single' Philosophy of the World.

Austin Wiggin, the girls' father, died before he ever saw his dream realized. Following his death, The Shaggs were no more until the mid-seventies when a Boston radio station played a few cuts from their record. Their only album caught on, spurred by Frank Zappa declaring the band "better than the Beatles," celebrated by outsider-music mavens who were taken with the Shaggs' artless style. In 1980 they were Rolling Stones' Comeback Artists of the Year without having recorded anything in over a decade. Old recordings and footage have been turned into subsequent albums and collector's items for their thousands of underground fans, but they remain humble loners in the outskirts of New England," state production notes.

The play stars Peter Friedman (Ragtime, The Heidi Chronicles, Twelve Angry Men) and also features 
Dana Acheson, Jimmy Bennett, Bill English, Amy Eschman, Peter Friedman
Jamey Hood, Glenn Peters, and Tracy Sallows. The show
is directed by John Langs, who received a Backstage West award for The Shaggs. The show then moved to The Lookingglass Theater of Chicago where it was nominated for a Jefferson Award.

Dedicated to discovering new work and new artists, The New York Musical Theatre Festival celebrates the diversity, creativity, and future of musical theatre. NYMF is a flagship program of the National Music Theater Network, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, and is America's largest annual musical theatre event. NYMF is produced in association with Virgin Megastores and proudly supported by amNewYork, Village Voice, WB11, Dodger Stages, Receptasign, King Displays, Rosco, Scharff Weissberg, TheaterMania.com, BroadwayWorld.com and Manhattan Living.

The show's performance schedule is: Tues, Sept 27 at 8pm, Wed, Sept 28 at 8pm, Thurs, Sept 29 at 8pm, Fri, Sept 30 at 4:30pm, Sat, Oct 1 at 8pm, Sun, Oct 2 at 1pm and 4:30pm. All performances are at the Beckett Theatre on Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street). Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at www.nymf.org (also good for more information) or by calling TheaterMania.com at 212.352.3101.

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