Taylor Mac has embarked on a mammoth musical journey to chart the history of pop music in America, interpreting songs from the birth of the nation to the present day, in ways that are by turns irreverent and poignant.

ArtForum has called the project, entitled 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.”

OZ Arts Nashville, a co-commissioner of the undertaking, will present two performances of three decades, 1806-1836, on February 19 & 20. These concerts, in which Mac will be backed by a five-piece band and surprise special guests, will give Nashville its first taste of an artist who totally redefines stage presence and an opportunity to participate in the creation of an epic performance work.

Performances of A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: 1806-1836 will take place at 7pm (with doors opening at 6pm). Running time is 180 minutes without intermission; audiences are free to leave and re-enter. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at www.ozartsnashville.org. OZ Arts is located at 6172 Cockrill Bend Circle in Nashville.

A special code for members of the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce is available for a $10 discount on their ticket and an invitation to a pre-performance reception for the February 19 show. 

A 24-Decade History of Popular Music is a unique mash-up of music, history, performance and art. In it, Mac, wearing elaborate costumes by longtime collaborator Machine Dazzle, performs songs spanning the history of America. 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 this fall, in which Mac will joined by a 24-piece orchestra, dancing beauties and an array of special guests.

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 features co-direction by Niegel Smith, music direction by Matt Ray and costumes by Machine Dazzle. Pomegranate Arts and Nature’s Darlings are co-producing the work.

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.”

 

 

 

 

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