A 24-Decade History of Popular Music

A 24-hour music theater work about how communities are built as a result of being torn apart.  Consisting of over 246 songs–some original and many pre-existing popular songs (popular in the US from 1776 to the present day)–as well as over thirteen hours of original text, the work is a deconstruction, reimagining, reframing, and reenactment of 240 years of US history. 

All 24 decades have been performed in many different configurations but primarily, moving forward, will be presented over the course of a two-week period, consisting of four, 6-hour “Chapter” performances.   In October of 2016 the entire 24-hour work was performed from beginning to end, non-stop, one time only.

“A 24-Decade History of Popular Music” was produced by Pomegranate Arts and Nature’s Darlings.


Conceived, written, performed, co-directed, and co-produced by Taylor Mac

Musical Direction and arrangements by Matt Ray

Co-Direction by Niegel Smith

Costumes by Machine Dazzle

Scenic Design by Mimi Lien

Lighting Design by John Torres

(An entire list of performers and behind the scenes collaborators to come.)


A 24-Decade History Of Popular Music is commissioned in part by Belfast International Arts Festival and 14 – 18 NOW; Carole Shorenstein Hays, The Curran SF; Carolina Performing Arts, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA; Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa; Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; Melbourne Festival; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; International Festival of Arts & Ideas (New Haven); New York Live Arts; OZ Arts Nashville; Stanford Live at Stanford University; University Musical Society of the University of Michigan.


This work was developed with the support of the Park Avenue Armory residency program, MASS MoCa (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art), and the 2015 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab at the Sundance Resort with continuing post-lab dramaturgical support through its initiative with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Curran Theater and Stanford Live Arts in Association with the Magic Theater, entire work.

Stanford Live Arts:  abridged

Utah Presents, Salt Lake  (1966-1986)


St. Ann’s Warehouse, Brooklyn, NY (1776-2016), premiere of entire work and the one time only 24-hour performance.

*Belfast International Arts Festival (1906-1926)

Space and Ryder Farm, NY (1986-2016)

Joe’s Pub, NYC (1986-1996)

Joe’s Pub, NYC (1926-1936)

Dixon Place, NYC (2006-2016)

New York Stage and Film, Powerhouse Theater, Poughkeepsie at Vassar, NY (1776-1896)

*Center for the Performing Arts, UCLA, Royce Hall, Los Angeles (Abridged)

The Lift Festival at the Hackney Empire, London, (Abridged)

*Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1956-2016)

*University Musical Society (University of Michigan), Ann Arbor (1956-1986)

*Curran Theater, SF (1776-1836)

William’s College, Williams, NY (1776-1806)

*Oz Arts, Nashville, TN (1806-1836)

University of Santa Barbara, CA (1906-1926)

Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, MN (Abridged)


*New York Live Arts in collaboration with the Under The Radar Festival, NYC (1896-1956)

*University of Iowa, Mabie Theatre, Iowa City, IA (1846-1856)

*International Arts and Ideas Festival, New Haven, MA (1996-2006)

McCarter Theater, Princeton, NJ (1846-1856)

On the Boards, Seattle, WA (Abridged)

Hopkins Center, Hanover, NH (1776-1806)

Fischer Center, Spiegeltent, Bard College, NY (1996-2006)

Park Avenue Armory, New York, NY (1796-1806)

Celebrate Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY (Abridged)

Sundance Theater Lab, Park City, UT (Abridged)

The Luminato Festival, Toronto, Canada (Abridged)

Spoleto Festval, Charleston, SC (Abridged)

The Clarice, University of Maryland, (Abridged)


*UNC Carolina Performing Arts, Memorial Hall (1906-1916)

*Lincoln Center’s American Songbook Series at The Allen Room, NYC (1916-1926)

Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH (Abridged)


*Lincoln Center Atrium, New York (1846-1856)

Fischer Center, Bard Collage (1916-26)

Joe’s Pub, NYC (1786-1796)

Playmaker’s Repertory, NC (1786-1796)

Joe’s Pub, NYC (1886-1896)

*Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (Abridged)

Dublin Fringe, Ireland (Abridged)

Melbourne Recital Centre, Australia (Abridged)

Brisbane Powerhouse, Australia (Abridged)

NORPA, Lismore, Australia (Abridged)

Darwin Arts Festival, Australia (Abridged)

Out In the Tropics Festival, Miami (Abridged)

Behavior Festival at The Arches, Glasgow (Abridges)

Under The Radar Festival, Public Theater (Newman), NYC (Abridged)


*Lincoln Center’s Out Door Festival (Abridged)

Joe’s Pub, NYC (1816-1826)

Joe’s Pub, NYC (1826-1836)

Joe’s Pub, NYC (1806-1816)

Joe’s Pub, NYC (1936-1946)

JCC in Manhattan, NYC (1896-1906)

Joe’s Pub, NYC (1906-1916)

Joe’s Pub, NYC (1776-1786)


Joe’s Pub, NYC, (1876-1886)

Joe’s Pub, NYC (1926-1936)

Joe’s Pub, NYC (1966-1976)


“A 24-Decade History of Popular Music” was made possible with funding by Diane L. Max, Andrew J. Martin-Weber, National Endowment for the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Theater Project, the Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation, The MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital, primarily supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


*Denotes Commissioning Partner


For booking, please contact Pomegranate Arts.

Kennedy Prize for Drama

Pulitzer Prize Finalists for Drama

New York Drama Critics Circle Award

Obie Award

Best of 2016 in Classical Music:  New York Times

Best of 2016 Performances:  New York Times

Best of 2016 Theater:  New York Times

Best of 2016 Theater:  New York Magazine