Joe Mantello
Director Joe Mantello.jpg
Mantello in 2014
Joseph Mantello

(1962-12-27) December 27, 1962 (age 60)
EducationUniversity of North Carolina School of the Arts (BFA)
  • Actor
  • director
Years active1989–present
PartnerJon Robin Baitz (1990–2002)

Joseph Mantello (born December 27, 1962) is an American actor and director known for his work on stage and screen. He first gained prominence for his Broadway acting debut in the original production of Tony Kushner's two-part epic play Angels in America (1993-1994) for which he received a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play nomination. He has since acted in acclaimed Broadway revivals of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart (2011) and Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie (2017).

Mantello has transitioned his career as a Broadway director winning the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play for Take Me Out (2003), and the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical for Assassins (2004). He has directed notable productions such as Wicked (2003), Glengarry Glenn Ross (2005), The Humans (2016), Three Tall Women (2018), and The Boys in the Band (2018)

Early life and education

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 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.[8]

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,[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 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.[12] He directed the Harvey Fierstein play Casa Valentina, which premiered on Broadway in April 2014.[13]

Mantello acted in the revival of The Glass Menagerie which opened on Broadway at the Belasco Theatre in February 2017. Directed by Sam Gold, the play starred Sally Field as Amanda Wingfield, with Mantello playing Tom.[14][15]

In 2018, Joe Mantello was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.[16] In 2022, Mantello was featured in the book 50 Key Figures in Queer US Theatre.[17]

Personal life

From 1990 to 2002, Mantello was in a relationship with playwright Jon Robin Baitz.[18][19] As of 2018, he lives with Paul Marlow, who owns a custom clothing company in Manhattan.[20]

Theatre credits

As an actor

Year Title Credit(s) Playwright Venue
1993 Angels in America: Millennium Approaches Louis Ironson Tony Kushner Walter Kerr Theatre, Broadway
1994 Angels in America: Perestroika Louis Ironson
Sarah Ironson
Council of Principalities
2010–11 The Normal Heart Ned Weeks Larry Kramer John Golden Theatre, Broadway
2017 The Glass Menagerie Tom Wingfield Tennessee Williams Belasco Theatre, Broadway

As a director

Year Title Playwright / composer Venue
1994 What's Wrong with This Picture Donald Margulies Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Broadway
1995 Love! Valour! Compassion! Terrence McNally Walter Kerr Theatre, Broadway
1997 Proposals Neil Simon Broadhurst Theatre, Broadway
2001 Design for Living Noël Coward American Airlines Theatre, Broadway
2002 An Evening with Mario Cantone Mario Cantone
2002 Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune Terrence McNally Belasco Theatre, Broadway
2003 Take Me Out Richard Greenberg Walter Kerr Theatre, Broadway
Wicked Stephen Schwartz Gershwin Theatre, Broadway
2004 Assassins Stephen Sondheim Studio 54, Broadway
Laugh Whore Mario Cantone Cort Theatre, Broadway
2005 Glengarry Glen Ross David Mamet Royale Theatre, Broadway
The Odd Couple Neil Simon Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Broadway
2006 Three Days of Rain Richard Greenberg Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, Broadway
2007 The Ritz Terrence McNally Studio 54, Broadway
2008 November David Mamet Ethel Barrymore Theatre, Broadway
Pal Joey Richard Rodgers Studio 54, Broadway
2009 9 to 5 Dolly Parton Marquis Theatre, Broadway
2011 8 Dustin Lance Black Eugene O'Neill Theatre, Broadway
Other Desert Cities Jon Robin Baitz Booth Theatre, Broadway
2013 The Other Place Sharr White Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, Broadway
I'll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers John Logan Booth Theatre, Broadway
2014 Casa Valentina Harvey Fierstein Samuel J. Friedman, Broadway
The Last Ship Sting / John Logan Neil Simon Theatre, Broadway
2015–16 An Act of God David Javerbaum Studio 54, Broadway
Airline Highway Lisa D'Amour Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, Broadway
2016 The Humans Stephen Karam Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, Broadway
Blackbird David Harrower Belasco Theatre, Broadway
2018 Three Tall Women Edward Albee John Golden Theatre, Broadway
The Boys in the Band Mart Crowley Booth Theatre, Broadway
2019 Hillary and Clinton Lucas Hnath John Golden Theatre, Broadway
2020 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Edward Albee Booth Theatre, Broadway
2023 Grey House Levi Holloway Lyceum Theatre, Broadway



Year Title Role(s) Notes
1989 Cookie Dominick
1997 Love! Valour! Compassion! Director
2020 The Boys in the Band Director and producer


Year Title Role(s) Notes
1990 Three Hotels Director; Television movie
The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd Mickey Episode: "Here's Why You Can Never Have Too Much Petty Cash"
1991–98 Law & Order Public Defender / Philip Marco 2 episodes
1993 Sisters Adam Olderberg Episode: "Moving Pictures"
1995 Central Park West Ian Walker 3 episodes
2014 The Normal Heart Mickey Marcus HBO television film
2020 Hollywood Dick Samuels 7 episodes
2022 The Watcher John Graff 5 episodes
American Horror Story: NYC Gino Barelli 10 episodes

Awards and nominations

Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Joe Mantello


  1. ^ "Joe Mantello Biography (1962-)". Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  2. ^ "Cedar Rapids Gazette Archives, Jun 24, 2003, p. 30". June 24, 2003. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  3. ^ Times, Windy City (June 25, 2014). "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.
  4. ^ 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.
  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" Archived November 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, 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" Archived March 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, March 25, 2010
  9. ^ Gans, Andrew."Larry Kramer's 'The Normal Heart', Starring Joe Mantello, Opens on Broadway April 27" Archived May 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, April 27, 2011
  10. ^ Jones, Kenneth and Gans, Andrew."2011 Tony Nominations Announced; 'Book of Mormon' Earns 14 Nominations" Archived May 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, 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. Archived from the original on March 1, 2014. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
  13. ^ Purcell, Carey. "MTC To Present Broadway World Premiere of Harvey Fierstein's 'Casa Valentina'" Archived February 25, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, September 9, 2013
  14. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Dates Set for 'Glass Menagerie' Broadway Revival With Sally Field and Joe Mantello" Playbill, June 6, 2016
  15. ^ McPhee, Ryan. "Read What Critics Had to Say About the Broadway Revival of 'The Glass Menagerie' " Playbill, March 9, 2017
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Wilson, James F. (2022). "Joe Mantello". In Noriega and Schildcrout (ed.). 50 Key Figures in Queer US Theatre. Routledge. pp. 151–155. ISBN 978-1032067964.
  18. ^ Dowd, Maureen. "Director Joe Mantello, Broadway’s Invisible Wizard" The New York Times, May 30, 2018
  19. ^ Stone, Judith. "Playmates" New York Magazine, retrieved August 9, 2018
  20. ^ Dowd, Maureen. "Director Joe Mantello, Broadway’s Invisible Wizard" The New York Times, May 30, 2018

See also