Taylor Mac to Perform at Space On Ryder Farm in August
SPACE on Ryder Farm will present Taylor Mac's A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: 1986-2016, August 6 & 7 at 7 PM. Music Director Matt Ray will join Mac for the work-in-progress performances, which span three decades from Mac's wildly ambitious, multi-year effort to chart the history of popular music in America, from the nation's founding in 1776 to the present day. Tickets are available for $35 through July 15, and $40 after, at www.spaceonryderfarm.org/calendar/taylor-mac.
Taylor Mac (whose preferred gender pronoun is judy) is a New York-based theater artist, playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, cabaret performer, performance artist, director and producer whose many talents combine in the spectacular A 24-Decade History of Popular Music. The project is a vibrant whirlwind of musical theater, drag performance, and historical storytelling that delights audiences with razor-sharp wit and musical brilliance. Mac performs songs spanning the history of America, with approximately one hour of performance (and a riotous corresponding costume by longtime Mac collaborator Machine Dazzle) dedicated to each decade. Since the undertaking began in 2012, Mac has been creating shows covering single decades or a few decades at a time; Mac will stitch these together in the 24-hour-long extravaganza planned for New York City this fall, in which Mac will joined by a 24-piece orchestra, dancing beauties and an array of special guests.
"We at SPACE pride ourselves on providing a place where artists can get away from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives to create their most important work," Founder and Executive Director Emily Simoness said. "We're thrilled to be able to offer that experience to Taylor Mac, and to bring judy's work to the Putnam and Westchester communities."
ArtForum has called A 24-Decade History of Popular Music a "face-wrenchingly funny...chronicle of sex, repression, expression, and community" and said, "Mac is a master performer, riveting storyteller, and charismatic, otherworldly creature, dressed to the tens in artist/designer Machine Dazzle's magnificent metamorphic glitz." The Los Angeles Times has described it as "glorious."
Reviewing a recent run of shows from the project, The New York Times wrote, "In this playful and thoroughly winning tour through American pop history, Mr. Mac isn't merely performing a concert, although he sings...in a voice that can range from a silken croon to a blistering belt...His interest in pop is as much anthropological as musical. Drawing links between the songs he sings and contemporaneous history and culture...finds in popular music a revealing mirror of the times. With an emphasis on the experience of outsiders in America...he invites the audience to time-travel along with him and experience the turbulent past by playing its own role in the show." The review added, "With its scholarly title, Mr. Mac's show may sound soberly academic...but if you've ever seen him in performance, you know there's nothing even faintly fusty about him."
A 24-Decade History of Popular Music is conceived, written, performed, and co-directed by Taylor Mac. Collaborators include Music Director Matt Ray, Co-Director Niegel Smith, costume designer Machine Dazzle, Dramaturg Jocelyn Clarke, Lighting Designer John Torres, Executive Producer Linda Brumbach, and Associate Producers Kaleb Kilkenny and Alisa E. Regas. The work is co-produced by Pomegranate Arts and Nature's Darlings.
Taylor Mac has garnered acclaim as a playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, cabaret performer, performance artist, director and producer, for work ranging from Mac's OBIE Award-winning piece The Lily's Revenge to Mac's critically lauded collaboration with Mandy Patinkin, Susan Stroman and Paul Ford, The Last Two People On Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville, which co-stars Mac and Patinkin. Mac made many top critics' Best Theater of 2015 lists for Hir, a dark comedy that made its New York premiere at Playwrights Horizons in the fall. The New York Times described Hir, Mac's Off-Broadway playwrighting debut, as "sensational in all senses of the word" and called Mac "immensely gifted."
SPACE on Ryder Farm is a non-profit artist residency program located an hour north of New York City on the grounds of the oldest operating organic farm in Putnam County - Ryder Farm in Brewster, New York. SPACE creates an environment singular in its ability to invigorate artists and innovators and their work, and contributes to the sustainability and resourceful preservation of one of the oldest organic family farms on the East Coast. Founded in 2010 by Executive Director Emily Simoness, SPACE on Ryder Farm counts among its alumni Academy Award winners, Tony Award nominees and winners, Pulitzer finalists, Guggenheim Fellows, Obie Award winners, and a MacArthur Genius Award winner. Its signature programs include The Working Farm playwrights group (2016 residents Eliza Bent, Adam Bock, Alex Borinsky, Cusi Cram, Daisy Foote, Ryan King, Basil Kreimendahl and James Tyler), Family Residency with The Lilly Awards, Creative Solutions Symposium and Artistic Residency programs. SPACE receives generous support from the New York State Council on the Arts, Dramatists Guild Fund, Putnam County Arts Council, Puffin Foundation, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, as well as hundreds of individual donors. For more information about SPACE on Ryder Farm, their programs, and events, visit www.spaceonryderfarm.org.