Concert Performance

Bark of Millions

A Parade Trance Extravaganza for the Living Library of the Deviant Theme

Taylor Mac & Matt Ray

European premiere
World premiere: 20 October 2023, Sydney Opera House

A group of people in garish, colourful clothing raise their hands in the air.

Bark of Millions © Daniel Boud

55 songs for 55 years of queer history: In this opulent four-hour concert show rich in emotions, Taylor Mac, Matt Ray and an ensemble of 22 artists sing one song for each year that has passed since the Stonewall Riots in New York. A celebration of memory and community, “a rock opera meditation on queerness”.

Please note:
The performance may contain strong language, sexual references and adult themes.

After their journey to Berlin with the pop odyssey “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music” in 2019, Taylor Mac and the artistic team are coming back to the Festspielhaus. Their new show “Bark of Millions”, co-commissioned by Berliner Festspiele, is a rock opera and ritually-meditative gathering in equal parts. In opulent fantasy costumes by Machine Dazzle, an ensemble of 22 artists sing, play and dance a total of 55 songs – one for each year that has passed since the New York Stonewall Riots, a central milestone in the LGBTQIA+-community’s struggle for equal rights. Because this four-hour celebration of queer art and history is also about keeping the essence of this struggle alive, Taylor Mac found inspiration for the lyrics in the spirit of important antecedents and contemporaries of queer history. Matt Ray composed the songs and is the show’s musical director; the choreography was created by Faye Driscoll. After performances at the Sydney Opera House, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, this “rock opera meditation on queerness” will now celebrate its European premiere at Haus der Berliner Festspiele. “Queer art”, said Taylor Mac in an interview on this work “doesn’t always want to be in a tiny Black Box. It wants to have room to breathe. The activism of taking over the big stage is an important part of this piece.”

The works of Taylor Mac (pronoun: judy) are distinguished by their collage structure and their community-building momentum. Mac studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, has written and staged numerous plays and revues and received several awards, among them the International Ibsen Award, two Obie Awards and two Bessie Awards. Furthermore, judy was nominated for the Tony Award and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. For “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music”, Taylor Mac and Matt Ray jointly received the Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History. Composer, pianist, singer and musical director Matt Ray has been working with Taylor Mac for many years. He has composed and staged musical shows, e.g. “Matt Ray Plays Hoagy Carmichael featuring Kat Edmonson”, and performed at venues including the Lincoln Center and the Hollywood Bowl. Faye Driscoll is one of New York’s important contemporary choreographers; her works have been repeatedly presented at the festival Tanz im August.

Artistic Team

Taylor MacLyrics, Concept, Direction
Matt RayMusic and Musical Direction
Niegel SmithCo-Director
Faye DriscollCo-Director and Choreographer
Machine DazzleCostumes
John TorresLighting Design
Brendan AanesSound Design
Matthew ButtreyArt Direction
Oscar Escobedo & Zach BlumnerCo-Props Design
Jeremy LydicProduction Manager
Rachel KatwanGeneral Manager
Florent TriouxCompany Manager
Jason KaiserProduction Stage Manager
Pomegranate Arts & Nature’s DarlingsProducers
Linda Brumbach & Alisa E. RegasCreative and Executive Producers


Ari Folman-Cohen, Bernice “Boom Boom” Brooks, Chris Giarmo, Dana Lyn, El Beh, Greg Glassman, Jack Fuller, Joel E. Mateo, Jules Skloot, Le Gateau Chocolat, Lisa “Paz” Parrott, Machine Dazzle, Mama Alto, Marika Hughes, Matt Ray, Sean Donovan, Steffanie Christi’an, Stephen Quinn, Taylor Mac, Thornetta Davis, Viva DeConcini, Wes Olivier

“Bark of Millions” was commissioned by Pomegranate Arts and BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music). The work was co-commissioned by Sydney Opera House and the Berliner Festspiele with additional support by the Ron Beller & Jennifer Moses Family Foundation and Hal Philipps. It was created during residencies at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park, MASS MoCA-North Adams (Massachusetts), Irish Arts Center (New York City), and PEAK Performances in the Alexander Kasser Theater, Montclair State University (New Jersey).