Joe Mantello

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Joe Mantello
Born Joseph Mantello
(1962-12-27) December 27, 1962 (age 53)
Rockford, Illinois, United States
Occupation Actor, director
Partner(s) Jon Robin Baitz (1990–2002)

Joseph Mantello (born December 27, 1962) is an American actor and director best known for his work on Broadway productions of Wicked, Take Me Out and Assassins, as well as earlier in his career being one of the original Broadway cast of Angels in America. Mantello directed The Ritz, his sixth production with playwright Terrence McNally, in 2007.

Early life and education[edit]

Mantello was born in Rockford, Illinois, the son of Judy and Richard Mantello, an accountant.[1][2] His father is of Italian ancestry and his mother is of half Italian descent.[3] He was raised Catholic.[4]

Mantello studied at the North Carolina School of the Arts; he started the Edge Theater in New York City with actress Mary-Louise Parker and writer Peter Hedges. He is a member of the Naked Angels theater company and an associate artist at the Roundabout Theatre Company.


Mantello came to New York from Illinois in 1984 in the midst of the AIDS crisis, having overcome a youthful feeling, he admitted to a reporter in 2013, that "for some reason I was deeply ashamed of the theater early on. I think it had to do with this growing sense I was gay, although I couldn’t have put a word to it back then. Where I grew up, boys played sports. When [teacher] Mrs. Windsor wrote in my yearbook, 'Have you ever considered a career in the theater?' it was literally like she wrote the word 'faggot'."[5]

Mantello began his theatrical career as an actor in Keith Curran's Walking the Dead and Paula Vogel's The Baltimore Waltz. On the transition from acting to directing, Mantello said, "I think I've become a better actor since I started directing, although some people might disagree. Since I've been removed from the process I see things that actors fall into. Now there's a part of me that's removed from the process and can stand back."[6]

Mantello directs a variety of theatre works, as The New York Times noted: "Very few American directors -- Jack O'Brien and Mike Nichols come to mind -- successfully jump genres and styles the way Mr. Mantello does, moving from a two-hander like Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune to the huge canvas of a mainstream musical comedy like Wicked, from downtown stand-up (The Santaland Diaries) to contemporary opera (Dead Man Walking) to political performance art (The Vagina Monologues)."[7]

A Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Lips Together, Teeth Apart was scheduled to open at the American Airlines Theatre in April 2010, when one of the stars, Megan Mullally, suddenly quit. The production was postponed indefinitely due to her departure.[8] According to The New York Times, "Mr. Mantello, who is known in the theater industry for having a temper, reacted to Ms. Mullally in private on a couple of occasions in a manner that she found to be brusque or unsympathetic."

Mantello directed the Jon Robin Baitz play Other Desert Cities at the Booth Theater in 2011. He returned to acting with the role of Ned Weeks in the Broadway limited engagement revival of The Normal Heart in April 2011,[9] for which he was nominated for the Tony Award as Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play.[10] Mantello had previously been nominated for the Tony Award for his role as Louis in Angels in America.

He directed the Off-Broadway world premiere of the musical Dogfight in the summer of 2012 at the Second Stage Theater.[11] In January 2013, he directed the Broadway premier of Sharr White's The Other Place at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. The following year he directed Sting's new musical The Last Ship.[12] He directed the Harvey Fierstein play Casa Valentina, which premiered on Broadway in April 2014.[13]

Personal life[edit]

From 1990 to 2002, Mantello was the romantic partner of Jon Robin Baitz.[14]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 1993 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play – Angels in America: Millennium Approaches
  • 2003 Tony Award Best Direction of a Play – Take Me Out
  • 2004 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Musical – Wicked
  • 2004 Tony Award Best Direction of a Musical – Assassins
  • 1993 Tony Award Best Featured Actor in a Play – Angels in America: Millennium Approaches
  • 1995 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Play – Love! Valour! Compassion!
  • 1995 Tony Award Best Direction of a Play – Love! Valour! Compassion!
  • 1998 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Direction of a Play – Mizlansky/Zilinsky or 'Schmucks'
  • 2003 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Musical – A Man of No Importance
  • 2003 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Play – Take Me Out
  • 2004 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Musical – Assassins
  • 2005 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Play – Glengarry Glen Ross
  • 2005 Tony Award Best Direction of a Play – Glengarry Glen Ross
  • 2011 Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Play – The Normal Heart
  • 2014 Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/MiniseriesThe Normal Heart
  • 2014 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a MovieThe Normal Heart


Stage productions[edit]

  • The Grave



  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Los Angeles Times
  5. ^ Bernstein, Jacob (June 9, 2013). "Turning point: Broadway Joe". T: The New York Times Style Magazine. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  6. ^ Burdette, Nicole. "Joe Mantello", BOMB Magazine, Summer 1992
  7. ^ Green, Jesse."Surviving 'Assassins'".The New York Times, April 11, 2004
  8. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Broadway Won't See Lips Together, Teeth Apart This Season", March 25, 2010
  9. ^ Gans, Andrew."Larry Kramer's 'The Normal Heart', Starring Joe Mantello, Opens on Broadway April 27", April 27, 2011
  10. ^ Jones, Kenneth and Gans, Andrew."2011 Tony Nominations Announced; 'Book of Mormon' Earns 14 Nominations", May 3, 2011
  11. ^ Healy, Patrick. "New Musical Set in 1960s Coming to Second Stage Theater". "The New York Times", January 31, 2012
  12. ^ "Sting's Musical 'The Last Ship' Is Broadway Bound". Rolling Stone. September 19, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2014. 
  13. ^ Purcell, Carey. "MTC To Present Broadway World Premiere of Harvey Fierstein's 'Casa Valentina'", September 9, 2013
  14. ^ Jon Robin Baitz


External links[edit]