A 24-Decade History of Popular Music Wins 2017 Kennedy Prize

Off-Broadway News   A 24-Decade History of Popular Music Wins 2017 Kennedy Prize
Taylor Mac and Matt Ray's marathon concert was recognized for its commitment to uniting theatre with American history.
Taylor Mac
Taylor Mac Teddy Wolff

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.

This year’s finalists were Lynn Nottage’s Sweat and Paula Vogel’s Indecent—both scheduled to open on Broadway this spring—as well as Roe by Lisa Loomer and Vietgone by Qui Nguyen.

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.


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