In association with Magic Theatre
and Pomegranate Arts

September 15-24




Taylor Mac’s groundbreaking performance art concept A 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC is “a must-see for anyone who wants to see a kinder, gentler society.” (Huffington Post)

  Taylor Mac sings Amazing Grace through the streets of San Francisco

A 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC is Taylor Mac’s multi-year effort to chart a subjective history of the United States through is a unique mash-up of music, history, performance, and art that were popular throughout the country, and in its disparate communities, from 1776 to the present day.

“One of the great experiences of my life.” -The New York Times

Taylor Mac (who prefers the gender pronoun “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. Taylor recently won the 2017 Edward M. Kennedy Award for Drama inspired by American History and was a 2017 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Drama. A 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC had the distinct honor of being included on an unprecedented three New York Times “Best of…” lists in 2016: Performance, Theater and Classical Music.

“Bringing the entire work to my second home of San Francisco allows the form of the creation to mirror the content of the work: a community building itself through the performance of all that history and music on our backs.” -Taylor Mac

The concert will be presented as four six-hour chapters, together making the first complete presentation since Taylor’s historic 24-hour marathon performance at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse last fall. Tickets can be purchased as single chapters, or audience members can purchase a four performance series - the pièce de résistance in it’s entirety, an experience that The New York Times’ Wesley Morris called “one of the great experiences of my life.”

The performances at the Curran are:

  • Chapter I (1776-1836) September 15: The American Revolution from the perspective of the yankee doodle dandy, the early women’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.

  • Chapter II (1836-1896) September 17: 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.

  • Chapter III (1896-1956) September 22: A Jewish tenement, a WWI trench, a speakeasy, a depression, a zoot suit riot all make the white people flee the cities.

  • Chapter IV (1956-the present) September 24: 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.

“I am thrilled to be welcoming the exceptional mastermind Taylor Mac back to the Curran, gracing our stage with the show in its entirety for the first time since that ever so magical evening in Brooklyn.” -Carole Shorenstein Hays

“The impetus for this piece began in San Francisco, when I participated in the first AIDS Walk in 1986,” said Taylor Mac. “It was there I discovered how communities can be built as a result of being torn apart. Years later I decided to create a work about this dichotomy. And to do it in song. Bringing the entire work to my second home of San Francisco, with so many of our New York company joining us in collaboration with so many local Bay Area artists is especially exciting; it allows the form of the creation to mirror the content of the work: a community building itself through the performance of all that history and music on our backs.”

This engagement marks a special partnership between the Curran and Stanford Live. Prior to the Curran presentation, Stanford will host Taylor Mac and other members of the creative team in an unprecedented creative residency on campus. As part of the University’s Arts Intensive Program, students will help prepare various elements of the production and then will have the opportunity to participate in both the San Francisco and Stanford performances, either on stage as “Dandy Minions” or as part of the backstage crew.

For groups of 10 or more, please contact Group Services.

A special three-hour abridged version of A 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC will be presented at Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall on September 27th at 7:30pm. For more information about this collaboration, visit

Event Calendar

Taylor Mac at the Curran
Sep 22, 2017


A Jewish tenement, a WWI trench, a speakeasy, a depression, a zoot suit riot all make the white people flee the cities.

Taylor Mac at the Curran
Sep 24, 2017


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.



Taylor Mac
Creator, Performer and Co-Director
Matt Ray
Music Director / Arranger / Pianist / Vocals
Machine Dazzle
Costume Design, Performer
Niegel Smith
Jocelyn Clarke
Mimi Lien
Set Designer
John Torres
Lighting Design
Jawole Zollar
Choreographic Consultant

Taylor Mac

Taylor (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.

Matt Ray

Matt can be seen in some of New York's best venues where he performs regularly either fronting his own band, or accompanying some of the city's most dynamic performers.  Recent work includes performing at Carnegie Hall with Kat Edmonson, touring with Reggae legend Burning Spear, music directing The Billie Holiday Project at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, string and piano arrangements for the fifth season finale of Showtime's Nurse Jackie, performing at Lincoln Center with Joey Arias, shows in Paris and the UK with Mx. Justin Vivian Bond, and monthly gigs at Joe's Pub with Bridget Everett and the Tender Moments.  Other recent work includes performing at the Edinburgh Fringe with Lady Rizo, and touring the world with Taylor Mac's show A 24-Decade History of Popular Music. In addition, Matt music directed and played piano in Taylor Mac's Obie award winning play The Lily's Revenge at the HERE Arts Center in New York. Matt has released two jazz albums as a leader:  We Got It! (2001) and Lost In New York (2006); and one album of original pop/folk material called Songs For the Anonymous (2013). Ray is a co-recipient (with Taylor Mac) of an Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History for A 24-Decade History of Popular Music.

Machine Dazzle

Machine Dazzle (né Matthew Flower) moved to New York City in 1994 after attending The University of Colorado Boulder. Mixing odd jobs by day with art and dance clubs by night erupted in a unique lifestyle grounded in costume and performance art. Machine's DIY and transgressive nature comes face to face with his conceptualist-as- artist identity; the results can be seen on stages all over the world. Machine has worked with Taylor Mac, Justin Vivian Bond, Joey Arias, Julie Atlas Muz, Big Art Group, The Crystal Ark, The Dazzle Dancers, Pig Iron Theater, Stanley Love Performance Group, and The Pixie Harlots, to name a few.

Niegel Smith

Niegel is a theater director and performance artist. He is the Artistic Director of NYC’s Obie-Award winning theater, The Flea; Associate Artistic Director of Elastic City; and ringleader of Willing Participant an artistic activist organization that whips up urgent poetic responses to crazy shit that happens. His theater work has been produced by The Alley Theatre, Classical Theatre of Harlem, The Flea Theater, HERE Arts Center, Hip Hop Theatre Festival, The Invisible Dog, Luna Stage, Magic Theatre, Mixed Blood, New York Fringe Festival, New York Live Arts, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, Playwrights Horizons, Pomegranate Arts, The Public Theater, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Summer Play Festival, Todd Theatre and Under the Radar, and his participatory walks and performances have been produced by Abrons Arts Center, American Realness, Dartmouth College, Elastic City, The Invisible Dog, Jack, The New Museum, Prelude Festival, PS 122, the Van Alen Institute and Visual AIDS. Before surviving high school in Detroit, Niegel grew up in the North Carolina piedmont, fishing with his dad, shopping with his mom and inventing tall-tale fantasies with his two younger brothers.

Jocelyn Clarke

Jocelyn is currently Theatre Adviser to the Arts Council of Ireland and dramaturg at American Voices New Play Institute at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. He has taught dramaturgy at the John Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts, Columbia University and Trinity College Dublin. He was the Commissioning and Literary Manager of the Abbey Theatre for four years, and lead theatre critic with The Sunday Tribune for nine years. He is an associate artist with The Civilians and Theatre Mitu in New York.   He has written six plays for Anne Bogart and the SITI Company - BOB, ALICE’S ADVENTURES UNDERGROUND, ROOM, SCORE, ANTIGONE, and TROJAN WOMEN (AFTER EURIPIDES) - and he is currently working on a new collaboration about composer and philosopher John Cage. HERESY, his libretto for new electronic opera by Roger Doyle about the philosopher Giordano Bruno, premiered in Dublin in late 2016.

Mimi Lien

Mimi Lien is a New York-based designer of sets and environments for theater, dance and opera. Having arrived at set design from a background in architecture, her work often focuses on the interaction between audience/environment and object/performer. She is an artistic associate with Pig Iron Theater Company and The Civilians, and resident designer at BalletTech. In 2012,she received an OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence in set design. Her work has been presented in New York at Lincoln Center Theater, Signature Theatre, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Playwrights Horizons, the Public Theater, Soho Rep, 13P, Ontological-Hysteric Theater, The Kitchen and around the country. Mimi’s designs for dance have been presented in the Netherlands and Russia, and she was a semifinalist in the Ring Award competition for opera design in Graz, Austria. She has received a Barrymore Award (Outrage), for Barrymore nominations, Hewes Design Award nomination (Queens Boulevard), and Bay Area Critics Circle nomination (Strange Devices from the Distant West). She was a recipient of the NEA/TCG Career Development Program, and a MacDowell Colony fellow. Her designs have been presented at the Prague Quadrennial, and her sculpture work has been exhibited at the Storefront for Art and Architecture. She holds an MFA in Set Design from NYU, and a BA in Architecture from Yale.

John Torres

John’s work includes designs for dance, theatre, music, fashion and print. With darling Taylor Mac, designs include performances at The Curran in San Francisco, MASS MOCA, and New York Live Arts. In collaboration with Robert Wilson, productions have included Einstein on the Beach (2013-2015 World Tour), Cheek to Cheek Live! With Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga (PBS Great Performances) La Traviata (Landestheatre Linz), Garrincha (SESC Teatro Paulo Autran, São Paulo) and Hermes: Here/ Elsewhere (Cedar Lake, NYC). In Dance, “...Toss” and Rogues, Choreographer: Trisha Brown, Theatre National de Chaillot/Paris; Available Light, Choreographer: Lucinda Childs, Walt Disney Concert Hall/Los Angeles. In Fashion, Givenchy S/S 2015 (New York), Yeezy 3 by Kanye West at Madison Square Garden. John is a frequent collaborator with fashion photographer Steven Klein.

Jawole Zollar

In 1984, Jawole founded Urban Bush Women (UBW) as a performance ensemble dedicated to exploring the use of cultural expression as a catalyst for social change. In addition to 34 works for UBW, she has created works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco, University of Maryland, Virginia Commonwealth University and others; and with collaborators including Compagnie Jant-Bi from Senegal and Nora Chipaumire. In 2006 Jawole received a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) for her work as choreographer/creator of Walking With Pearl…Southern Diaries. Featured in the PBS documentary, Free to Dance, which chronicles the African-American influence on modern dance, Jawole was designated a Master of Choreography by the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center in 2005. Her company has toured five continents and has performed at venues including Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and The Kennedy Center. UBW was selected as one of three U.S. dance companies to inaugurate a cultural diplomacy program for the U.S. Department of State in 2010. In 2011 Jawole choreographed visible with Chipaumire, a theatrical dance piece that explores immigration and migration. In 2012 Jawole was a featured artist in the film Restaging Shelter, produced and directed by Bruce Berryhill and Martha Curtis, and currently available to PBS stations.