Two other major Off-Broadway companies, Playwrights Horizons and the New York Theatre Workshop, have collaborated on a very different moment in American cultural history. "The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World" is a musical based on the real story of the laughably bad '60s girls group that had a brief rediscovery as cult art in 1980.

The show, with music and lyrics by Gunnar Madsen and Joy Gregory, can't decide whether to love these teens, their deluded ambitious father (Peter Friedman) and loyal mom (Annie Golden) with a perpetual basket of laundry or whether to make fun of them. Neither way works.

WHAT "The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World"

WHERE Playwrights Horizons, 416 W. 42nd St.

INFO $75; 212-279-4200;

BOTTOM LINE Tribute or parody, it's still bad

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