30th and 31st Performances of the 141st Annual Season International Theater Series
Saturday Evening, December 14, 2019 at 8:00 Sunday Afternoon, December 15, 2019 at 4:00
Matt Ray Machine Dazzle
Music Director & Arranger Set & Costume Design
John Torres Jimin Brelsford
Lighting Design Sound Design
Pomegranate Arts and Nature’s Darlings
Co-producers and Commissioners
Power Center Ann Arbor
TAYLOR MAC’S HOLIDAY SAUCE
Conceived, written, performed, and directed by
This weekend’s performances are supported by The Renegade Venture Fund, established by the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation, and by Louise Taylor.
This weekend’s performances are funded in part by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Endowment Fund and the William Davidson Foundation.
Media partnership provided by Between The Lines and Metro Times.
Special thanks to Scott Hanoian and members of the UMS Choral Union for their participation in this weekend’s performances.
Taylor Mac appears by arrangement with Pomegranate Arts.
In consideration of the artists and the audience, please refrain from the use of electronic devices during the performance.
The photography, sound recording, or videotaping of this performance is prohibited.
Vocals / Taylor Mac
Piano and Vocals / Matt Ray Performer / Machine Dazzle
Drums / Bernice “Boom Boom” Brooks Vocals / Steffanie Christi’an
Vocals / Thornetta Davis
Guitar / Viva DeConcini
Trumpet / Antoine Drye
Trumpet / Greg Glassman
Trombone / J. Walter Hawkes
Cello / Marika Hughes
Violin / Dana Lyn
Bass / Gary Wang
with Special Guests James Tigger! Ferguson Glenn Marla
Technical Director / Janet Clancy
Stage Manager / Nathan K. Claus Company Manager / Willa Ellafair Folmar Lighting Assistant / Paul Frydrychowski Assistant Stage Manager / Cassey Kivnick Co-Set Design / Jeremy Lydic
Associate Set Design / Raphael Mishler Front of House Audio Engineer / Will Neal
Executive Producer / Linda Brumbach Associate Producer / Alisa E. Regas
This evening’s performance is approximately two hours in duration and is performed without intermission.
The party continues post-performance in the Power Center lobby, where you can let Sexual Consent Santa know if you’ve been naughty or nice by posing for a photo at Santa’s holiday photo booth.
Taylor Mac, who uses “judy” — not as
a name but as a gender pronoun — is
a playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director, and producer. Judy’s work has been performed in hundreds of venues including on Broadway and in New York’s Town Hall, Lincoln Center, Celebrate Brooklyn, and Playwrights Horizons, as well as London’s Hackney Empire and Barbican, DC’s Kennedy Center, Los Angeles’s Royce
Hall and Ace Theater (through the Center for the Art of Performance), Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, the Sydney Opera House, the Melbourne Festival (Forum Theater), Stockholm’s Sodra Theatern, the Spoleto Festival, and San Francisco’s Curran Theater and MOMA.
Judy is the author of many works of theater including Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus, A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, Holiday Sauce, Hir, The Walk Across America for Mother Earth, Comparison is Violence, The Lily’s Revenge, The Young Ladies Of, Red Tide Blooming, The Be(a)
st of Taylor Mac, Cardiac Arrest or Venus
on a Half-Clam, The Face of Liberalism, Okay, Maurizio Pollini, A Crevice, and The Hot Month and the soon-to-be-premiered plays Prosperous Fools and The Fre.
Sometimes judy acts in other people’s plays (or co-creations). Notably: Shen Teh/Shui Ta in The Foundry Theater’s production of Good Person of Szechwan at La Mama and the Public Theater, in the City Center’s Encores production of Gone Missing, Puck/Egeus in the Classic Stage Company’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream, and in the two-man vaudeville The Last Two People On Earth opposite Mandy Patinkin and directed by Susan Stroman.
Judy is a MacArthur Fellow, a Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Drama, a Tony-nominated
playwright, and the recipient of multiple awards including the Kennedy Prize, a NY Drama Critics Circle Award, a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a Guggenheim, the Herb Alpert in Theater, the Peter Zeisler Memorial Award, the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, two Bessies, two Obies, a Helpmann, and an Ethyl Eichelberger Award. An alumnus of New Dramatists, judy is currently a New York Theater Workshop Usual Suspect and the resident playwright at the Here Arts Center.
Matt Ray (piano, vocals, music director,
arranger) is a Brooklyn-based pianist, singer, songwriter, arranger, and music director. His arrangements have been called “wizardly” (Time Out NY) and “ingenious” (New York Times), and his piano playing referred to as “classic, well-oiled swing” (New York Times) and “to cry for” (Ebony). For his work on Taylor Mac’s show A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, he and Mac shared the 2017 Kennedy Prize for “Drama Inspired By American History.” Notable live performances include playing
at Carnegie Hall with Kat Edmonson, playing the Hollywood Bowl with reggae legend Burning Spear, and touring the Caribbean and Central America with his piano trio as a US Department of State Jazz Ambassador. His show Matt Ray Plays Hoagy Carmichael featuring Kat Edmonson premiered at Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series in 2018. Other work includes music directing The Billie Holiday Project at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, recording for and appearing in the hit film Can You Ever Forgive Me? with Justin Vivian Bond, Lincoln Center with Joey Arias, Edinburgh Fringe with Lady Rizo, music directing Taylor Mac’s Obie
award-winning play The Lily’s Revenge
at the HERE Arts Center in New York,
and co-writing songs for and performing in Bridget Everett’s one-hour Comedy Central special Gynecological Wonder as well as Everett’s hit show Rock Bottom. Mr. Ray has released two jazz albums as a leader: We Got It! (2001) and Lost In New York (2006); and one album of original pop/folk material called Songs For the Anonymous (2013). For more information, visit mattray.nyc.
Machine Dazzle (set design/costume design/performer) has been dazzling stages via costumes, sets, and performance since his arrival in New York in 1994. Credits include Julie Atlas Muz’s I Am The Moon And You Are The Man On Me (2004), Big Art Group’s House Of No More (2006), Justin Vivian Bond’s Lustre (2008), Taylor Mac’s The Lily’s Revenge (2009), Justin Vivian Bond’s Re:Galli Blonde (2011), Taylor Mac’s Walk Across America For Mother Earth (2012), Chris Tanner’s Football Head (2014), Soomi Kim’s Change (2015), Pig Iron Theater’s I Promised Myself
To Live Faster (2015), Bombay Ricky (Prototype Festival 2016), Opera Philadelphia’s Dito and Aeneus (2017), and Spiegleworld’s Opium (Las Vegas 2018).
In September 2019, Dazzle premiered his new original show Treasure at the Guggenheim Museum as a commission by Works and Process. In addition, he has recently held residencies at Tyler School of Art at Temple University, Moody Center for the Arts at University of Houston,
and Harvard University’s Theater, Dance & Media Department, where he will be
serving as costume designer for their
fall production of Queer Cabaret, devised and directed by Carmelita Tropicana. In November 2019, Dazzle held a residency at Wesleyan University, and his work
was simultaneously exhibited at Parsons School of Design in New York City. In 2020, he will unveil a piece for THE BIG SPLASH, commissioned by Hancher Auditorium in collaboration with the municipality of Iowa City and the University of Iowa. Machine Dazzle is an artist-in-residence at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Niegel Smith (co-director) is a Bessie Award-winning theater director and performance artist. He is the artistic director of NYC’s Obie Award-winning theater, The Flea; board member of A.R.T./New York; and ringleader of Willing Participant, an artistic activist organization.
His theater work has been produced by The Alley, HERE Arts Center, Hip Hop Theatre Festival, Magic Theatre, Mixed Blood, New York Fringe Festival, New York Live Arts, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, Playwrights Horizons, Pomegranate Arts, The Public Theater, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Summer Play Festival, and Under the Radar, and his participatory walks and performances have been produced by Abrons Arts Center, American Realness, Dartmouth College, Elastic City, The Invisible Dog, Jack, The New Museum, Prelude Festival, PS 122, the Van Alen Institute, and Visual AIDS. He often collaborates with playwright/performer Taylor Mac and with artist Todd Shalom. Mr. Smith was co-director of the critically acclaimed A 24-Decade History of Popular
Photo (next spread): Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce; photographer: Little Fang.
Music, winner of the Kennedy Prize in Drama, the Edwin Booth Award, and a Pulitzer Prize finalist.
Before surviving high school in Detroit, Mr. Smith grew up in the North Carolina Piedmont, fishing with his dad, shopping with his mom, and inventing tall-tale fantasies with his two younger brothers. For more information, visit niegelsmith.com.
John Torres’s (lighting design) work includes designs for dance, theater, music, fashion, and print. In collaboration with Robert Wilson, productions have included EDDA (Det Norske Teatret
Oslo) and Cheek to Cheek Live! With
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga (PBS Great Performances). Opera projects include La Traviata and Orfeo et Euryidice at Opera Orchestre National Montpellier and in 2019, Tristan and Isolde at La Monnaie/
de Munt in Brussels. Recent theater has included Twelfth Night for Shakespeare in the Park, Delacorte Theatre, and The Black Clown (A.R.T. Cambridge). Recent musical projects include Taylor Mac’s A 24 Decade History of Popular Music and Solange Knowles // Cosmic Journey. In dance,
he designed Toss and Rogues with choreographer Trisha Brown at Theatre National de Chaillot, Paris and Available Light with choreographer Lucinda Childs at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles. Recent fashion projects include Givenchy S/S 2015 (New York) and Yeezy 3 by Kanye West at Madison Square Garden. With director Steven Klein, he worked on
music videos Chun Li (Nicki Minaj)
and Wolves (Kanye West). For more information, visit nytelytedesign.com.
Jimin Brelsford (sound design) makes things louder. As a freelance designer and engineer, he has worked on a range of domestic and international productions
with companies such as Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company, Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People, Half Straddle, Big Dance Theater, and Kneehigh Theatre. He has also served in supervisory roles at New York cultural institutions such as St. Ann’s Warehouse and Celebrate Brooklyn.
Bernice “Boom Boom” Brooks (drums)
is a drummer, television producer, and teaching artist, and one of the most versatile female drummers locally, nationally, and internationally. After studying at the Conservatory of Music in Chicago and with various teachers and instructors, she went to hone her skills
at various venues with different musical directors, leaders, bands, and groups from all over the planet. She has produced
a television show for the last 20 years
on bricartsmedia.org called The Bernice Brooks Show. She has performed with a long list of artists and performers including Shelia E, The O’Jays, Ray Charles, Tito Puente, Bill Withers, Elvis Costello, Joanne Brackeen, Etta James, Gregory Hines, Savion Glover, and so many great gospel, jazz, blues, and R&B musicians. She has been touring with Taylor Mac for the last four years.
Whether in front of an audience of 10 or a crowd of 10,000, singer, songwriter, and performer Steffanie Christi’an (vocals) commands the stage with an electrifying blend of grit and sensuality. Singing before she could speak, she bares her soul in
her lyrics and awes listeners with her soaring vocals. Distinguished by seamless versatility and an eclectic stable of influences, from Sam Cooke to Kurt Cobain, her performances leave audiences feeling flushed and fed. She has performed with
a variety of artists including MacArthur Award-winner Taylor Mac, hip-hop
legend Talib Kweli, techno music pioneers Inner City, and she has released four independent EPs and traveled the world rocking stages from California to Australia. She released her highly anticipated first full-length album in March 2019 to rave reviews. In addition to her solo career, she will be the vocalist for Inner City on their upcoming European tour.
Thornetta Davis (vocals) is an international singer, songwriter, recording artist, and SAG/AFTRA member. She was awarded
by the Detroit Blues Society the “Living Lifetime Achievement Award” and awarded a star on the Canada South
Blues Museum Walk of Fame. In 2015,
she was crowned “Detroit’s Queen of
the Blues!” in a ceremony by the Detroit Blues Society, with proclamations from
the City of Detroit, County of Wayne, and the State of Michigan. Her labor of love CD entitled Honest Woman has recently been nominated by the Blues Foundation for two2017 Blues Music Awards for “Best Song” (I gotta sang the blues) and “Emerging Artist CD.” As a winner of over 30 Detroit Music Awards, she won eight 2017 Detroit Music Awards, including “Outstanding Record Producer,” “Outstanding Blues Recording,” “Outstanding Blues Vocalist,” and “Outstanding Live Performance.”
As winner of the 2017 Blues Blast Magazine Music Awards for “Best Soul/ Blues Album,” and Big City Rhythm & Blues Magazine ”Coolest Blues Song,” she has garnered international attention by winning the prestigious French 2018 La Academie du Jazz Award for “Best Blues Album.”
Viva Deconcini (guitar) plays guitar like
a flaming sword, a screaming train, a ringing bell, and a scratching chicken. She sings like if Freddy Mercury had been
a woman. She’s played everywhere from Bonnaroo to Monterey Jazz Fest and has been featured in Guitar Player magazine. Her last two records Rock & Roll Lover andRhinestones & Rust charted on CMJ. Her musical tragicomedy podcast I Love Olivia was released in summer 2019. For more information, please visit vivadeconcini.com.
Antoine Drye (trumpet) is a New York- based trumpeter. He has worked in and out of the jazz scene with a wide range of artists including Ellis Marsalis, Mike Longo, Houston Person, The Brand New Heavies, Wilson Pickett, Daniel Lanois, and Paul Simon. With such a broad resume, it’s only fitting that he joyfully adds Taylor Mac! Inaddition to work as a trumpeter, Mr. Drye is a partner at The Samurai Hotel recording studio in Astoria, Queens, where a wide range of music for international artists
and entertainers, movies, commercials and recordings are produced. For more information, visit thesamuraihotel.com.
Greg Glassman (trumpet) has shared the stage and recording studio with some of the greatest voices in jazz, including Clark Terry, Marcus Belgrave, Roswell Rudd, Sheila Jordan, Oliver Lake, Sherman Irby, and John Esposito. He has performed around the world with a diverse array of artists including The Skatalites, Oscar Perez’s Nuevo Comienzo, and Burning Spear. Mr. Glassman’s current focus is his quintet, co-led with Stacy Dillard, which holds a residency of eight years at Fat Cat in Greenwich Village.
J. Walter Hawkes (trombone), originally from Pascagoula, Mississippi, is a four- time Emmy Award-winning composer, trombonist, and ukulele player. He has been an active performer, composer, and arranger/orchestrator in New York
City for two decades. He has played and/ or recorded with some people you’ve possibly heard of, including Norah Jones, Elvis Costello, Jon Hendricks, John Lithgow; and many more you haven’t. It’s possible that he’s freaked out your kids with the music he’s composed for Wonder Pets, Third & Bird, and Blue’s Clues, as
well as other TV cartoony gems. He is
now the musical director of Peg + Cat, an animated show teaching math concepts to preschoolers on PBS.
Marika Hughes (cello) is a native New Yorker, a cellist, a singer, a songwriter, and a storyteller on The Moth. She has performed and/or recorded with Whitney Houston, Lou Reed, Anthony Braxton, David Byrne, Henry Threadgill, Adele, and D’Angelo. She is a teaching artist/director at Young Arts, a teacher at the Heifetz Institute, and works with the Carnegie Hall Lullaby Project. She has performed on the David Letterman and Jimmy
Fallon shows as well as Saturday Night Live. She leads her bands Bottom Heavy and the New String Quartet. She lives in the countryside of Kings County.
Dana Lyn (violin) is a violinist/fiddler, pianist, and enthusiastic bass player, at home in a wide range of musical genres. She has worked and performed with Stew and Heidi Rodewald, Ethan Hawke, avant- cellist Hank Roberts, D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Susan McKeown, Martin Hayes, and the Walkmen. As a composer, she has received commissions from Brooklyn Rider, the National Arts Council of Ireland, the Inception Orchestra, and the Apple Hill String Quartet. She has released eight albums under her name, all of which she produced or co-produced. Currently, her own projects include a mixed quintet, Mother Octopus, a collaboration with
actor Vincent D’Onofrio called Slim Bone Head Volt, and a duo with guitarist Kyle Sanna. Most recently, she was an artist-in- residence at the Baryshnikov Arts Center and is currently a member of the Joe’s Pub Working Group. She is also a well-versed fiddle player in the Irish tradition.
Gary Wang (bass) has been playing professionally in New York City for over 25 years, performing, touring, and recording with artists including Anat Fort, Taylor Mac, Ben Monder, Chris Cheek, Matt
Ray, Madeleine Peyroux, T.S. Monk, Molly Ringwald, and Dena DeRose. He has also been involved in composing and music production, most recently with his own solo project Shapes On Parade, with two albums released on Bandcamp in the
last two years. He is a member of the San Francisco-based band The Invisible Cities and has also contributed production and overdubbing work to projects by numerous artists including Michael Leonhart, Sam Sadigursky, and Goh Nakamura. He also composed and recorded the music
for several recent collaborations with choreographer Kakuti Lin and the Full Circle Dance Company.
James Tigger! Ferguson (special
guest), ”The Godfather of Neo-Boylesque,” is a burlesque artist, actor, and dancer who has performed in New York since 1988 and around the world since 1993. A pioneer inthe 1990s burlesque renaissance who won the first-ever “King of Boylesque” title at Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, his act was banned at Rome’s Gay Village.
He has headlined festivals all around Europe, Australia, North America, and South America. Tigger! has been delighted to work and play with his Sister-Resister Taylor Mac for many years.
Glenn Marla (special guest) has been described as a “Downtown Prophet” and a “obese transvestite in tights.” Mx Marla is a Brooklyn-based theater and puppet artist, art therapist, and beauty pageant queen (Miss LES, Mr. Coney Island). Most recently Glenn has been playing with Puppets! debuting their solo puppet show Scarcity Freezer last fall at IRT Theater and just completed the Puppet Lab residency at St. Ann’s Warehouse where they began development on The Wild Unwanted.
For the past 20 years, Pomegranate Arts has worked in close collaboration with
a small group of contemporary artists
and arts institutions to bring bold and ambitious artistic ideas to fruition. Founder and director Linda Brumbach, along
with managing director Alisa E. Regas, produced the Olivier Award-winning revival of Einstein on the Beach, the multi-award-winning production of Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, and the Drama Desk Award-winning production of Charlie Victor Romeo. Since
its inception, Pomegranate Arts has produced over 30 major new performing arts productions and tours for Philip
Glass, Laurie Anderson, Lucinda Childs, Dan Zanes, London’s Improbable, Sankai Juku, Batsheva, and Bassem Youssef, and collaborated on new productions with the Kronos Quartet, Leonard Cohen, Robert Wilson, and Frank Gehry. Pomegranate Arts hopes to continue to build a community
of institutions and individuals that are inspired by the artists that help bring beauty and truth into the world, ask important questions, and take bold risks. Pomegranate Arts is the North American representation of Sankai Juku.
For more information, please visit pomegranatearts.com.
Founder and Director / Linda Brumbach Managing Director, Creative / Alisa E. Regas General Manager/Line Producer / Rachel Katwan Business Manager / Adam Thorburn
Production Manager / Jeremy Lydic
Company Manager / Willa Ellafair Folmar
Office Manager/Executive Assistant / Brit Katke
This weekend’s performances mark the third and fourth UMS performances by Taylor Mac, Machine Dazzle, and Matt Ray, following their UMS debuts in February 2016 in the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre in performances of
A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: Act VII (1956–1986).
THANK YOU TO SUPPORTERS OF THIS WEEKEND’S PERFORMANCES
Lead Presenting Sponsor
The Renegade Venture Fund, established by the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation
MAY WE ALSO RECOMMEND...
2/6 Cécile McLorin Salvant and Aaron Diehl 3/18–21 ANTHEM
Tickets available at www.ums.org.
ON THE EDUCATION HORIZON...
1/16 No Safety Net Keynote: In Conversation with Oskar Eustis (Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty Street, 5:10 pm)
1/22 Post-Performance Artist Q&A: The Believers Are But Brothers (Arthur Miller Theatre)
Must have a ticket to that evening’s performance to attend.
1/25 No Safety Net: Active Bystander Training
(Pierpont Commons East Room, 2101 Bonisteel Boulevard, 10:00 am) $30 paid advance registration required on ums.org.
Educational events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.
University Musical Society