With the exception of Marvin Hamlisch, the A Chorus Line tunesmith who penned the music for Sweet Smell of Success, the 2002 Tony Awards category for best original score written for the theatre is filled with Broadway newcomers.
Hamlisch's writing partner, for instance, is Craig Carnelia. Carnelia has been writing music for years, typically composing both music and lyrics (among his titles of Actor, Lawyer, Indian Chief). Sweet Smell of Success marks one of the few times he's divided the duties, taking on only the lyrics, and, for his sacrifice, he won a Tony nomination.
Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis' previous experience writing musicals resulted in a string of hardscrabble satirical shows Off-Loop in their native Chicago. Urinetown was their first big New York credit—and even that started out as small as you can get. The show was just one of scores featured in the 1999 New York International Fringe Festival. But producers the Araca Group and Dodger Theatricals saw something in it and restaged the tongue-in-cheek, Brechtian pastiche Off-Broadway in early 2001. That production took off and bounced to Broadway's Henry Miller, opening the door for a best score nom for the writing duo. (Kotis was also nominated for best book.)
Jeanine Tesori, the music half of Thoroughly Modern Millie's writing team, had an Off-Broadway success with Violet, and wrote the Tony-nominated music for Lincoln Center Theater's recent production of Twelfth Night. But Millie is her first full Broadway musical score. Dick Scanlan, the lyricist, has even fewer credits to his name; Millie is his first sustained composing effort of any great measure.
Finally, there's Harry Connick, Jr., the jazz musician and vocalist who had never before attempted a Broadway score before writing Thou Shalt Not, which is based on Emile Zola's gritty novel "Therese Raquin." The Lincoln Center Theatre production ran at the Plymouth Theatre last fall and Connick has since expressed a wish to write for the theatre again.