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A 24-Decade History of Popular Music

Members say: Ambitious, Great singing, Clever, Must see, Entertaining
93
Critics
89
9 reviews
Members
94
24 reviews
 

St. Ann's Warehouse presents the world premiere of Taylor Mac's complete, eight-part performance series on the history of American music.

... Read more

Taylor Mac’s glittering performance art concerts chart a (highly) subjective history of popular music and activism in America from the nation’s founding in 1776 to the present day. Created with a bevy of collaborators and guest stars, this run is the first time Mac will perform the complete 24-decade history in its entirety. Audiences can choose from eight separate acts, or catch the one-time-only 24-hour marathon without intermission! 

 

Cast & Creatives (9)



Reviews (33)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
89
Avg Score

90
The New York Times

"Mr. Mac’s production is a hyperextended song cycle blended liberally with inspired patter, history viewed through a queer prism, elaborate audience-involving theatrical gambits and the occasional guest star. I have seen half of the production and can attest to its glittering uniqueness: the most spectacular drag act imaginable, combined with superb musicianship and generous doses of progressive gender politics." Full Review

90
Time Out New York

"There is so much art genius rampaging through St. Ann’s Warehouse...'Perfection is for assholes,' Mac states quite perfectly, forging beauty from pain and failure...It was three hours without intermission, pure anarchic and, yes, exhausting bliss. Folks were encouraged to stand and tell their most humiliating puke stories. Oh, look: I’ve run out of words; thank the angels and devils Taylor Mac never will." Full Review

85
New York Magazine / Vulture

"This is not regular theater. It’s not even a regular concert...Mac is basically performing a nightclub act in a very special club, one built around and for the gifts of people not usually welcome, except as freaks, in mainstream settings...Mac sings very well indeed, and the arrangements by Matt Ray are often spellbinding...Mac’s vision of our country treats history itself as a kind of music, always alive when you sing it for someone." Full Review

90
New York Theater

"Mac’s outrageous, outlandish, offensive, raunchy, insightful, inspired, sometimes hilarious, sometimes moving, sometimes thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime theatrical event...The term 'concert' feels inadequate–just as calling Mac a drag act doesn’t get anywhere close to describing the artist’s extraordinary talent and breadth of ambition...'A 24-Decade History' is as much an American cultural and political history–and the weirdest fashion show this season—as it is a history of the nation’s music." Full Review

85
AM New York

"Mac focuses each decade on a different historical theme or event using fanciful storytelling, personal anecdotes and songs from the time...Once each hourlong segment ends, he quickly changes into a new equally elaborate and outrageous wardrobe and headdress and emerges anew, still full of energy...Anyone who appreciates wild and crazy theater, cabaret and/or performance art is strongly encouraged to check out at least one installment of this unforgettable set of history lessons." Full Review

85
Broadway & Me

"I caught Part VI, which I selected because I wanted to see how he did with the heart of the Great American Songbook. He does great. He camps it up with total abandon one minute and in the next minute, he delivers moving renditions of classic songs all beautifully arranged...I'm not a big audience participation fan but Mac creates such a joyous environment that I found myself joining in...I'm glad for the three hours I got. And the merriment continued right through to the end." Full Review

90
Village Voice

"'Concert' doesn't begin to cover it. The piece is an endurance feat for Mac, his band, and the audience...It's a fashion spectacular, showcasing costume designer Machine Dazzle's wildly inventive creations. It's a series of pointed meditations on race, class, and gender in America...It's also an exercise in community building, among performers and spectators, together in a room for 24 hours. We sing along together, sprawl on the floor together, and eat together." Full Review

100
Exeunt Magazine

"The most profound experience I’ve had, and will surely remain the experience to which I aspire as an artist and human for the rest of my life...A standing ovation so immediate and so deserved the lights aren’t even completely out in the final blackout before the audience is on its feet screaming and banging the chairs on the floor because simply clapping is an inadequate showcase of our appreciation to Taylor for having made it through this beast of a show...I am irreparably changed." Full Review

95
The New York Times

"Mac gave me one of the great experiences of my life. I’ve slept on it, and I’m sure. It wasn’t simply the physical feat...An entire day of all that prowess, energy and virtuosity would have been astounding. But Mr. Mac is also a devastatingly intelligent artist of conflation...Not everything in '24-Decade' worked...His moral grasp of the larger picture costs him the richness of the smaller, human one...But the show got its power from Mr. Mac’s larger, subjective moral force." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
94
Avg Score

96
Absorbing, Ambitious, Epic, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you like creative and informative performance art by an intelligent, flamboyant actor and you have the ability to stay up for 24 hours!

Don't see it if you don't have the stamina to watch for 24 continuous hours (or 3 for the shorter shows) or if you don't like "out there" performance art.

Also The 24-hour performance was truly one of the most amazing experiences ... Read more Read less

60
Sequins, enthusiasm, (sorry) yawn!

See it if You love Taylor Mac (and you should) and you are ready for a slow moving history of American song (queer version).

Don't see it if You haven't had your required sleep. I love Taylor (12 shows) but acoustics are poor, the songs just crawl. The interstitial stuff is fun.

96
Funny, Absorbing, Dizzying, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a completely unique piece of entertainment - a cabaret on steroids that pushes your buttons while making you laugh.

Don't see it if You dislike audience interaction or aren't willing to give yourself over to a fun experience that you'll likely never have in a theater.

95
Ambitious, Intelligent, Refreshing, Unique, Gorgeous

See it if you're a fan, love cabaret, drag, costumes, burlesque, are interested in history and/or the history of music, celebrate representation.

Don't see it if you're uncomfortable with (gentle & intelligent) audience participation, gender discussion makes you uncomfortable, you don't like singing.

97
Funny, Ambitious, Delightful, Refreshing, Great staging

See it if you love Taylor Mac and admire his creative talent, wild costumes, and unique singing. Be part of this once-in-a-lifetime theatrical event.

Don't see it if you dislike participatory theater, sexual innuendo, lots of glitter/glitz/glamour, and a thought-provoking look at our history through song.

99
Original, Masterful, Must see, Profound, Refreshing

See it if you want to experience community and theatre; be challenged and engaged; and are looking for pure fun with a dose of hard truth.

Don't see it if you enjoy more traditional theatrical forms of storytelling and prefer to simply watch and not participate in the act of creation.

95
Original, Absorbing, Clever, Enchanting, Refreshing

See it if you love a critical look at US History, songs from decades past and enjoy being surprised by a show. An absolute joy that will stay with you

Don't see it if You're not interested in an rough, sometimes raunchy show that will likely involve your participation, and make you rethink US culture.

95
Ambitious, Epic, Must see, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you want to experience true art and beauty! One of the most original, honest entertaining enjoyable evenings in recent memory!

Don't see it if you don't/won't think outside the box. This is pretty straight forward but not at all business as usual. It's quirky and kinky fun!

100
Beautiful, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Must see, Challenging

See it if you want to see something that will make you feel alive and make you think. It's political, beautiful, masterful, and gleefully imperfect.

Don't see it if I can't think of a reason not to see this, if you are a traditionalist Mac seeks to open your mind

97
Ambitious, Clever, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you like outrageous things. If you want to see a brilliantly conceived show.

Don't see it if don't like some participation. It's brilliant. Go!!

100
Ambitious, Epic, Must see, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you love unique music-filled productions compellingly dealing with American history. Enjoy shows that involve the audience.

Don't see it if you hate shows requiring audience involvement, are averse to drag performance & a bit of nudity, You need traditional plot driven narrative.

Also Only caught two 3 hour sections of the show. They were two of the most... Read more Read less

100
Ambitious, Dizzying, Epic, Great acting, Great singing

See it if You like shows which explore American history from an outsider's point of view, which involve the audience and you become part of the show.

Don't see it if You aren't up for an examination of the dark side of the American experience.

95
Thought-provoking, Masterful, Must see, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if You are excited about audience participation, you are looking for a crazy treat that leaves you excited about life. TAYLOR MAC IS BRILLIANT!

Don't see it if You dislike nudity or audience participation or fun or thinking or entertainment. It's a must see.. if you can get tickets!

100
Ambitious, Enchanting, Intelligent, Resonant, Great singing

See it if you want an incredibly well-conceived and performed piece that pushes our history through a queer lens- an event that will become legendary.

Don't see it if You're staunchly, closed-mindedly conservative. Even then, Taylor Mac will probably win you over- by force, if necessary.

Also Sorry, Tony Kushner- this gay fantasia on national themes makes Angels... Read more Read less

90
Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if you want an experience you cannot get anywhere else - a water cooler moment

Don't see it if you have a bad back (so many of the hours have you sit on the floor!) or are at all prudish

95
Ambitious, Masterful, Raunchy

See it if You want to see a true original and are intrigued by pop music in an historical context.

Don't see it if You prefer gender to be uncomplicated.

98
Ambitious, Clever, Enchanting, Quirky, Relevant

See it if See it if you're up for something completely different from mainstream, into Americana, queer art, activism, drag, eccentric performance art

Don't see it if Don't see it if you're a boring person. This is not the show for you if you're only into family-friendly mainstream Disneyfied Broadway crap

95
Funny, Ambitious, Clever, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You want to learn some history and challenge it. You want to hear period songs in a contemporary way with big, glam costumes.

Don't see it if You don't want to leave your comfort zone. You just want to sit and listen--The show is interactive at times.

Also Taylor Mac is a genius and a star. The musicians are great as well. It... Read more Read less

100
Funny, Ambitious, Enchanting, Exquisite, Must see

See it if you want to see one of today's greatest performers in an event that will soon be considered legendary.

Don't see it if you really, really don't like audience participation (as opposed to the general dislike most people have).

Also This isn't quite a fair review, as the remaining shows will have diffe... Read more Read less

100
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Must see, Hilarious

See it if you believe in the power of theater, want to be entertained and moved, changed by a piece of art, have ever felt left out.

Don't see it if you are scared to interact with others.

100
Absorbing, Ambitious, Edgy, Epic, Thought-provoking

See it if you are willing to be awake for 24 hours in a theatre, you enjoy popular music, you like a lot of spectacle, you like audience participation

Don't see it if you are uncomfortable with nudity, don't have the stamina for a 24 hour show

90
Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Delightful

See it if Your enjoy performance art, are interested in seeing history presented from a unique perspective, are willing to play along.

Don't see it if you're homophobic, are looking for an arced narrative, a story, don't like over-the-top costumes

79
Clever, Relevant, Riveting, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You love music.

Don't see it if Why wouldn't you.

75
Ambitious, Epic, Romantic

See it if you like cabaret, gender illusion, activist theater.

Don't see it if you don't like mostly solo shows or strange adaptations of old songs.