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. He goes by the pronounc “judy”, capitalized only when it appears at the beginning of a sentence.
Taylor Mac created and hosted the political vaudeville Live Patriot Acts: Patriots Gone Wiiiiildd! during the Republican National Convention in 2004.
Judy is the author of Joy and Pandemic; Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus; A 24-Decade History of Popular Music; Prosperous Fools; The Fre; Hir; The Walk Across America for Mother Earth; The Lily’s Revenge; The Young Ladies Of; Red Tide Blooming; Cardiac Arrest or Venus on a Half-Clam; The Face of Liberalism, Okay, A Crevice, The Hot Month; and the revues Holiday Sauce; The Last Two People on Earth (created with Mandy Patinkin, Susan Stroman and Paul Ford); Comparison is Violence; and The Be(A)st of Taylor Mac. Mac is the first American to receive the International Ibsen Award, is a MacArthur Fellow, a Pulitzer Prize Finalist, a Tony nominee for Best Play, and the recipient of the Kennedy Prize (with Matt Ray), the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a Guggenheim, the Herb Alpert Award, a Drama League Award, the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, the Booth, two Helpmann Awards, a NY Drama Critics Circle Award, two Obie’s, two Bessies, and an Ethyl Eichelberger. An alumnus of New Dramatists, judy is currently the resident playwright at the Here Arts Center.
Since at least 2012, Mac and musical director/arranger Matt Ray developed A 24–Decade 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 in October 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.
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