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.
December 27, 1962
Rockford, Illinois, U.S.
|Partner(s)||Jon Robin Baitz (1990–2002)|
|Awards||Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play|
2003 Take Me Out
Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical
Early life and education
Mantello was born in Rockford, Illinois, the son of Judy and Richard Mantello, an accountant. His father is of Italian ancestry and his mother is of half Italian descent. He was raised Catholic.
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'."
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."
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)."
A Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Lips Together, Teeth Apart directed by Mantello 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.
Mantello directed the Jon Robin Baitz play Other Desert Cities at the Booth Theater in 2011. He returned to acting for the first time in over a decade with the role of Ned Weeks in the Broadway limited engagement revival of The Normal Heart in April 2011, for which he was nominated for the Tony Award as Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play. 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. In January 2013, he directed the Broadway premiere of Sharr White's The Other Place at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. In 2014 he directed Sting's new musical The Last Ship. He directed the Harvey Fierstein play Casa Valentina, which premiered on Broadway in April 2014.
He acts in the revival of The Glass Menagerie which opened on Broadway at the Belasco Theatre in February 2017. Directed by Sam Gold, the play stars Sally Field as Amanda Wingfield, with Mantello playing Tom.
In 2018, Joe Mantello was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
From 1990 to 2002, Mantello was the romantic partner of Jon Robin Baitz.
Awards and nominations
- 1993 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play – Angels in America: Millennium Approaches
- 1994-1995 Obie Award, Performance 1995 SSDC Joe A. Callaway Award - Love! Valour! Compassion!
- 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/Miniseries – The Normal Heart
- 2014 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie – The Normal Heart
- 2016 Tony Award Best Direction of a Play – The Humans
- 2016 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Play – The Humans
- 2018 Tony Award Best Direction of a Play – Three Tall Women
- "Joe Mantello Biography (1962-)". www.filmreference.com. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
- "Cedar Rapids Gazette Archives, Jun 24, 2003, p. 30". June 24, 2003. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
- Times, Windy City. "Joe Mantello talks 'The Last Ship,' 'The Normal Heart' - Gay Lesbian Bi Trans News Archive - Windy City Times". Windy City Times. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
- Pacheco, Patrick (March 19, 1995). "Mr. Mantello's Wild Ride : He had the 'role of a lifetime' in 'Angels in America.' So why is Joe Mantello putting his acting aside? Here's a clue: His other theatrical love is directing". Retrieved July 5, 2018 – via LA Times.
- Bernstein, Jacob (June 9, 2013). "Turning point: Broadway Joe". T: The New York Times Style Magazine. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
- Burdette, Nicole. "Joe Mantello", BOMB Magazine, Summer 1992
- Green, Jesse."Surviving 'Assassins'".The New York Times, April 11, 2004
- Jones, Kenneth."Broadway Won't See Lips Together, Teeth Apart This Season" Archived March 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, March 25, 2010
- Gans, Andrew."Larry Kramer's 'The Normal Heart', Starring Joe Mantello, Opens on Broadway April 27" Archived May 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, April 27, 2011
- Jones, Kenneth and Gans, Andrew."2011 Tony Nominations Announced; 'Book of Mormon' Earns 14 Nominations" Archived May 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, May 3, 2011
- Healy, Patrick. "New Musical Set in 1960s Coming to Second Stage Theater". "The New York Times", January 31, 2012
- "Sting's Musical 'The Last Ship' Is Broadway Bound". rollingstone.com. Rolling Stone. September 19, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
- Purcell, Carey. "MTC To Present Broadway World Premiere of Harvey Fierstein's 'Casa Valentina'" Archived February 25, 2014, at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, September 9, 2013
- Gans, Andrew. "Dates Set for 'Glass Menagerie' Broadway Revival With Sally Field and Joe Mantello" Playbill, June 6, 2016
- McPhee, Ryan. "Read What Critics Had to Say About the Broadway Revival of 'The Glass Menagerie' " Playbill, March 9, 2017
- Lefkowitz, Andy (September 17, 2018). "Joe Mantello, Cicely Tyson, David Henry Hwang & More Named Theater Hall of Fame Inductees". Broadway Buzz. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
- Dowd, Maureen. "Director Joe Mantello, Broadway’s Invisible Wizard" The New York Times, May 30, 2018
- Stone, Judith. "Playmates" New York Magazine, retrieved August 9, 2018
- Playbill writers (2008). "Playbill Biography: Joe Mantello". Playbill. Archived from the original on June 6, 2008. Retrieved May 24, 2008.
- "The Old Globe Presents Richard Greenberg's Take Me Out" (PDF) (Press release). The Old Globe. November 12, 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 7, 2007. Retrieved May 24, 2008.
- Allmovie (2008). "Joe Mantello Biography". The New York Times. Retrieved May 24, 2008.