1973-08-24

TAYLOR MAC is an American actor, playwright, performance artist, director, producer, and singer-songwriter born on this date. Active mainly in New York City, in 2017, Mac is a recipient of a “Genius Grant” from the John D. And Catherine T MacArthur Foundation and was a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. 

Taylor Mac also created and hosted the political vaudeville Live Patriot Acts: Patriots Gone Wiiiiildd! during the Republican National Convention in 2004.

Since at least 2012, Mac and musical director/arranger Matt Ray developed A 24Decade History of Popular Music, a performance that covers music popular in the United States from 1776 to the 2016, with one hour dedicated to each decade with a corresponding costume designed by long-time collaborator Machine Dazzle. This work culminated in a 24-hour performance on October 8–9, 2016 with one hour dedicated to each decade. Wesley Morris of the New York Times said of the 24-hour concert, “Mr. 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. Although, come on: 246 songs spanning 240 years for 24 straight hours, including small breaks for judy to eat, hydrate and use the loo, and starting in 1776 with a great-big band and ending with Mac, alone in 2016, doing original songs on piano and ukulele.” In 2017, the performance was a finalist for the Pulitzer. It appeared fifth on a list by The Guardian writers of the best theatrical works since 2000. In October 2018, in the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections, Mac performed a cover of Patti Smith’s ‘People Have the Power’after appearing as guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Taylor Mac also created and hosted the political vaudeville Live Patriot Acts: Patriots Gone Wiiiiildd! during the Republican National Convention in 2004.

In October 2020 Mac won the prestigious International Ibsen Award, known to some as the “Nobel Prize for Theater,” which is conferred by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture. Mac is the first American to have received the award (it comes with a cash prize of approximately $300,000) and accepted it during a special livestreamed event, titled Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce…Pandemic!, on December 12th.

Taylor Mac asks fundamental questions about what theater should be and why it matters in in the 21st century,” the International Ibsen Award Committee said in a statement. “In a world of increased polarization and divisions, Taylor Mac crafts work that shows theater’s potential to bind and unite audiences, to think about how we relate to culture in its various forms, and what it means to engage with other human beings imaginatively, ethically, and politically, through the act of performance.”

Mac uses “judy” (lowercase) as a gender pronoun, chosen in reference to American actress Judy Garland. Mac has been influenced by the Radical Faeries and invokes “Radical Faerie realness ritual” during performances