The Taylor Mac Book

Ritual, Realness and Radical Performance
David Román and Sean F. Edgecomb, Editors
Brings together the voices of scholars, critics, and artists to celebrate the genius of Taylor Mac


This is the first book to dedicate critical attention to the work of influential theater-maker Taylor Mac. Mac is particularly celebrated for the historic performance event A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, in which Mac, in fantastical costumes designed by collaborator Machine Dazzle, sang the history of the United States for 24 straight hours in October 2016. The MacArthur Foundation soon thereafter awarded their “genius” award to a “writer, director, actor, singer, and performance artist whose fearlessly experimental works dramatize the power of theater as a space for building community . . . [and who] interacts with the audience to inspire a reconsideration of assumptions about gender, identity, ethnicity, and performance itself.”
Featuring essays, interviews, and commentaries by noted critics and artists, the volume examines the vastness of Mac’s theatrical imagination, the singularity of their voice, the inclusiveness of their cultural insights and critiques, and the creativity they display through stylistic and formal qualities and the unorthodoxies of their personal and professional trajectories. Contributors consider the range of Mac’s career as a playwright, performer, actor, and singer, expanding and enriching the conversation on this much-celebrated and deeply resonant body of work.
David Román is Professor of English and American Studies at the University of Southern California. 

Sean F. Edgecomb is Associate Professor of Theatre and Performance in the Ph.D. Program at the Graduate Center and the Coordinator of Drama at the College of Staten Island, CUNY.

Praise / Awards

  • The Taylor Mac Book is an overdue encomium to the work of an artist who defines the cutting edge in theater, performance, and the interpretation of American song. With maximalist exuberance and impish daring, Taylor Mac has revived the fortunes of queer aesthetics for our parlous times. How great that now we all get to hang out with judy and the crew in this deliriously welcome collection of essays.”

    —Tavia Nyong’o, Yale University  
  • “This book is a joy to read, conveying the spirit, mischief, and intellect of Taylor Mac’s work and reflecting its genius and complexity. The mix of topics and styles is well suited to the multifaceted nature of Mac’s work and also makes for engaged reading.”

    —Jennifer Parker-Starbuck, Royal Holloway, University of London

News, Reviews, Interviews

Read: Excerpt published in American Theatre magazine | January 30, 2023 | Link

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 320pp.
  • 41 illustrations, 1 table.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2023
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-07527-0

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  • $90.00 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2023
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-05527-2

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  • $39.95 U.S.

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  • Performance; queer; theater; LBTQ; MacArthur grant; American theater; artist; playwright; queer performance