Jo Sullivan Loesser

Singer, Theater Actor

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Who is Jo Sullivan Loesser?

Elizabeth Josephine "Jo" Sullivan Loesser is an American soprano and the widow of composer Frank Loesser. Her daughter, Emily Loesser, is also a singer-actress.

Born in Mounds, Illinois, Jo 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. On Broadway, she starred in her future husband's masterpiece The Most Happy Fella as "Rosabella", alongside Robert Weede and Susan Johnson, which earned her a 1957 Tony Award nomination as Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

She married Loesser on April 29, 1959; they had two children, Hannah and Emily. On May 1, 2010, in an interview with Scott Simon on NPR Weekend Saturday, Jo Sullivan Loesser stated that her actual marriage date was April 29, 1959. She also appeared as herself in an "original special" on Broadway, called Let's Make An Opera, 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.

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Also known as
  • Sullivan, Jo
  • Elizabeth Josephine "Jo" Sullivan Loesser
  • United States of America

on July 23, 2013


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