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St. Ann's Warehouse to Open 2016-17 Season with World Premiere of Taylor Mac's A 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC

St. Ann's Warehouse, having just concluded an immensely successful inaugural season in its "stunning" (New York Magazine), "gorgeous" (The New Yorker) new theater on the Brooklyn Bridge Park waterfront, kicks off its 2016-17 season with a highly anticipated event five years in the making: the World Premiere of Taylor Mac's A 24-Decade History of Popular Music. The "staggering magnum opus" (The New York Times) performance art concert is Mac's subjective history of the United States, told through songs that were popular throughout the country, and in its disparate communities, from 1776 to the present day. From September 15 through October 8, Mac, a 24-piece orchestra and a vast group of special guests will perform this massive spectacle in two ways: as a series of concerts covering three decades each, and in a one-time-only, non-stop, 24-hour marathon performance.

Susan Feldman, Founder and Artistic Director of St. Ann's Warehouse, said, "We fully expect this wild array of brilliant artists, starting with the shimmering Taylor Mac, to set and re-set the stage for another season of spectacular transformations in the new St. Ann's Warehouse. We can't wait!"

Over the course of A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, Mac sings 240 songs spanning America's history, wearing a different riotous costume by Machine Dazzle to signify each decade, and backed by a 24-piece orchestra. One musician exits after each decade, until Mac is left to perform the final decade, comprised of original songs, alone.

As described by Art Forum, A 24-Decade History of Popular Music is a "face-wrenchingly funny...chronicle of s**, repression, expression, and community," and Mac is "a master performer, riveting storyteller, and charismatic, otherworldly creature." Scotland's The Herald writes, "After Mac has picked over the bones of the lyrics, razzed them up with his own nuances of phrasing and across-octaves delivery and then swung off into pungent, hilariously barbed riffs on the 20th century legacy of racism, gender discrimination and bigotry that we need to discard, even 'Jingle Bells' would sound political and you'd be asking: 'Who's doing the jingling?'"

To create this epic work, Mac is collaborating with music director and arranger of the 240 songs, Matt Ray; co-director Niegel Smith; designers Machine Dazzle and 2015 MacArthur Fellow Mimi Lien; lighting designer John Torres; and dramaturg Jocelyn Clarke. The World Premiere, co-presented by St. Ann's Warehouse and Pomegranate Arts, reflects years of development of the work, in shows covering one or several decades at a time, commissioned and presented by prestigious performing arts venues worldwide.

Later in the season, St. Ann's Warehouse welcomes eminent American avant-gardist Penny Arcade, who, since the 1960s, has helped pave the way for Mac and other New York artists who create community through performances that are both thought-provoking and subversively funny. For three decades, Penny Arcade has brought her own brand of East Village rock 'n roll showmanship and her signature combination of stand-up comedy and memoir to stages around the world. Her newest solo show, Longing Lasts Longer, is a fierce, visionary and ultimately hopeful critique of the gentrification that effects not only cities but ideas and culture. The production won both a Scotsman Fringe First Award and a Herald Angel Award at the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and will have been performed over 125 times before arriving at St Ann's Warehouse for its American Premiere, December 1 - 11, as part of an acclaimed world tour that extends until at least the fall of 2017.

Other season highlights announced today are premieres by visionary International Artists and companies who have made St. Ann's Warehouse their New York home. The incomparable British monologist Daniel Kitson returns with Mouse: The Persistence of an Unlikely Thought(November 8 - 27), a new work he describes as "about friendship and loneliness, doubt and hope, a mouse, a phone call and the unfathomable repercussions of everything we ever do."

St. Ann's Warehouse teams up once again with London's Donmar Warehouse for the American Premiere of The Tempest(January 13 - February 12, 2017), the third and final work in director Phyllida Lloyd's revelatory all-female trilogy of Shakespeare plays set against the backdrop of women in prison and led by the brilliant Shakespearean actor Harriet Walter. At home in the U.K., and in their American Premieres at St. Ann's, the thrilling first two productions in the trilogy, Julius Caesar and last season's Henry IV, have won widespread critical praise and have sparked an international conversation about gender roles in society as well as in Shakespeare.

Kneehigh, Cornwall's beloved theatrical alchemists, and Emma Rice, the company's longtime Artistic Director, who recently became Artistic Director of Shakespeare's Globe, return with 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, March 16 - April 9, 2017. Adapted by Rice and War Horse author Michael Morpurgo from Morpurgo's book The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, this new play tells a true tale of what happened when African American soldiers met the townsfolk from Devon, England, when they were sent to their shores to rehearse for D-Day and the Normandy invasion. 946 takes its title from the number of casualties sustained during these bungled maneuvers, kept secret by the American and British governments until now. As in Brief Encounter, which went from St. Ann's to a successful Broadway run at Studio 54, The Red Shoes, The Wild Bride and Tristan & Yseult, Rice brings Kneehigh's full arsenal of theatrics-performances alternately poignant and comic, evocative spectacle, and gorgeous live music-to this family-friendly new production The Times (UK) called "a wonderfully life-affirming piece of theatre [that is] touchingly and gloriously imaginative."

Tickets for Taylor Mac's A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, Daniel Kitson's Mouse: The Persistence of an Unlikely Thought, Penny Arcade's Longing Lasts Longer, and the Donmar Warehouse production of The Tempest go on sale to St. Ann's Warehouse members today, June 22, and to the general public on July 6. Tickets for Kneehigh's 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips will become available to members on September 6, and to the general public on September 20. Tickets can be purchased at, 718.254.8779 and 866.811.4111. The new St. Ann's Warehouse is located at 45 Water Street in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

Photo by Dan Norman

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