Taylor Mac and Matt Ray have been awarded the 2017 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama for their performance piece A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: A Radical Fairy Realness Ritual. The two collaborators will receive an award of $100,000 and will be honored in a ceremony at Columbia University later this spring.
The show presented its first of eight three-hour parts in September 2016 at St. Ann’s Warehouse. The following month, Mac presented a world-premiere 24-hour marathon performance at the Brooklyn venue. The work charts the history of popular music in America and its ties to activism, from 1776 to present day. Each act, presented as a high-energy concert with elaborate concepts and designs, explores a different defining era.
The Kennedy Prize is given to a new play or musical that “enlists theatre’s power to explore the past of the United States.” Last year’s award went to Hamilton; previous recipients include Suzan-Lori Parks’ Father Comes Home from the Wars, Parts 1, 2, & 3; Detroit ‘67 by Dominique Morisseau; and Robert Schenkkan’s Tony-winning All the Way.
For more information on the Kennedy Prize, visit kennedyprize.columbia.edu.