A Preview of Taylor Mac's History of Popular Music in San Francisco
Mac sings "Amazing Grace" on the streets of the Bay Area.
The piece will be presented in four six-hour chapters on September 15 (1776-1836), September 17 (1835-96), September 22 (1896-1956), and September 24 (1956-the present). Mac is the creator, writer, performer, and codirector of the piece. It is codirected by Niegel Smith and features music direction by Matt Ray, costumes by Machine Dazzle, dramaturgy by Jocelyn Clarke, scenic design by Mimi Lien, and lighting by John Torres.
A 24-Decade History is Mac's multiyear effort to chart a subjective history of the United States through 246 songs that were popular throughout the country — and in its disparate communities — from 1776 to the present day. In performing the work, Mac is joined by an orchestra — led by music director Matt Ray, who created new arrangements of all 246 songs — plus an ensemble of "Dandy Minions" and a variety of local special guests, including members of the audience cast as colonial needleworkers, World War I soldiers, and Yum Yum from The Mikado. The Curran presents the piece with Stanford Live, Magic Theatre, and Pomegranate Arts.