A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: 1900 – 1950s OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Sara Krulwich

  • Opening Night:
    January 13, 2015
    January 25, 2015

    Theater: New York Live Arts / 219 W 19th Street, New York, NY, 10011


    Called a “critical darling of the New York scene” (New York Magazine), Taylor Mac makes his New York Live Arts debut with the celebrated A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, presented in association with the Under the Radar Festival. Featuring the years 1900 – 1950 at Live Arts (the 1950s commissioned specially for the Live Arts stage), Mac will emerge as a bedazzled creature, accompanied by a live band, dancing beauties and special guests, to present a performative ritual using popular music from the first half of the 20th Century. Eventually, this work will comprise of a 24-hour spectacle dissecting the last 240 years of popular music in America. As The New York Times writes of Mac, “Fabulousness can come in many forms, and Taylor Mac seems intent on assuming every one of them.” Adding Live Arts to a venue roster including The Public Theater, Lincoln Center, The Sydney Opera House and more, Mac’s celebration of music, performance and all things fabulous will surely be a highlight of our 2014-2015 season. In conjunction with the performances, Mac’s collaborator and designer Machine Dazzle will transform the Live Arts lobby, giving further context to the work with commissioned décor.

  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: 1900 – 1950s

    An Epic, Sequined Hit Parade

    Charles Isherwood

    January 14, 2015: Imagine running a marathon in stilettos. While singing your heart out. That’s the kind of mad feat the singular performer Taylor Mac has embarked upon in his magnum opus, A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, which will ultimately climax in an epic show to be performed for 24 straight hours. For now, Mr. Mac — and his collaborators, and his audiences — are merely in the training stages. The first two parts of this staggering undertaking, celebrating the songs from the first half of the 20th century, are being presented at New York Live Arts in association with the Under the Radar Festival. (The whole will cover the life span of America: 1776 through 2016, when that epic performance will take place.) The first program, which runs through Saturday, explores the songs from the first three decades: the 1900s through the 1920s. Next week, it’s on to the following three decades, and on Jan. 25, Mr. Mac will perform both parts together, in a miniature (!) six-hour marathon. With its scholarly title, Mr. Mac’s show may sound soberly academic — like a singing textbook — but if you’ve ever seen him in performance, you know there’s nothing even faintly fusty about him. To classify him as a drag queen would be far too limiting, but, yes, the lithe and statuesque Mr. Mac generally performs in glitter-bedecked dresses and elaborate headgear, in kabuki-white makeup generously applied and sprinkled with sequins. (His longtime costume designer, who goes by the daffy name Machine Dazzle, has outdone himself here.) While Mr. Mac’s appearance suggests an exotic cross between Marlene Dietrich and pioneering gender-skewing performers like the Cockettes, his cozy performing style — as in his similarly expansive The Lily’s Revenge — cuts through the glamorous artifice with winning geniality. He may look like a diva from another planet, but his spike heels are firmly planted on earth.



    JerseyBoys    Phantom    Motown    Wicked