Taylor Mac's A 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC Comes to The Theatre At Ace Hotel
UCLA's Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA) welcomes the return of Taylor Mac, the genre-defying winner of a 2017 MacArthur "Genius" Grant, recipient of the 2017 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, and a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, in the epic 24-hour performance art concert, A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, in its entirety in four six-hour chapters March 15, 17, 22 and 24 at 6 p.m. at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Single tickets are now available for $45-$250 online at cap.ucla.edu and theatre.acehotel.com, via AXS by phone at 888-929-7849 and in person at The Theatre at Ace Hotel box office.
Having presented A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: The 20th Century Abridged to great acclaim in March 2016, CAP UCLA welcomes Taylor Mac back to perform the complete work.
"UCLA's Center for the Art of Performance is proud to have been one of the early co-commissioners of this uncompromising and brilliant work of art. Taylor Mac's creative capacity for shaping American history through the marginalized voices of each era is nothing short of genius," said Kristy Edmunds, CAP UCLA's executive and artistic director. "Los Angeles is the perfect city to celebrate how the persistence of this artist's vision serves to ignite what is possible in the live theater space, how collaboration lifts a democracy of inclusive principles, and why the arts are vital to our cultural commons, communities and continuity of belonging."
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. Costume designer Machine Dazzle, a longtime Mac collaborator, has handmade an outrageously imaginative, world-unto-itself costume specific to each decade.
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 special guests, including Grammy-nominated stand-up comedian Margaret Cho, singer-songwriter Amber Coffman and Tongva-Acjachemen artist L. Frank. Los Angeles-based artists include the Centennial High School Marching Band, all-female Mariachi Lindas Mexicanas, choral group Tonality and theatrical circus company Troupe Vertigo, plus local musicians and burlesque dancers. Members of the audience are cast as colonial needle workers, World War I soldiers and Yum Yum from The Mikado to help make the 24-hour journey a true community experience.
"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 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 garnering two Bessies for Outstanding Production and Overall Design, an Obie and New York Critics Circle Award for Taylor Mac and Henry Hewes Design Award for Machine Dazzle. A 24-Decade History of Popular Music was also included on an unprecedented three New York Times 2016 list of Best Performances, Theater, and Music.
Following an abridged concert March 6 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and the entire show March 15-24 in Los Angeles, Mac will perform various iterations of 24-Decade in cities around the world including Seattle, Tallahassee, Tempe, Gainesville, Iowa City, Montclair NJ, Philadelphia and London. Additional dates will be announced.