Joe Mantello wins another Tony

Joe Mantello wins another Tony

By Edith McCauley, Theater Critic

Take Me Out, the Tony Award winner for Best Play with direction by Joe Mantello, is another step in the brilliant career for the director and actor from Rockford. Nominated for Best Direction of Love, Valour Compassion, he went on to direct the movie.

Graduating from Boylan High School, he was active in school theater and also worked with Chuck Hoenes at the Clock Tower Dinner Theatre. He attended the North Carolina School for the Performing Arts and went on to become a successful actor in Los Angeles and on Broadway, winning the nomination for Best Actor in a Play for Angels in America, Part I and Part II.

Following the careers of the many talented people who come from Rockford has made the writing of this column even more exciting. It is a tribute to Rockford and its support of the arts that talented young people are encouraged and given the opportunity to develop and grow.

And just for review…

Joe Mantello has earned some critical acclaim locally for his directing talents. This paper covered his recognition for the Tony—nominated Broadway hit, Love, Valour, Compassion. As I wrote in 1997: “The screen adaptation of Terrence McNally’s play makes a perfect transition. Mantello scouted locations in upper New York state and in the Carolinas and chose to film at a wonderful Queen Anne house on a lake near Montreal, Canada. The elegant old house, its porches and gardens, and the raft on the lake, gave him the opportunity to create a superb work of cinematography.”

This story of eight gay men on holiday, as I wrote in my original review, “is a heartfelt examination of caring friends facing the stress of relationships and the inevitability of death. Mantello’s sensitive and nimble direction of seven actors, including John Glover playing twins, was outstanding.” Mantello, who graduated from Boylan in 1980, was active in school theater, and also worked with Chuck Hoenes at the Clock Tower Theater.

Mantello also directed Lillian by David Cale at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. “The complete naturalness of Cale’s body movement is essential to the believability of his performance. Mantello’s direction is masterful,” I wrote. Mantello was also pleased to recall that Neil Simon’s wife had suggested him to direct Love, Valour Compassion.

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