Taylor Mac to Take A 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC Across the Country
Taylor Mac will perform A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, the singular artist's 24-hour performance art concert, in its entirety in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
In an unprecedented partnership, the Curran and Stanford Live, in association with Magic Theatre and Pomegranate Arts, will present the complete work over four six-hour concerts, September 15-24, 2017, at the Curran in San Francisco, the city that first inspired Mac to undertake the wildly ambitious project.
The engagement is the first time Mac will perform the work in its entirety since its immensely acclaimed premiere-which culminated in a one-time-only, 24-hour marathon concert-at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn in October 2016.
Mac will perform an abridged version of the concert, September 27 at Stanford University's Bing Concert Hall. The Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA (CAP UCLA) will present the complete work in four six-hour concerts, March 15-24, 2018, at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.
Following the concerts at the Curran in September, Mac will perform A 24-Decade History of Popular Music in other cities around the world including abridged concerts March 6, 2018, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC; and April 7, 2018, at ASU Gammage in Tempe, AZ. Additional dates will be announced.
A 24-Decade History of Popular Music is Mac's multi-year effort to chart a subjective history of the United States through 246 songs that were popular throughout the country, and in its disparate communities, from 1776 to the present day. In performing the work, Mac is joined by an orchestra-led by Music Director Matt Ray, who created new arrangements of all 246 songs-plus an ensemble of "Dandy Minions" and a variety of local special guests, including members of the audience cast as colonial needleworkers, World War I soldiers and Yum Yum from The Mikado. Costume designer Machine Dazzle, a longtime Mac collaborator, has handmade an outrageously imaginative, world-unto-itself costume specific to each decade.
Reviewing the premiere of A 24-Decade History of Popular Music last fall, Wesley Morris of The New York Times called the concert "one of the great experiences of my life." The work won the 2017 Edward M. Kennedy Award for Drama inspired by American History and was a 2017 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Drama, in addition to being included on an unprecedented three New York Times "Best of..." lists in 2016: Performance, Theater and Classical Music.
"A 24-Decade History of Popular Music is a reenactment of how the individual(s) may lose the long game but communities and movements, if continually brought together, have the potential to thrive and bend toward justice," said Taylor Mac. "I'm not a teacher. My job is to be a reminder. I'm reminding the audience of the things they've forgotten, dismissed or buried-or that others have buried for them. In this time of obstacle, of political cynicism, amnesia, polarization, oppression and upheaval, we are in desperate need of a physical, emotional, sensorial, and intellectual reminder that we can use the obstacles to strengthen our bonds and communal actions."
"Taylor's ambitious vision to create A 24-Decade History of Popular Music has been the perfect producing challenge for us," said Linda Brumbach, Founder and Director of Pomegranate Arts, Executive Producer of A 24-Decade History of Popular Music. "It took a village and community of dreamers to make it happen in New York and we are thrilled that this journey will continue on the West Coast. Taylor understands how community is built and brings truth and a spirit of joy into the room. With an innate sense of justice, a vast intelligence, and constant attention to craft, Taylor replenishes our humanity and demands our awareness. In these divisive times, there is no more important moment for this work to be seen in America."
The performances at the Curran (445 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 94102) are:
Friday, September 15 at 5pm (Chapter 1: 1776-1836): The American Revolution from the perspective of the yankee doodle dandy, the early woman's lib movement, an epic battle between drinking songs and early temperance songs, a dream sequence where the audience is blindfolded and the heteronormative narrative as colonization.
Sunday, September 17 at 2pm (Chapter II: 1836-1896): Walt Whitman and Stephen Foster go head to head for the title of Father of the American Song, culminating in the queerest Civil War Reenactment in history. Oh, and: a production of The Mikado set on Mars.
Friday, September 22 at 5pm (Chapter III: 1896-1956): A Jewish tenement, a WWI trench, a speakeasy, a depression, a zoot suit riot all make the white people flee the cities.
Sunday, September 24 at 2pm (Chapter IV: 1956-the present): Bayard Rustin's March on Washington leads to a queer riot, sexual deviance as revolution, radical lesbians, and a community building itself while under siege.
For more information about the performances at the Curran, including when tickets will go on sale, visit SFCurran.com.
Stanford Live will present a special three-hour abridged version of A 24-Decade History of Popular Music at Stanford University's Bing Concert Hall (327 Lasuen Street, Stanford, CA 94305), Wednesday, September 27 at 7:30pm.
Tickets for the abridged Bing Concert Hall performance go on sale to the general public on June 8, following a pre-sale period for Stanford Live donors and subscribers. For more information, visit live.stanford.edu.
Having presented A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: The 20th Century Abridged to great acclaim in March 26, CAP UCLA welcomes Taylor Mac back to perform the complete work, March 15-24, 2018, at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles (933 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90015).
The CAP UCLA performances are as follows:
March 15 at 6pm (Chapter I: 1776-1836): See description above.
March 17 at 6pm (Chapter II: 1836-1896): See description above.
March 22 at 6pm (Chapter III: 1896-1956): See description above.
March 24 at 6pm (Chapter IV: 1956-the present): See description above.
Subscription packages including all four CAP UCLA performances go on sale May 4; single tickets go on sale June 15. For more information, visit cap.ucla.edu or call 310.825.2101.
Taylor Mac (who uses "judy", lowercase sic, not as a name but as a gender pronoun) is a playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director and producer. "A critical darling of the New York scene" (New York Magazine), judy's work has been performed at New York City's Lincoln Center, The Public Theatre and Playwrights Horizons, London's Hackney Empire, Los Angeles's Royce Hall, Minneapolis's Guthrie Theater, Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, the Sydney Opera House, Boston's American Repertory Theatre, Stockholm's Sodra Theatern, the Spoleto Festival, San Francisco's Curran theater and MOMA, and literally hundreds of other theaters, museums, music halls, opera houses, cabarets, and festivals around the globe. Judy is the author of seventeen full-length plays and performance pieces including A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (2017 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Drama, Kennedy Prize in Drama), Hir (placed on the top ten theater of 2015 lists of The New York Times, New York Magazine, and Time Out NY; published by North Western University Press and in American Theater Magazine), The Lily's Revenge (Obie Award), The Walk Across America for Mother Earth (named One of the Best Plays of 2011 by The New York Times), The Young Ladies Of (Chicago's Jeff Award nomination for best solo), Red Tide Blooming (Ethyl Eichelberger Award), and The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac (Edinburgh Festival's Herald Angel Award). Recent acting roles include Shen Teh/Shui Ta in The Foundry Theater's production of Good Person of Szechwan at La Mama and the Public Theater (for which judy received Lucille Lortel and Drama League Award nominations), Puck/Egeus in the Classic Stage Company's A Midsummer's Night Dream, the title role in various productions of judy's play, The Lily's Revenge, and opposite Mandy Patinkin in the two-man vaudeville, The Last Two People On Earth, directed by Susan Stroman. Mac is currently creating a Dionysia Festival of four original plays (to be premiered separately and eventually performed in repertory), which deal in some way with our cultural polarization and that include: an all-ages play called, The Fre (commissioned by the Children's Theater Company in Minneapolis, premiere date TBD); a kitchen-sink tragedy named, Hir (which received its world premiere at the Magic Theater in Feb 2014); a dance-theater play, The Bourgeois Oligarch, and a music theatre debate regarding small and large government, set inside an Ezra Pound poem, in the subconscious of Clarence Thomas, during a Supreme Court Hearing. Mac is the recipient of multiple awards including the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a Guggenheim Award, the Herb Alpert Award in Theater, the Peter Zeisler Memorial Award, the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award and an Obie. An alumnus of New Dramatists judy is currently a New York Theater Workshop Usual Suspect and the Resident playwright at the Here Arts Center.
Founded by Linda Brumbach in 1998, Pomegranate Arts is an independent production company based in New York City dedicated to the development of international performing arts projects. As a creative producing team, Pomegranate Arts works in close collaboration with contemporary artists and arts institutions to bring bold and ambitious artistic ideas to fruition. With a hands-on approach, Pomegranate creates unique structures and partnerships in all performance mediums. Whether creating a new work with established artists at the peak of their career or introducing the vision of a younger artist, Pomegranate specializes in producing provocative performance events of the highest quality. Together with Taylor Mac/Nature's Darlings, Pomegranate Arts produced and developed A 24-Decade History of Popular Music.
Built in 1922, the Curran has housed some of the most important productions in history and has maintained a reputation over the course of its life as one of the greatest venues in North America. Now, nearly 100 years after it welcomed its first Bay Area audiences, the Curran is newly restored and renovated. Under the curation of eight-time Tony Award winner Carole Shorenstein Hays, the Curran has reopened its 1,600-seat venue as a home for the most exciting stage works being conceived and created anywhere in the world.
Stanford Live presents a wide range of the finest performances from around the world fostering a vibrant learning community and providing distinctive experiences through the performing arts. With its home at Bing Concert Hall, Stanford Live is simultaneously a public square, a sanctuary, and a lab, drawing on the breadth and depth of Stanford University to connect performance to the significant issues, ideas, and discoveries of our time. Stanford Live includes a wealth of collaborators and partners, including Stanford academic departments and individual faculty members, Stanford students, off-campus arts institutions, and community organizations. Crucially, Stanford Live supports the university's focus on placing the arts at the heart of a Stanford education.
Now celebrating its 50th year, Magic Theatre is dedicated to the cultivation of bold new plays, playwrights, and audiences - and to producing explosive, entertaining, and ideologically robust plays that ask substantive questions about, and reflect the rich diversity of, the world in which we live. Magic believes that demonstrating faith in a writer's vision by providing a safe yet rigorous artistic home, where a full body of work can be imagined, supported, and produced, allows writers to thrive. 22 of the last 25 new plays produced at Magic have enjoyed extended life beyond its stage, throughout the U.S. and abroad including Mac's The Lily's Revenge and the World Premiere of Mac's HIR.
UCLA's Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA) is dedicated to the advancement of the contemporary performing arts in all disciplines-dance, music, spoken word and theater, as well as emerging digital, collaborative and cross-platforms-by leading artists from around the globe. Part of UCLA's School of the Arts and Architecture, CAP UCLA curates and facilitates direct exposure to artists who are creating extraordinary works of art and fosters a vibrant learning community both on and off the UCLA campus. The organization invests in the creative process by providing artists with financial backing and time to experiment and expand their practices through strategic partnerships and collaborations. As an influential voice within the local, national and global arts communities, CAP UCLA connects this generation to the next in order to preserve a living archive of our culture. CAP UCLA is also a safe harbor where cultural expression and artistic exploration can thrive, giving audiences the opportunity to experience real life through characters and stories on stage, and giving artists an avenue to challenge assumptions and advance new ways of seeing and understanding the world we live in now.
Photo Credit: Teddy Wolff