February 13, 2015
Today we conclude our announcements of the Indie Theater Hall of Fame People of the Decade.
If you've been tracking these posts over the past nine weeks, you know that the honorees so far have been (now alphabetically): The Brick Theater, John Clancy and Nancy Walsh, Flux Theatre Ensemble, Elena K. Holy, La MaMa, Kristin Marting, Mac Rogers, Daniel Talbott, and Vampire Cowboys Theatre.
Our final Person of the Decade: Taylor Mac.
Like many of the other honorees on the above list, Taylor is an indie theater artist whose distinctive talents we noticed early on. He was one of our People of the Year in 2006, and that same year we published his marvelously genre-defying play Red Tide Blooming in Plays and Playwrights 2007. I will never forget the book launch party we did for that anthology, at the Bubble Lounge in Tribeca. Taylor was the last "act" -- he jumped up on the bar with his ukulele and performed one of the numbers from his play--and stopped the show. Cold.
Taylor's been stopping the show in progressively larger and more well-attended venues ever since. He's currently (per his most recent Facebook post) "Off to Dallas for fun with Susan Stroman and Mandy Patinkin in our show The Last Two People On Earth." Which means I am exactly one degree of separation from Susan Stroman and Mandy Patinkin.
Next season his new play Hir will be at Playwrights Horizons.
I am so proud of Taylor's progress--he is truly bringing the indie theater ethos to the rest of the world, and that's a marvelous and wondrous thing.
I'm going to let Hall of Fame member Matt Freeman have the last word about Taylor Mac. When he voted for him as a Person of the Decade, he wrote:
What Indie or Off-Off performers has done more to protect and glorify the outsider position of Indie Theater artists than Taylor Mac? He's truly become a scene unto himself, rising to work with people like Susan Stroman and Mandy Patinkin, and of course, blowing the roof off of the world with Lily's Revenge and his performance in the Good Person of Szechuan. Plus, Taylor contributed a few particularly cogent callouts online--manifestos that have inspired many people to keep their independent spirit and work hard.
So well said, and so true.
So, what do you think of our Hall of Fame and our 10 People of the Decade? If you have anything to say, please email it to me -- I'll put together another post if we get some interesting responses.
[Note: When NYTE launched the Hall of Fame last month, we asked all of the inductees to vote for those members who, in their view, had made the most significant and outstanding contributions to the NYC indie theater scene during the past ten years. We think that this is a particularly meaningful recognition because it is bestowed upon these individuals and companies by their peers.]