The cast of Sweet Smell of Success celebrated opening night March 14, 2002, at the Martin Beck Theatre (now the Al Hirschfeld). The noirish musical, based on the 1957 film of the same name, told the story of J.J. Hunsecker, played by John Lithgow, an influential gossip columnist in 1952 New York. While J.J. had dirt on everyone in town, he struggled to figure out the secret relationship that his sister, played by Kelli O’Hara, was hiding from him. To find out, he enlists the help of Sidney Falcone (Brian D’Arcy James), a press agent who is struggling to keep his business afloat, and from there, the deal is sealed. Marvin Hamlisch, who passed away in 2012, composed the music and Craig Carnelia wrote the lyrics. The Nicholas Hytner-directed musical was nominated for seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and snagged one trophy for Lithgow’s performance.
With quite a few big names and a couple of breakout stars, it’s easy to ask one question of the Sweet Smell of Success cast—where are they now?
John Lithgow, J.J. Hunsecker
Lithgow was no stranger to the stage by the time he stepped into Hunsecker’s shoes in 2002. He had been seen in original 1988 Broadway production of M. Butterfly and The Front Page (1986), among many others. During his break from the stage, he made a household name for himself starring in the hit TV comedy 3rd Rock From the Sun. He also voiced Lord Farquaad in the 2001 DreamWorks film Shrek, among many other TV and film appearances. After winning the Tony and the Drama Desk Award for his performance as J.J., Lithgow made multiple returns to the stage in The Return from Moscow, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (for which he earned another Tony nomination), and The Columnist. Recently, Lithgow made appearances in NBC’s Trial & Error, The Crown, Daddy’s Home 2, and Pitch Perfect 3. He also recently starred in a one-man show at Roundabout Theatre Company, John Lithgow: Stories By Heart. Starting this April, he can be seen alongside Laurie Metcalf in Hillary and Clinton.
Brian D’Arcy James, Sidney Falcone
Before Brian D’Arcy James tackled this role, for which he earned his first Tony nod, he made his debut on the Broadway stage in the 1993 production of Blood Brothers, in which he played Mickey and understudied Eddie. He also made appearances in Carousel (1994) and Titanic (1997) before opening Sweet Smell of Success in 2002. James then went on to replace Norbert Leo Butz in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in 2006 and starred opposite Kristin Chenoweth in The Apple Tree. He originated the role of Dan Goodman in the Off-Broadway run of Next to Normal (a role he returned to in 2010), before leading the cast of Shrek: The Musical, earning him another Tony nomination. He also originated the role of King George III in Hamilton’s Off-Broadway run and was nominated for his third Tony in 2015 for Something Rotten!, before returning to Hamilton for a brief stint in 2017. His film and TV appearances include Spotlight, Smash, and 13 Reasons Why. He is currently in Broadway’s The Ferryman as Quinn Carney.
Kelli O’Hara, Susan
Playing the headstrong and confident Susan Hunsecker was Broadway favorite Kelli O’Hara. She jumped into this role after her Broadway debut in 2001 in Jekyll & Hyde and a revival of Follies shortly after. After Sweet Smell closed in 2002, O’Hara’s starred as Lucy Westenra in Dracula: The Musical in before landing her first Tony nomination for her portrayal of Clara Johnson in The Light in the Piazza in 2005. She went on to earn four more Tony nominations (for The Pajama Game, South Pacific, Nice Work if You Can Get It, and The Bridges of Madison County) before winning in 2015 for the revival of The King and I. O’Hara has also made some notable appearances on television shows such as Masters of Sex, The Good Fight, and 13 Reasons Why (alongside Brian D’Arcy James), earning an Emmy Award nomination in 2018 for The Accidental Wolf. She also played Mrs. Darling in NBC’s Peter Pan: Live!. You can see O’Hara in the Broadway revival of Kiss Me, Kate.
Stacey Logan, Rita
Before taking on this role, Logan had already made Broadway appearances in Crazy For You, Beauty and the Beast, Candide, and High Society. After this show closed, she stepped away from the city to pursue other endeavors, but did not say goodbye to theatre for good, playing roles like Diane in Next to Normal and Barbara in Ausuge Orange County at CityRep in Oklahoma City.
Jack Noseworthy, Dallas
After playing lovestruck pianist Dallas in Sweet Smell, Noseworthy also stopped making stage appearances. However, he continues to act on screen, taking on roles in TV movie Killing Kennedy and TV series like The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe and Shades of Blue. He and his husband, Tony-nominated choreographer Sergio Trujillo, welcomed a baby boy in 2018.
Timothy J. Alex, Press Agent
Alex made his Broadway debut as a replacement in the revival of Chicago, and following Sweet Smell’s closing, he’s played ensemble roles in Man of La Mancha, Never Gonna Dance, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Pal Joey, Elf, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Motown: The Musical, and most recently, Tuck Everlasting.
Kate Chapman, Cathedral Soloist
Previously known as Kate Coffman-Lloyd, Chapman went on to play ensemble parts both on and Off-Broadway in Funny Girl, Chess, Hair, and On the Twentieth Century. She originated the role of Martha in The Pajama Game and Madame in the 2006 revival of Les Misérables, where she also understudied Madame Thénardier. Her last stage appearance was in 2010, playing multiple roles in Disney’s Mary Poppins.
Bernard Dotson, Club Zanzibar Singer
Before the opening of Sweet Smell, Dotson performed in the revivals of Chicago and Jesus Christ Superstar as well as the original Broadway production of Ragtime. After the show’s 2002 closing, he originated the role of Leo and Others in the play Imaginary Friends, returned to Chicago as Billy Flynn, and joined the 2009 revival of Finian’s Rainbow. Dotson has recently toured across the country in the 2017 tour of Elf.
Allen Fitzpatrick, Senator
Fitzpatrick went on to join the casts of Memphis and Driving Miss Daisy in 2010. He also made appearances on TV shows like Law & Order and, most recently, Z Nation. In 2018, Fitzpatrick played Dom Claude Frollo in 5th Avenue Theatre's production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Jennie Ford, J.J.'s Vaudeville Partner
Ford has been a swing in many Broadway hits since 2002, including Hairspray, Dance of the Vampires (which she also assistant choreographed), All Shook Up, Evita, and An American in Paris. She was also the associate choreographer of the 2013 tour of Evita. She even danced for the NBC reality series Grease: You're the One That I Want!.
Eric Michael Gillett, Otis Elwell
Gillett's career mostly moved to screen appearances. He played a reporter in the Jennifer Lopez flick Maid in Manhattan and an accountant in the film adaptation of The Producers. He also has made cameos in hit TV series like The Mysteries of Laura, Daredevil, The Blacklist, Kevin Can Wait, Quantico, and the Netflix hit Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Joanna Glushak, Madge
Glushak's most notable Broadway credits include A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, as Lady Eugenia, and War Paint, understudying Patti LuPone's Helena Rubinstein. She has also toured with productions of Hairspray, Xanadu, Young Frankenstein, and most recently Finding Neverland in 2016. She can be seen on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel as Mrs O'Toole.
Michelle Kittrell, Charlotte Von Habsburg
In 2002, Kittrell went on to join the original Broadway cast of Hairspray, where she played Brenda. After leaving in 2003,she performed in All Shook Up and Urban Cowboy before heading off to Harvard Law with the cast of Legally Blonde, where she played Cece and understudied the role of Brooke Wyndam.
Jill Nicklaus, Senator's Girlfriend
Nicklaus only made one return to Broadway following Sweet Smell's closing, in the ensemble of Movin' Out. She has recently been teaching young artists in Florida.
Michael Paternostro, Billy van Cleve
In 2002, Paternostro joined the touring cast of The Producers as Carmen Ghia. He also made multiple returns to Broadway in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, A Chorus Line, and Soul Doctor. He has also stepped into the musical director's chair, working on shows such as Rent, Forbidden Broadway, Kiss Me Kate, and even composing his own musical, Scary Musical.
Eric Sciotto, Pepper White's Escort
Sciotto has kept extremely busy since 2002. He is no stranger to Broadway, making appearances in shows like A Chorus Line, Pal Joey, Rock of Ages, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and The Mystery of Edward Drood. Most recently, he was seen in Something Rotten! in 2017.
Elena L. Shaddow
Some of Shaddow's most notable Broadway credits since 2002 include Nine, The Bridges of Madison County (which starred O'Hara), and The Visit. She also toured with The Light in the Piazza, and most recently, the 2018 tour of The King and I.