MCA Director of Performance Programs Peter Taub was appointed to his position in 1996. Taub was executive director of the Randolph Street Gallery before joining the MCA. His first year of programming included Latin-jazz trumpeter Jerry Gonzalez, experimental reedist Douglas Ewart, and local free-improv artist Liof Munimula.
The MCA Stage has featured local, national, and international theater, dance, music, multimedia, and film performances in its 15-year history. The MCA Stage is known as the "most active interdisciplinary arts presenter in Chicago" in addition to working with local community organizations for the co-presentations of performing arts. The performance program developed Artists Up Close, which is a series of post-show talks, panels, discussions, and artist-led workshops designed to engage the audience with the artists. The 2009 season saw 80 performances featuring dance, music, theater, and cross-disciplinary forms, as well as 40 Artists Up Close discussions or workshops.
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Time is Not Even, Space is Not Empty by the Japanese-American dance artists Eiko & Koma is the first combination exhibition and performance project Taub curated for the MCA. The 2011 exhibition consists of three performances—Naked, The Caravan Project, and Regeneration—and a gallery presentation.
In September 2010, the MCA and Chicago-based Redmoon Theater co-produced the project The Astronaut’s Birthday, a multimedia public art spectacle inspired by science fiction and comic books that was projected onto the MCA façade as audience members watched from the MCA plaza. The production used new technologies, live performers, and hand-illustrated shadow imagery to display the 80-foot tall production turning pages like a comic book.
New York-based theater company Elevator Repair Service performed Gatz at the MCA in the company’s Chicago debut. The performance—a verbatim retelling of the unabridged version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby—took six hours as performers reenacted the story.
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