The 20th Century Show, by Taylor Mac
From New York: the inimitable and wildly flamboyant Taylor Mac presents his latest work “The 20th Century Show,” an incredible visual feast and concert consisting of one song from each decade of the 20th Century (plus two encores) presented as “a performance ritual to help the audience let go of the 20th century and move into the 21st.”
I believe my job as a theater artists is to remind my audience of the range of their humanity. I do this by using theatrical traditions and established styles and forms (which allow the audience to recognize what they’re experiencing) and injecting them with as much imagination and personal perspective as I can (which creates surprise). Surprise (not to be confused with shock) is the way I get audiences to feel. When they feel they’re reminded of their humanity.
I believe the more personal risk I take in the work the more the audience will relate and see the whole of their humanity reflected back at them. So, through art, I try to be as masculine, feminine, ugly, beautiful, intelligent, base, chaotic, graceful, joyful, sorrowful, perfect and flawed as I am in real life.
I believe theater is about intimacy and try to make theater that shrinks the distance between the user and the maker (between the audience and the players). Theater is theatrical so I strive to imbue my plays and performances with a heightened reality that includes ideas, breadth, possibility, care, poetry, and craft. Most of all I believe theater is community and think of myself as a community activist: someone whose job it is to bring people together, give them a shared experience and remind them of what it means to be human.
Taylor Mac is a playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, and sometime director and producer. TimeOut New York has called him, “One of the most exciting theater artists of our time” and American Theater Magazine says, “Mac is one of this country’s most heroic and disarmingly funny playwrights.”
His plays include “The Walk Across America For Mother Earth”, “The Lily’s Revenge”, “The Young Ladies Of”, “The Be(A)st of Taylor Mac”, “Red Tide Blooming”, “Dilating” (an evening of one-acts), “Blue Grotto” and his first play “The Hot Month”.
His concerts of original songs and covers include: “A 24-Hour History of Popular Music” (24 decades of songs that can be performed as individual decade concerts or over the course of 24 days all together). “Comparison is Violence or The Ziggy Stardust Meets Tiny Tim Songbook”, “Cardiac Arrest or Venus on a Half-Clam” and “The Face of Liberalism” and he is currently working on a two-man show titled, “The Last Two People on Earth” with Mandy Patinkin.
Taylor has performed his work and/or others at New York’’s Lincoln Center and Public Theater, The Sydney Opera House, The San Francisco MOMA and Opera House, Stockholm’s Sodra Teatern, The Spoleto Festival, The Bumbershoot Festival, The Time Based Arts Festival, Dublin’s Project Arts Center, London’s Soho Theater, and literally hundreds of other theaters, museums, music halls, cabarets, and festivals around the globe.
He has acted in many original plays (by others), dozens of revivals (most recently his critically acclaimed performance as Puck/Egeus in The Classic Stage Company’s Off-Broadway “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with Bebe Neuwirth, and Anthony Heald) in featured roles on television with The BBC2, BBC4, MTV, and The Sci-Fi Channel.
Awards, grants, and fellowships include: a 2010 Obie, a McKnight National Commissioning Award, a Sundance Theater Lab Residency, a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant, two MAP Grants, a Creative Capital Grant, The James Hammerstein Award for playwriting, three Brighton Best of Festival Awards, a Dallas Theater Critics Forum Award for Best Touring Show, a Chicago Jeff Award Nomination, three GLAAD Media Award Nominations, an Edinburgh Festival Herald Angel Award, two New York State Council of The Arts Grants, an Edward Albee Foundation Residency, The Franklin Furnace Grant, a Peter S. Reed Grant, The Ensemble Studio Theatre's New Voices Fellowship in playwriting, a Mabou Mines Suite (with collaborator Elizabeth Swados), and the one he is most proud of, an Ethyl Eichelberger Award. Vintage Press, Playscripts, New York Theatre Review, New York Theatre Experience have published his plays and he was a HERE Arts Center resident artists and is currently a member of New Dramatists.