WEST SIDE STORY – Musical
JOSEPH JEFFERSON AWARD RECOMMENDED PRODUCTION
"I can’t think of an American musical with a better pedigree than 'West Side Story', conceived, directed, and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, with a score by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and a book by Arthur Laurents. Yes, the show is pretty great. But it IS almost 65 years old. It’s hard to imagine anyone having a fresh take on this material (even in a year when Steven Spielberg has released his own big-budget movie revival). Yet that is what the folks at Marriott Theatre have done. In this revival they have taken an old warhorse and made it gambol and sing and kick around the pasture like a high-spirited colt. Every element of the production (directed by Victor Malana Maog and choreographed by Alex Sanchez) works perfectly—the acting, the dancing, the set design, the scene changes. Everything flows with a precision, grace, and power that keeps the audience on the edge of its seat, even audience members like me who have seen this show many times, and went into the theater thinking I knew it too well to be surprised. How wrong I was.”
Chicago Reader – Highly Recommend
“Marriott Lincolnshire’s presentation of 'West Side Story' is energetic, joyful, vibrantly colorful with an infectious Jazz and Latin vibe. Critically-acclaimed and award-winning 25 year veteran of the stage Director Victor Malana Maog projects the passion and drive of this still pertinent tale. Maog admits “'West Side Story' has been a dream project of mine. This production celebrates the joy of gathering around a remarkable classic and understanding the duty to make these characters–the Jets and Sharks–as whole and human as we possibly can in 2022.” Along with his superb team, musical director Jeff Award winner Ryan T. Nelson and choreographer Jeff Award nominee Alex Sanchez, Maog achieves this goal.”
Splash Magazine Chicago – Highly Recommend
“…maybe it’s the perfect time to revisit a 'Story' that, yes, has its fair share of onstage adolescent carnage, but also offers its tempering with a Jerome Robbins ballet breaking out mid-stabbing. Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire is doing just that, with a brilliant Victor Malana Maog-directed, Alex Sanchez-choreographed production that’s as well-danced, well-sung and well-acted as any before staged…Maog’s Sharks and Jets exude real, mindless racial hatred. He lets the material speak, sing and play for itself, utilizing Robbins’/Sanchez’s brilliant choreography and casting a giant team of nearly 30 young, energetic, insanely talented hoofers and singers to do their thing.”
Chicagoland Musical Theatre – Highly Recommend
“Marriott’s Dance-Fueled ‘West Side Story’ Remains True to a Classic… Especially notable for its rip-roaring Latin and jazz-infused dance sequences… There is an aura of both the operatic and the balletic in 'West Side Story,' and while the Marriott’s in-the-round stage might not have quite the grandeur of a proscenium theater, director Victor Malana Maog makes use of its intimacy.”
WTTW Chicago – Highly Recommend
“Marriott’s production of 'West Side Story' is directed by Victor Malana Maog, making his Marriott debut, but is a much-honored and highly lauded theatre artist. He makes this production feel electrified, contrasted with the quieter optimism and frantic desperation of the young lovers, wishing for a world where everyone is accepted for who they are…The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire is currently presenting a magnificent, new arena production here. And while there are a few familiar faces amongst the cast, most of this talented, young company of triple threats are making their Marriott, and some their Chicago, debut. An awe-inspiring evening of theatre awaits patrons, featuring a gorgeous musical, a company of astounding singers with fine acting skills and unbelievable dancing prowess. The theatre gives audiences their money’s worth. Fans who know this show by heart won’t be disappointed, but might find few new surprises in the staging of numbers such as “Officer Krupke,” “I Feel Pretty,” “America” and “Somewhere.” And for those lucky patrons who are discovering this American classic for the first time, this is truly a production worthy of the standing ovation it received opening night.”
Chicago Theatre Review – Highly Recommend
“Marriott's revival of the "Romeo and Juliet"-inspired tragedy largely honors Robbins' vision. But director Victor Malana Maog and choreographer Alex Sanchez have made some interesting narrative and choreographic choices, beginning with Jeffrey D. Kmiec's set, which is marked by chain-link panels. Lowered, they make the compact Lincolnshire stage feel like a cage. Trapped inside are the Jets, led by Drew Redington's lean and hungry Riff, and the Sharks, captained by Bernardo (Gary Cooper). Warring over a piece of concrete to call their own, they and their gangs are caught in an endless cycle of violence, the impact of which Maog illustrates with a wrenching final image of young women united in grief, trailing the body of yet another young victim of street violence.”
“The Lincolnshire theater's in-the-round configuration lends to the musical an intimacy proscenium stage productions lack. As a result, Maog's well-paced production pays off emotionally.”
Daily Herald – 3.5 out of 4 stars – Highly Recommend
“Director Victor Malana Maog and Choreographer Alex Sanchez amazed us all with what they did on this stage… No matter how many times you have seen it, you might just want to see what [they] have done to take you back to 1957 New York for 'West Side Story'."
Around The Town Chicago – Highly Recommend
“A Rockin’ Revival of 'West Side Story' at Marriott: Fans of musical theater in general and 'West Side Story' in particular should thoroughly enjoy the Marriott Theatre revival. The production offers everything this demanding classic requires — intelligent directing, skilled high energy choreography, and a large talented cast, most of them triple threat singers, dancers, and actors, with the emphasis on athletic and expressive dancing.”
Stage and Cinema Chicago – Highly Recommend
“Pretty darn good… don’t hesitate to catch it”
Chicago Sun Times – 3 out of 4 stars – Recommend
SOUTH PACIFIC – Musical
JOSEPH JEFFERSON AWARD RECOMMENDED PRODUCTION
Drury Lane Theatre
"Under the open-hearted direction of Victor Malana Maog...Both [Samantha] Hill and Robert Cuccioli, are Broadway stars of a level we don't often see on the road these days...Fans of this title or genre won’t want to miss (this production)...A lovely 'South Pacific', at once restless and compassionate."
-Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended – 3.5 stars (out of 4) - Critic's Pick
"...Under director Victor Malana Maog’s new staging for the Drury Lane, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s lush-as-jasmine-in-high-summer score has never sounded more beautiful."
-Catey Sullivan, Chicago Sun Times - Recommended
"...At nearly 70 years old, it's amazing how well 'South Pacific' holds up. The 1949 Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical wows on a number of fronts, especially in director Victor Malana Maog's solid revival for Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace."
-Scott C. Morgan, Daily Herald- Recommended – 3 Stars (out of 4)
"...Director Victor Malana Maog has an excellent ensemble team that brings this classic film to life at Drury Lane Theatre which was aided by music director Roberta Duchak. Together they made 'South Pacific' another timeless delight."
-Rick and Brenda McCain, Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Highly Recommended
"Directed to perfection by Victor Malana Maog...I found this to be one of the shortest 2 hours - 45 minute of musical theater out there..."
-Alan Bresloff, Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended – 5 stars (out of 5)
"Victor Malana Maog has beautifully crafted a richly textured interpretation of this musical story...But, more than that, this gifted director has guided each and every actor to create a real human being, not simply ‘a character’......There is so much to recommend in this gorgeous, topical production. The cast is perfection, the orchestra sounds full and rich. The show’s technical support is flawless and, of course, the musical itself is an American treasure. Quite simply put, to miss this production is to miss out on one of the year’s very best pieces of theatre."
-Colin Douglas, Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended
“Victor Malana Maog could have coasted on supervising a basically coasted sure-fire show, but he’s unearthed riches in the narrative and score I’d never seen before. Maog has deepened the character of Bloody Mary, elevating her from a one song presence (Bali Hai’) into a character of real dramatic weight. Matt Crowle’s Luther Billis is stripped of any excessive wise guy silliness and converted into a meaningful, though still humorous, figure in the story...’South Pacific’ can’t help but be musically satisfying, but this revival has a dramatic and emotional strength that takes it to a new level. The music should be familiar to almost any active theatergoer, but patrons who haven’t seen a full staging in years will embark on a voyage of discovery as they see the impressive package unfold on the Drury Lane stage."
-Dan Zeff, Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended – 4 stars (out of 4)
“...This ‘South Pacific’ [at Drury Lane] plays it straight...And with talented Filipino director Victor Malana Maog’s powerhouse cast led by Broadway stars and Chicagoland’s best physical comic actor in Matt Crowle, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that....Music Director Roberta Duchak and Choreographer Otis Sallid are at the top of their games showing off this 17-time Tony Award-winning show, including Best Musical in 1950 and Best Musical Revival in 2008."
-Barry Reszel, Chicagoland Musical Theatre - Highly Recommended
"There is a brilliant simplicity to the Drury Lane’s lofty new production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s new production of 'South Pacific'. Director Victor Malana Maog and his creative team have delivered a visual stunner, assembling an extraordinary cast – led by the commanding performances of Tony Award nominee Robert Cuccioli and Samantha Hill – while perfectly navigating the delicate divide of the themes of prejudice and racism to make a powerful evening of entertainment. It's brawny, boisterous, and beautiful....Musical Director Roberta Duchak and Conductor Christopher Sargent have created an exhilarating musical experience. It helps to have the exceptional talents of Cuccioli and Hill at the center of a professional cast. What is striking, however, is that every transitional change of set (Scott Davis), lighting (Yael Lebetzky), costumes (Olivera Gajic) and sound (Ray Nardelli) are perfectly woven together with the choreography (Otis Sallid) to create a series of simple, but dramatically effective tableaus."
-Ed Tracy, PicksInSix - Highly Recommended
"...Boasting a little Miley Cyrus sass and Cary Grant class, respectively, Broadway's Samantha Hill and Tony Award nominee Robert Cuccioli are superb in the lead roles. They, like Yvonne Strumecki (Bloody Mary), deserve Jeff Award nominations for rich performances that convey the complexity of their characters and the arcs (particularly for Nellie) they achieve."
-Janet Arvia, Rebellious Magazine For Women - Highly Recommended
“Boasting an all-star cast, beautiful design, and beloved score, Drury Lane Theatre’s 'South Pacific' provides a truly enchanting evening of theatre – both entertaining and though-provoking as it addresses sobering themes such as racism and bigotry...The diverse characters of South Pacific are treated with care by director Victor Malana Maog...Overall, 'South Pacific' is a beautifully rendered version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic...a lovely, though troubled, paradise”
-Emily McClanathan, Broadway World - Highly Recommended
“…thoroughly impressed with Drury Lane’s warm, happy romantic interpretation of the classic show…the best I can remember in recent history….Each and every voice is outstanding…The musical, well-directed by Victor Malana Maog, also includes perhaps one of the strongest supporting casts in any production of ‘South Pacific’ I have ever seen.”
-Kimberly Katz, Buzz Center Stage – Highly Recommended
South Pacific | Montage
SEE ROCK CITY - Play
Chester Theatre Company
“…it’s a pitch perfect performance.”
-Richard Dyer, Boston Globe
“ …offers a reality that is as complex as the realities of day-to-day life…a sequel every bit as accomplished as its progenitor, 'Last Train to Nibroc'…[Hutton] is particularly well-served by director Victor Maog.”
-Jeffrey Borak, Berkshire Eagle – Top 5 Productions of 2005 Summer Season
THE TEMPEST (Three-Man Adaptation by Victor Maog) - Play
Resonance Ensemble at The Ohio Theater
“provocative to watch…an interesting, streamlined production of Williams Shakespeare’s 'The Tempest' adapted and directed by Victor Maog…sharp insights into some of the aspects of the play…lovely fantasical moments...”
-Martin Denton, nytheatre.com
SEX! DRUGS! & UKULELES! (World Premiere) – Musical
Theatre for a New City
“Never has a musical been so infectiously delightful as 'Sex! Drugs! & Ukuleles!'… a cast and chorus that are irresistibly charming in each and every scene, the joy was contagious. My dreaded 80 minutes were a capsule of pure delight…'Sex! Drugs! & Ukuleles!' is a camp tour-de-force that manages, somehow, to also be steeped in American roots music.”
-Rayhané S. Sanders, Show Business Weekly
"The songs, all in the New Orleans jazz mode, are short, optimistic …and come cascading one right after another. The performers play the broad, winking comedy appealingly....A fast 90 minutes, 'Sex! Drugs! & Ukuleles!' charms with ease, rightly wearing its limited ambitions as a badge of honor: to provide a little musical entertainment in a troubled world."
- Christopher Murray, Backstage - Critic's Pick*
"It has been a very long time since I've had as much fun at a musical as I had at 'Sex! Drugs! & Ukuleles!' I was also unexpectedly touched....director Victor Maog, whose realization of this piece on stage at TNC in a modest but utterly deft production is outstanding....Maog set up this conceit with wit and economy, so that we instantly understand that this is a cautionary tale, but one with at least a morsel of hope contained within it."
Martin Denton, nytheatre.com - Critic's Pick -- PICK OF THE WEEK* - Year In Review Highlight
"...the playful strumming and the endearing innocence of the characters, who dub sex with a loved one 'monogomation', left a mostly optimistic feeling. And damned if I wasn't whistling the kitschy, plucky refrain on my way out of the theater."
- Emily Meredith, NY Press
"Finally, the poodle of the guitar world gets some respect..."
-Time Out New York
THE INTERVIEW (Regional Premiere) - Play
Chester Theatre Company
"Victor Maog directs 'The Interview' smoothly and with a fine ear for its mournful music....It's almost a shock, afterward, to realize that you've seen a production of this caliber in an auditorium in the Chester Town Hall. It makes you curious to see more this season...."
-Louise Kennedy, The Boston Globe – Critic’s Pick
"Compellingly written and staged Holocaust play...Vivid, nuanced portrayal...['The Interview'] is not just deeply moving, but often funny....[Victor Maog's] sensitive direction is well supported by Sandra Goldmark's nicely detailed but simple set design, and the work of lighting, costume, and sound designers."
-Elyse Sommer, CurtainUp
"...respectfully and believably presented under Victor Maog's direction...it is performed by an able and insightful cast..."
-Jeffrey Borak, Berkshire Eagle
THE TRAJECTORY OF A HEART, FRACTURED (World Premiere) - Play
Second Generation Productions
"Hilarious… beautiful…you might be tempted to come see the show again"
-Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times
"Of interest to any contemporary audience… stunning… unusual… original…pleasurable due to the talented ensemble and assorted creative choices"
-Jerry Portwood, Backstage – Critic’s Pick
“Victor Maog directs with precision.”
-Jo Ann Rosen, NYTheatre.Com – Critic’s Pick
BECOMING ADELE (Off Broadway Premiere) - Play
Gotham Stage Company
“'Becoming Adele' relies on a sweet, if fantastical, understanding of class to remind us that Good Things Happen to Those Who Persevere."
- Ginnia Belafante, The New York Times
“Stern's performance, under the direction of Victor Maog, is beyond a doubt brilliant. She is the loud-mouthed outer borough Italian par excellence.”
-Paulanne Simmons, New York Theatre Wire
“Engaging...Often sounding like a teleconference among Tyne Daly, Tracey Ullman,and Ethel Merman, Stern has the right kind of grit, humor, and New York chutzpah to make Adele believable and sympathetic...Stern is certainly prepared for the paces director Victor Maog puts her through in accordance with the keep-'em-moving rules of solo shows...Guiltily pleasurable..."
-David Finkle, TheatreMania
"…impeccably produced presentation...Honest and funny...The choice of transition music, Antje Ellermann's scenic design, and Victor Maog's direction are all flawlessly executed...Of course Kimberly Stern, as Adele, must ultimately carry the show. Fortunately, she handles the script with earnestness and charm."
-Mitch Montgomery, Off Off Online
"Stern, who in voice and stature resembles Rosie O'Donnell (albeit with considerably more onstage charm), is a friendly and funny actress, who breezily brushes off jokes as though she were pushing aside an errant lock of hair."
"As portrayed by Kimberly Stern, Adele Scabaglio, the heroine of Eric Houston's one-person play 'Becoming Adele', is a woman of admirable spunk, vivacity, and touching vulnerability."
- Ron Cohen, Backstage
LITTLE TRAIN (World Premiere) - Play
Teatro Ng Tanan
“Director Victor Maog has put together a promising production…a complex web whose threads are spun from numerous looms…an entertaining ride for all…”
-Patrick Anderson, Asian Week
RAGTIME (Regional Premiere) - Musical
Foothills Theater Company
“Big ambitions, big cast and big success are some of the attributes of [this] production of 'Ragtime'…cast members turn in assured performances under the clever and imaginative direction of Victor Maog…there was never any doubt Sunday that one was watching a superb production”
-Richard Duckett, Telegram and Gazette
“Foothill’s staging is stunning…the theatre was live with the energy of powerful performances… a transforming experience for the audience…truly moving…”
-Missy Nicholson, Worcester Magazine
NEWS TO ME (World Premiere) - Musical
“…an enthusiastic commitment to merging a kind of in-your-face ‘60s political street theatre (the founders worked with the famed San Francisco Mime Troupe) with wider theatrical styles, better manners and greater production values…a fast-moving 90-minute show, efficiently staged by Victor Maog…there’s talent, commitment and energy…”
-Frank Rizzo, Hartford Courant
“It’s hard to make bureaucratic policy into gripping theatre, but this strategy – to focus on engaging characters with compelling stories – offers a way in…All are well served by Victor Maog, an up-and-coming young director who helped shape the piece.”
-Karen Bovard, Hartford Advocate – Critic’s Pick
PIRATES OF PENZANCE - Musical
West Shore College
“…a ‘hot’ production…it’s amazing what a director (Victor Maog) can do with a 30-plus cast on a small stage with few props… this is a ‘Must-See’”
-Cheryl Higginson, Ludington Daily News
WORKING - Musical
Tracy Performing Arts
“hangs together nicely and moves seamlessly…Victor Maog directs with an effectively unified concept…offers a cross section of this area’s ages, personalities, talents and theatrical experiences…a satisfying, entertaining, and uplifting work.”
-Sherman Spencer, The Stockton Record
LAST TAIN TO NIBROC - Play
“well crafted, intelligent…Victor Maog nicely directs this production which, although small in scope, is big on charm…This portrait of America is definitely worth visiting…”
-Jack Felix, Williamsport Sun-Gazette