Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Happy Birthday to Broadway Director, Actor Joe Mantello

Joseph Mantello was born today, December 27, in 1962. He 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 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)."

In 1997, he directed the film, Love! Valour! Compassion! starring Jason Alexander and written by Terrence McNally.

Mantello directed the Jon Robin Baitz play Other Desert Cities in 2011. He was romantically involved with Baitz at the time. 

He returned to acting 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 2012. In January 2013, he directed the Broadway premiere of Sharr White's The Other Place. In 2014 he directed Sting's 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 in February 2017, which also starred Sally Field. 

He is currently working as the director of two upcoming productions for 2018: Three Tall Women and The Boys In the Band.

1 comment:

paul said...

Mantello has really taken on a tough job: Albee's "Three Tall Women" and "The Boys In The Band." Watching "Boys" today, you realize how perfectly cast it was. It is crucial that Mantello cast the right actors to deliver the hateful, stinging and yes, humorous dialogue that was spoken. There are those who love this play (I am in this category) and there are those who call it "outdated" -but that's the way we were.