Joe Mantello talks about returning to the Broadway stage as an actor after a 17-year hiatus to play the role of Ned Weeks in Larry Kramer's "The Normal Heart" -- and what it's like to play a role that the play's author has based on himself when the author is at the theatre nightly. He also talks about his acting days in school and community theatre in his hometown of Rockford, Illinois (with classmates that included Marin Mazzie); his training at North Carolina School of the Arts and why he had to relearn his idiosyncrasies when he got to New York; his work with playwright Peter Hedges and actress Mary-Louise Parker in the self-founded Edge Theatre; the opportunities offered to him by the Circle Repertory Company; why he decided to stop acting after making his Broadway debut in "Angels in America"; the development of his directing career, including the highs and lows of his first two Broadway assignments, Terrence McNally's "Love! Valour! Compassion!" and Donald Margulies' "What's Wrong With This Picture?"; his collaborations with playwrights including Jon Robin Baitz, David Mamet, Richard Greenberg, Neil Simon and Craig Lucas, among many others; the challenge of taking on a project on the scale of "Wicked" with only one previous musical directing credit and how much he remains involved with the show's many productions nationally and internationally; why he enjoys working on intimate shows; and the irony behind "Other Desert Cities'" plans for Broadway in the fall. Original air date - May 18, 2011.
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