Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

15 Minutes with Victor Maog, Artistic Director of 2g

Victor Maog. Photo by Lia Chang

Victor Maog. Photo by Lia Chang

Victor Maog is a freelance director and since 2012, has been the Artistic Director of Second Generation Productions (2g), a New York City-based Asian American theater company that commissions, develops, and produces new plays and musicals. Along with Managing Director Jane Jung, Maog has brought 2g to Joe’s Pub, La Mama, 54 Below, New Ohio’s Ice Factory Festival and launched the 2ST Uptown Residency.

In 2014, Maog joined the directing team of the Disney/ABC Television Group’s New York Talent Showcase, which has continued to serve as a launching pad for discovering new talent, including Randall Park of ABC’s new comedy “Fresh Off The Boat,” Jesse Williams, of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Dancing with the Stars” judge Carrie Ann Inaba, and Academy-Award Winner Lupita Nyong’o.

As part of Disney/ABC Television Group’s ongoing commitment to find, foster and champion diverse talent, the 14 featured actors were selected from nearly 7,000 candidates who submitted their resumes, and approximately 500 who auditioned for ABC casting executives in New York. The actors performed one-act original scenes directed by Nelson Eusebio, Awoye Timpo and Maog. Many of the actors selected were submitted through showcase PARTNERS SAG-AFTRA, Actor’s Equity Association and Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, as well as theatre companies and organizations throughout the country. Following the showcase, the actors will work closely with ABC casting executives, who will mentor them throughout the year. The actors will have the opportunity to audition for ABC Entertainment Group’s current series and pilots.

The 2014 ABC Showcase cast. Photo courtesy of Marci Phillips

The 2014 ABC Showcase cast. Photo courtesy of Marci Phillips

The Talent Showcase is spearheaded by Keli Lee, Executive Vice President, ABC Casting, Marci Phillips, executive director, ABC Casting, Peachy Pascual, director, ABC Casting, Blaine Johnston, showcase coordinator, and the Los Angeles ABC Casting Office.

The Guardian: How ABC casts the diversity net wider for stars and talent

Victor Maog, David Henry Hwang and Jane Jung at The 2013 Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards, held in Lincoln Center’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater in New York on November 18, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

Victor Maog, David Henry Hwang and Jane Jung at The 2013 Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards, held in Lincoln Center’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater in New York on November 18, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

This month, Maog curated (with Jane Jung) a Howlround series examining Asian American Theater and exploring the theme of the 4th National Asian American Theater Conference & Festival, “Home: Here? There? Where?”.

I’ll Disband My Roving Gang of Thirty Asian Playwrights When You Stop Doing Asian Plays in Yellow Face* (*Exception: David Henry Hwang’s play Yellow Face) by Mike Lew
Asian American Theater: The Question of Home by Victor Maog
Home: Not Just a Place, But Also a Responsibility by Mashuq Deen
On History, Ideals, and Asian American Theater by Jane Jung

The 4th National Asian American Theater Conference & Festival, “Home: Here? There? Where?”, currently in session in Philadelphia, PA, from Wednesday, October 8 through Sunday, October 12, 2014, is presented by the Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artists (CAATA), dedicated to advancing the field of Asian American theater.  Use #theNAATF and #newplay in Twitter.

Oct. 8 -12: 2014 National Asian American Theater Conference & Festival Lineup

Maog serves on the board of CAATA, and is participating in two panels, 2020: Evolving Asian American Theater, and Minding the Gap and Bridging It, on Friday October 10, 2014 that will be livestreamed here.

2020: Evolving Asian American Theater
11am EDT/10am CDT/8am PDT

The model of ethnically-specific theaters has evolved over time to meet the needs of artists, audiences, and communities—what happens next? This moderated panel discussion will explore the following questions:
What critical steps helped to accelerate the growth of company? How was change facilitated internally and externally?
What trade offs were made along the way? What of nontraditional approaches?

As theater artists, we have created many homes, but even after many years most of our institutions seem to struggle financially, always worried about survival without the ability to focus on maximizing impact, much less innovating. How do we move out of this ghetto? Best practices from each theater will be highlighted.
With Victor Maog, Leslie Ishii, Jeff Liu and Roger Tang.

Minding the Gap and Bridging It
4:30pm EDT/3:30pm CDT/1:30pm PDT

Developed by Artists at Play, a theatre-producing collective based in Los Angeles, this session will engage both emerging and existing artists/leaders in conversations that will bring us together and plan out ideas of succession and partnership. Within the national Asian American theatre community, there is much information to be shared and utilized by veterans and up-and-comers alike. This highly participatory will include discussions about fostering mentorship and collaboration as well as how to avoid burnout yet maintain sustainability. Here’s to “bridging the gap” among currently existing generations and beyond.

With Julia Cho, Marie-Reine Velez and Victor Maog.

 Kristine Haruna Lee's Honey Baby Bamboo Child, directed by Victor Malana Maog, part of Second Generation Productions' Instant Vaudeville: Breaking Bamboo with Pun Bandhu, Kk Moggie, Yeeington Kevuardo and Matthew G. Park. Photo: Lia Chang


Kristine Haruna Lee’s Honey Baby Bamboo Child, directed by Victor Malana Maog, part of Second Generation Productions’ Instant Vaudeville: Breaking Bamboo with Pun Bandhu, Kk Moggie, Yeeington Kevuardo and Matthew G. Park. Photo: Lia Chang

Maog has directed and developed works at the Public, Hartford Stage, Williamstown, Signature, Mabou Mines, Intar, Ma-Yi, Lark, Playwright’s Realm, and New Dramatists. Received the NEA/TCG Career Development Award, Altvater Fellowship at Cornerstone, Van Lier Directing Fellowship at 2ST, and the Presidential Award with the Theatre Arts Project, where he served as Artistic Director at age twenty. He’s also a respected artist-educator who’s worked at schools such as NYU/Tisch, UPenn, Perry-Mansfield, and organizations including the American Theatre Wing, TDF, Roundabout, MTC, and The New Group.

Diane Phelan and Julian Cihi in Sung Rno's Galois. Photo by Erik Carter

Diane Phelan and Julian Cihi in Sung Rno’s Galois. Photo by Erik Carter

This summer, after a six year hiatus, Maog returned the company to full production, helming a full-length workshop of a new musical, Galois, at the New Ohio Theatre’s Ice Factory Festival 2014. The rock-mathematical-musical expression of the chaotic, revolutionary, and brief life of the historical figure, Evariste Galois, written by Sung Rno, composed by Aaron Jones, and featuring Julian Cihi, Diane Phelan, Jonathan-David, Robbie Tann, Shelley Thomas and Andrew Guilarte, played to sold-out houses during its limited run.
Diane Phelan and Julian Cihi Lead Cast of 2g’s Galois at the New Ohio Theatre’s Ice Factory Festival 2014

I sat down with Victor for a cupcake and coffee date in the café at Alice Tully Hall to get the 411, before he had to dash off to his ABC Directing gig.

Lia: How did you get involved in the Asian American Theater Scene?
Victor: There’s something that I only rediscovered a few weeks ago, recollecting my life in Asian American theater, that it was Sung Rno that introduced me to the Asian American Theater scene. I’d been in New York almost ten years and he was the first one to say, “Hey, let’s actually do something together.” He got me directing for the Ma-Yi Writers Lab at New Dramatists. All this after I saw his unbelievable production of wave in 2004.

I came to New York in 1995 to attend at NYU/Gallatin, which is rooted in great books. I concentrated on Global Leadership and Performance Studies. Before I got to school, I was actually working for about 4 or so years in California and around the country. I thought my luck was going to run out. I thought, “Well, I don’t want to be an imposter, a complete imposter, so I better go to school.” I was accepted to one of the most expensive schools in the country, but had no idea how I was going to pay for it.

This is my life in a nutshell: I landed. Oh, I really want to do this. Then I realized, how am I equipped to do this? I hadn’t talked to my parents about paying; they were both getting bought out from their corporate jobs. As luck would have it, because of that previous work, I was offered a full time position at NYU, as part of the educational theater company-in-residence, Creative Arts Team. I was only a second semester freshman. The real backstory is that I had seen a sign- Spanish Speaking Graduate Assistant- and I applied. One thing led to another and I became one of their staff artists and that paid for most of school.

So, I’d been working at NYU and directing around since ’95, fast forward to 2004 when I saw Sung’s piece, wave. Though I am a man of tremendous pride, I wrote him my first fan letter. I just couldn’t imagine the Medea story could be put through this Korean-American lens and impact me so much. I wrote it to him. That’s how our relationship began.

Jonathan David, Diane Phelan, Andrew Guilarte, Julian Cihi and Shelley Thomas at New Ohio Theatre in Sung Rno's Galois. Photo by Erik Carter

Jonathan David, Diane Phelan, Andrew Guilarte, Julian Cihi and Shelley Thomas at New Ohio Theatre in Sung Rno’s Galois. Photo by Erik Carter

Sung Rno, Jane Jung, Victor Maog and Aaron Jones after a performance of Galois at the New Ohio Theatre's Ice Factory Festival 2014 in New York on July 25, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Sung Rno, Jane Jung, Victor Maog and Aaron Jones after a performance of Galois at the New Ohio Theatre’s Ice Factory Festival 2014 in New York on July 25, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: Why Galois?
Victor: Sung was the first phone call I made after I got the 2g position, because I think he has done so much for other people, founded the Ma-Yi Writers Lab and created this home. On some level, I don’t think he’s gotten the opportunities that he deserves. I think he melds language and humor with the poetry of the Asian American imagination.

What I love about Galois is that it is forward thinking Asian American theater. It’s about a French mathematician who dies in a duel over girl. It’s not on the nose. It’s not about immigrant stories. Frankly, the more that I discover Galois, and the deeper we go, it becomes one of the most Asian pieces I could ever produce. In the fiction, Sung reveals more truths about longing, insecurity, and soaring ambition.

This is the first full production mounted by 2g in 6 years, it took everything we had to be able to say:
A) We’re going to do this.
B) We have to do this.
C) We have to have the best people we can get. We want to introduce the very best artists to Asian leadership, Asian writers, and a diverse cast.

It was modeling a certain way of working. Galois was successful on lot of different levels. A lot of folks came and were curious about what it means for 2g to produce a French math musical with a multicultural cast. I think that curiosity is actually part of the revolution. Can this happen? For a couple of days in the summer, it did. We hope other things happen.

Josè Joaquin Perez, Gerardo Rodriguez and Andrés Munar in Working Theater's First Stage Production of Ed Cardona Jr's 'American Jornalero', directed by Victor Maog, March 4 - 14, 2010. Photo by Lia Chang

Josè Joaquin Perez, Gerardo Rodriguez and Andrés Munar in Working Theater’s First Stage Production of Ed Cardona Jr’s ‘American Jornalero’, directed by Victor Maog, March 4 – 14, 2010. Photo by Lia Chang

Last month, Maog headed for bootcamp in Greensboro, NC, with the rest of the Theatre Communications Group (TCG)’s SPARK Leadership Program Class of 2014 including Snehal Desai, Nelson T. Eusebio III, Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr., Kelvin Dinkins, Jr., LaTeshia Dezelle Ellerson, Karena Fiorenza Ingersoll, Jacob G. Padrón, Lisa Portes and Deena Selenow. The SPARK Leadership Program is one of the programs in TCG’s Leading the Charge: Diversity & Inclusion Initiative. SPARK will create a more diverse theatre landscape by supporting the professional development of exceptional rising leaders of color who aim to take on executive leadership positions in artistic, management or producing roles at U.S. not-for-profit theaters.

Building on the success of TCG’s Young Leaders of Color Program, this pilot program is providing ten leaders who self-identify as leaders of color with the opportunity to participate in a three-tiered curriculum:
Knowledge & Skills-Building: SPARK is providing the necessary practical skills for success in leading a not-for-profit theatre organization.

Networking & Professional Connections: SPARK is providing opportunities to develop empowering relationships with mentors, sponsors and career influencers, as well as with peers who are pursuing similar career goals.

Self-Awareness & Inclusion Training: SPARK is providing tools and resources to empower participants and ensure they promote diversity, inclusion and equity in their work.
TCG’s SPARK Leadership Program Class of 2014: Victor Maog, Nelson T. Eusebio III, Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr, Snehal Desai, Deena Selenow, Jacob G. Padrón, Jr., Karena Fiorenza Ingersoll, Kelvin Dinkins, LaTeshia Dezelle Ellerson, Lisa Portes

In February, 2015, Maog will direct Mfoniso Udofia’s workshop at National Black Theatre.
www.victormaog.com

Andrew Palermo (Musical Staging), Victor Maog, Co-producer Lily Fan, Noah Waxman and director Ted Sperling at the opening night performance of The Other Josh Cohen at Papermill Playhouse after the opening night on February 23, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Andrew Palermo (Musical Staging), Victor Maog, Co-producer Lily Fan, Noah Waxman and director Ted Sperling at the opening night performance of The Other Josh Cohen at Papermill Playhouse after the opening night on February 23, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

More about 2g
Led by Artistic Director Victor Maog and Managing Director Jane Jung, 2g is dedicated to creating contemporary, world-class Asian American theater that reaches across cultural and racial boundaries. 2g has partnered with some of the country’s most prestigious theatre companies to co-produce world premieres of new Asian American plays. Since its inception, Second Generation has supported several hundred artists, through full productions of new plays and community-based events, as well as grassroots developmental work in service of cultivating new generations of excellence in Asian American dramatic arts. The goal of 2g is to commission Asian American playwrights and provide them with a cycle of development from initial workshop to final production.

Articles by Lia Chang:
Photos: Tony Award Winning Playwright David Henry Hwang, NEFA, Graham Sheffield CBE and Susan Stockton Receive 2015 ISPA Awards
Photos: Late Night at HERE LIES LOVE with Jaygee Macapugay, David Byrne, Jose Llana, Conrad Ricamora, Melody Butiu and More
Jan. 21: Joe Mantegna Helmed ‘Criminal Minds’ Season 10 Episode to Honor the late Meshach Taylor
Photos: Andrew Rannells and Zuzanna Szadkowski Visit Richard Thomas, Anna Chlumsky, Julie Halston and Annaleigh Ashford at YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU
Remembering Garland Lee Thompson, Sr. (1938-2014); Memorial Set for February 14, 2015
Two-Time Tony Award Nominee André De Shields, Bowman Wright, E. Faye Butler, KenYatta Rogers, Jessica Frances Dukes and Michael Anthony Williams Set for Arena Stage’s King Hedley II, February 6- March 8, 2015
THE WIZ Turns 40- Photos from Original Broadway Production and BC/EFA Gypsy of The Year Celebration Featuring André De Shields, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ken Page, Charl Brown, Carly Hughes, Christina Sajous, Alton Fitzgerald White, Lillias White and More
Up Close and Personal with Jose Llana; HERE LIES LOVE Star Set for Lincoln Center’s American Songbook Debut on March 12, 2015
Photos: David Byrne, Jaygee Macapugay, Jose Llana and Conrad Ricamora Bring the ‘Here Lies Love’ Disco to the Apple Store Soho
Photos: Fashion Designer Josie Natori at New Boutique in Nolita; Honored by Asian Cultural Council
Jennifer Lim, Francis Jue, Telly Leung, Jo Mei, James Saito and Sue Jin Song Set for MTC Run of World Premiere of The World of Extreme Happiness by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, February 3 – March 29
Tam Mutu, Kelli Barrett, Tom Hewitt, Paul Nolan, Lora Lee Gayer, Melody Butiu, Julian Cihi and More Set for Broadway Bound Dr. Zhivago
Preview of Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Spring Exhibition, China: Through the Looking Glass, Announced at the Palace Museum in China
Photos: Ellen Burstyn, Baz Luhrmann, John Leguizamo, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Stephen McKinley Henderson, John Patrick Shanley, David Henry Hwang, Liza Colón-Zayas, Kenneth Lonergan and More Celebrate Stephen Adly Guirgis at The Mimi Awards
Photos: Tommy Tune, Bob Avian, Lee Roy Reams, Christine Toy Johnson, Orville Mendoza, Lori Tan Chinn, Raul Aranas, Virginia Wing and More Celebrate 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award Recipient Baayork Lee
Crafting a Career
Celebrating my mom – AN ACTIVE VISION: BEVERLY UMEHARA…LABOR ACTIVIST…1945-1999
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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