Jo Sullivan Loesser
August 28, 1927 |
Mounds, Illinois, U.S.
Elizabeth Josephine "Jo" Sullivan Loesser (born August 28, 1927)  is an American soprano and the widow of composer Frank Loesser. She was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical in 1957 for her performance as Rosabella in The Most Happy Fella.
Life and career
She married Loesser on April 29, 1959; they had two children, Hannah (1962–2007) and Emily (born 1965). Her daughter, Emily Loesser, 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 has 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 has managed the Frank Loesser estate, which has 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.
- Sleepy Hollow (June 3, 1948 – June 12, 1948)
- As the Girls Go (November 13, 1948 – January 14, 1950)
- Let's Make an Opera (December 13, 1950 – December 16, 1950)
- Wizard of Oz (Summer of 1951 at The Municipal Opera Association of St. Louis)
- Wizard of Oz (Summer of 1953 at the Kansas City Starlight Theatre) Carousel(New york light opera) in 1954 with Chris Robinson(Billy),Barbara Cook(Carrie) and Don Backley(Mr Snow) 78 performances.
- The Threepenny Opera (March 10, 1954 – May 30, 1954)
- The Threepenny Opera (September 30, 1955 – December 17, 1961)
- The Most Happy Fella (May 3, 1956 – December 14, 1957)
- Perfectly Frank (November 30, 1980 – December 13, 1980)