Photo by Teddy Wolff

Photo by Teddy Wolff


Taylor Mac, who uses the gender pronoun “judy,” is a theater artist, which means judy is a playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, cabaret performer, performance artist, director and producer. Judy recently performed the world premiere of A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, a unique mash-up of music, history, performance and art that will reach its zenith in a 24-hour concert spectacle covering the last 240 years of popular music in America. In these glittering performance art concerts, presented by St. Ann’s Warehouse and Pomegranate Arts, Mac charted a subjective history of the United States through songs that were popular throughout the country, and in its disparate communities, from 1776 to the present day. Mac, a 24-piece orchestra and a vast group of special guests performed this massive spectacle in two ways: as a series of concerts, each covering three decades and performed just once (with the exception of 1956-1986, due to popular demand), and in a one-time-only, non-stop, 24-hour marathon.

To create this epic work, Mac collaborated with music director and arranger of the 240 songs, Matt Ray; costume designer Machine Dazzle; co-director Niegel Smith; dramaturg Jocelyn Clarke; 2015 MacArthur Fellowship-winning set designer Mimi Lien; lighting designer John Torres; sound designers Jamie McElhinney and David Schnirman / Hear No Evil Inc.; and makeup designer Anastasia Durasova. Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, founder of Urban Bush Women, serves as choreographic consultant. Over the course of A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, Mac sang 240 songs spanning America’s history, wearing a signature outrageous costume by longtime collaborator Machine Dazzle for each decade.

Mac’s work has been performed in hundreds of theaters, museums, music halls, cabarets and festivals around the world, including Lincoln Center, The Sydney Festival at The Sydney Opera House, The Spoleto Festival, The Melbourne Festival, The Public Theater, Yale Repertory, The American Repertory Theater, Stockholm’s Sodra Teatern, and New York City bars The Slide, The Cock, and The Hole. TimeOut New York has called Mac “one of the most exciting theater artists of our time,” naming judy the best cabaret performer in New York (2012) and a future theater legend. American Theater Magazine says, “Mac is one of this country’s most heroic and disarmingly funny playwrights.” The New Yorker called Mac’s acting, in the title role, of the Foundry Theatre’s recent production of Brecht’s Good Person of Szechwan, “one of contemporary theater’s more unforgettable performances.” The New York Times says of Mac in general, “Fabulousness can come in many forms, and Taylor Mac seems intent on assuming every one of them.”

Judy is the author of seventeen full-length plays and performance pieces including The Lily’s Revenge, The Walk Across America for Mother Earth, The Young Ladies Of, Red Tide Blooming, and The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac. Theatre Communications Group, Playscripts, Vintage Press, New York Theatre Review, and New York Theatre Experience have published Mac’s plays. Judy is the recipient of many awards and fellowships including an Obie, a Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, three Map Grants, The McKnight National Fellowship, The Creative Capital and the first Ethyl Eichelberger award. Mac is an alum of the HERE Arts Center Resident Artists program, New Dramatists, and is currently a New York Theater Workshop Usual Suspect.

Last updated: February 2017


Blake Zidell