Jo Sullivan

Birth Place: Mounds, IL, USA

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Jo Sullivan BIO

Born in Mounds, Illinois, Sullivan played Polly Peachum in Marc Blitzstein's legendary English-language adaptation of The Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht off-Broadway in 1954.

She married Frank Loesser on April 29, 1959. They had two children, Hannah (1962-2007) and Emily (born 1965), who is also a singer-actress. She also appeared as herself in an "original special" on Broadway, called Let's Make An Opera (1950), which boasted music by Benjamin Britten, a libretto by Eric Crozier, musical direction by Norman Del Mar, and was directed by Marc Blitzstein.

In the summer of 1951 she played Dorothy Gale in The Municipal Opera Association of St. Louis production of The Wizard of Oz, opposite Margaret Hamilton, who reprised her film role of the Wicked Witch of the West. In 1992, Jo Loesser's daughter, Emily, played the same role at The Municipal Opera Association of St. Louis, the first time in Muny history a role has been played by both mother and daughter. Sullivan later reprised her role in the 1953 production at the Kansas City Starlight Theatre.

She also appeared on numerous recordings, such as Loesser by Loesser (alongside her daughter, Emily) as well as several albums for Ben Bagley's celebrated "Revisited" series on Painted Smiles Records (most notably Kurt Weill Revisited, Leonard Bernstein Revisited, and Frank Loesser Revisited.)

Since her husband's death in 1969, she managed the Frank Loesser estate, which included guiding production of all of his musicals, including Guys and Dolls, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying and The Most Happy Fella.

Jo Sullivan Photos


Reunion Concert, 2000
Polly Peachum

Original Broadway Production, 1980

City Center Revival, 1961

Kim (in her twenties)

Original Broadway Production, 1956

Return Engagement [off-Broadway], 1955
Polly Peachum

Unknown, 1954
Julie Jordan

Theatre de Lys Revival, 1954
Polly Peachum

Original Broadway Production, 1950

Jo Sullivan

Original Broadway Production, 1948

Singing Ensemble


Jo Sullivan Awards and Nominations

Jo Sullivan Videos

Jo Sullivan News

PAPERBOY World Premiere Musical to Begin Performances This Week

Manhattan School of Music’s Musical Theatre Division will present the World Premiere of Paperboy, a new musical based on the award-winning novel by Vince Vawter.

Manhattan School of Music Musical Theatre To Present World Premiere Of PAPERBOY

Manhattan School of Music's Musical Theatre Division will present the World Premiere of Paperboy, a new musical based on the award-winning novel by Vince Vawter.

NEXT STOP BROADWAY Returns To DPAC, July 17- 21

DPAC has announced that one of the most anticipated community events of the year, Next Stop BROADWAY, will return July 17 – 21, 2023.

Broadway Press Agent Terry M. Lilly Has Passed Away

Association of Theatrical Press Agents & Managers  retired member Terry M. Lilly. Terry was a Press Agent on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and across the country, who came into membership in September of 1977. He passed away peacefully at home on November 24, 2021 after a long illness, surrounded by loved ones.

Theater Stories: GYPSY, EVITA, THE COLOR PURPLE, the FIDDLER ON THE ROOF Revival, & More About The Broadway Theatre

This week's Theater Stories features the Broadway Theatre! Learn about the shows to have graced the stage of the theatre, including Gypsy, The Color Purple, Evita and more; the show that broke the theatre's box office record, and much more!

Photo Flashback: BroadwayWorld Remembers Those We've Lost in 2019

2019 has come and gone, and we are reflecting on those we have lost in the Broadway and theatre communities throughout the year.

ANOTHER ROLL OF THE DICE Extends At North Coast Rep

North Coast Repertory Theatre has extended through August 11th its highly successful World Premiere of ANOTHER ROLL OF THE DICE, a rollicking musical with book by Mark Saltzman, reuniting the talents of songwriter Frank Loesser and author Damon Runyon, creators of the legendary Guys and Dolls. In Dice, three classic Runyon stories are intertwined with hits from the Loesser songbook, including "Heart and Soul," "I Hear Music," "Two Sleepy People," and "Let's Get Lost," performed by iconic Damon Runyon gangland characters.

BWW Interview: Playwright Mark Saltzman's A Runyonesque Accomplice In ANOTHER ROLL OF THE DICE

Emmy-winning writer Mark Saltzman will be back on the theatrical boards with the world premiere of his ANOTHER ROLL OF THE DICE, beginning July 10, 2019 at the North Coast Rep Theatre. Mark has based ANOTHER ROLL OF THE DICE, his companion piece to GUYS AND DOLLS, on the short stories of Damon Runyon and the time-tested songs of Frank Loesser. Lady Lucky gave me the chance to pick Mark's prolific brain on his long road to Runyonland, as well as, on a significant Sesame Street event.

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser

BroadwayWorld is saddened to report that Broadway veteran Elizabeth Josephine 'Jo' Sullivan Loesser passed away yesterday, April 28, from heart failure in her New York City Home. She was 91 years old.

Next Stop Broadway Musical Theater Program For Youth To Begin At DPAC In Summer 2019

DPAC is proud to announce Next Stop BROADWAY, a new week-long musical theater program consisting of classes, workshops, and rehearsals focused on classic Broadway shows. A staff of esteemed Broadway professionals, headed by Broadway veteran Tony Parise, will teach participants songs and choreography from two hit shows from the 'Golden Age of Broadway' and cast members will create their own presentations based on shows in the upcoming DPAC season and other hit musicals.

Kenny Ingram Stars In SHANE BOY DARLING, Opening 10/22 at Ruth Page Center

The Ruth Page Center for the Arts is proud to present Shane Boy Darling, Monday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St. A one-man musical concert reading written and starring Kenny Ingram with music and lyrics by Peter Candela. General admission tickets are $25. Discounted tickets are available for seniors, and students over 18. Subject Matter Not Suitable for under 18.   

Nadine Wong Named to The American Theatre Wing Board Of Trustees

The American Theatre Wing (Heather Hitchens, President & CEO) announced today that Nadine Wong has been appointed to the Board of Trustees after having served on the Advisory Committee.

GUYS AND DOLLS Comes to The Majestic This Summer

Lyric Stage will close its twenty-fifth season with 1951?s Best Musical Tony Award winner, Frank Loesser, Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows' Broadway masterpiece GUYS AND DOLLS, in association with SMU Meadows School of the Arts. 


GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI: Welcome to Friday, June 2, 2017! The weekend is upon us (thank you, very much) and we cannot conceive of a better way to live life dramatically than by catching a first night performance of a show? It's opening night for several new shows and we send out warm wishes of "break a leg"...

Primary Stages Launches 'OFF-CENTER' Oral History Project

Primary Stages has announced the launch of OFF CENTER: THE OFF-BROADWAY ORAL HISTORY PROJECT.

Photo Coverage: Primary Stages' ORAL HISTORY PROJECT Makes it's Debut

The Off-Broadway Oral History Project was created to fill a gap in theater history by establishing a video archive featuring the innovative artists who transformed Off- and Off-Off-Broadway in the years after World War II.

BWW Exclusive: Read a Chapter from Kenny Solms' BITS Memoir!

If variety is the spice of life, Kenny Solms has tasted great success. Touted in his hometown newspaper as 'Philadelphia's funniest person,' he began his career in New York, where he teamed up with New York University classmate Gail Parent to create material for Leonard Sillman's last Broadway revue New Faces, and sketches for New York's famed Upstairs at the Downstairs. His collaboration with Ms. Parent climaxed with their co-creation of the now legendary Emmy award winning The Carol Burnett Show.


The Schimmel Center is proud to present photos from its American Showstoppers: An Evening with Frank Loesser concert.

Charles Busch, Lorna Luft & More Coming to Feinstein's/54 Below in June

This June, FEINSTEIN'S/54 BELOW, Broadway's Supper Club, presents some of the brightest stars from Broadway, cabaret, jazz and beyond. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit or call (646) 476-3551.

Broadway at the Cabaret - Top 5 Cabaret Picks for May 30-June 5, Featuring Laura Michelle Kelly, Barrett Foa, and More!

Broadway's 40 theatres aren't the only places to catch performances from your favorite stars! Well after Broadway orchestras begin their overtures, ensemble members take their dance breaks, and performers belt out their eleven o'clock numbers, the party continues at various cabaret venues throughout New York City. Below, BroadwayWorld brings you some cabaret highlights for this week as picked by our theatre editors, including: Laura Michelle Kelly at 54 Below; New Musicals at 54: Funked Up Fairy Tales by Kirsten Childs; The Songs of Carner & Gregor; Barrett Foa: Grin and Barrett; and 54 Sings How to Succeed.


Jo Sullivan has appeared on Broadway in 6 shows.

Jo Sullivan has not appeared in the West End

Jo Sullivan has been nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for her role in "The Most Happy Fella".

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