Podcast Episode #50: Actor turned A-List Broadway Director, Joe Mantello.

Very few people reach the upper echelon of this business.  I always say that trying to make it on Broadway is like trying to make it in the NBA . . . if you’re 5’2″.

Today’s guest, Mr. Joe Mantello, made it on Broadway . . . as both an Actor and a Director!  He was Tony Nominated for his performance in the original cast of Angels in America and for his work just a few years ago in The Normal Heart.  And in between all that he directed a diverse group of shows including Take Me OutLove! Valour! Compassion!, Assassins, 9 to 5, Other Desert Cities and a whole bunch more.

Oh.  Right.  And some little show about a green girl who doesn’t believe in gravity or something.

What did Joe and I chat about?  Listen in to hear:

  • Why Joe loathes auditioning Actors, but what he looks for.
  • How he forgot who Julia Roberts was weeks after working with her . . . and why that was a good thing.
  • How he dealt with failure by returning to his roots, which bounced him back to better than he was before.
  • What Norbert Leo Butz told ME about the tryout of Wicked and whether or not Joe agreed.
  • How he “pivoted” (oooh, such a buzzy business word) from a Broadway Actor to a Broadway Director and how you can transition from one job to another too.

There aren’t many Directors that can go from McNally to Sondheim to Schwartz to Mamet . . . and from stars like Julia Roberts to Nathan Lane to Jim Parsons.

Learn how he does it, and why Broadway is lucky to have him, in today’s podcast.

(Oh, and hear what show of Joe’s I’m most excited about coming up this season!)

Click here to listen.

Listen to it on iTunes here.  (And give me a rating, while you’re there!)

Download it here.



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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.