The Music of Marvin Hamlisch — Musical: Sweet Smell of Success (2002) — Get License for This Musical!

On March 14, 2002 “Sweet Smell of Success” opened at the Martin Beck Theatre (now the Al Hirschfeld Theatre), where it ran for 109 performances.

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Sweet Smell of Success

SEVERAL PRODUCTIONS OF THE MUSICAL “SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS” since 2002:  (Broadway, 2002 —  London, 2012 —  New York University, 2013 — Chicago, 2014 —  University of California — Irvine, 2016 —  St. Louis MO, 2017) 


Sweet Smell at NYU Sept 2013 Singer 8

Cast from NYU Steinhardt. (In 2013 The New York University performed the musical and inducted Marvin Hamlisch to their NYU Steinhardt’s Musical Theater Hall of Fame.)

Get LICENSING for this musical

Sweet Smell of Success is a musical created by Marvin Hamlisch (music), Craig Carnelia (lyrics), and John Guare (book). The show is based on the 1957 movie of the same name, which tells the story of a powerful newspaper columnist named J. J. Hunsecker (based on famed New York columnist Walter Winchell) who uses his connections to ruin his sister’s relationship with a man he deems inappropriate.


The 56th Annual Tony Awards ceremony was held at Radio City Music Hall on June 2, 2002 and broadcast by CBS. (John Lithgow won the  Tony Award for Best Actor (Broadway  Musical “Sweet Smell of Success” for his role as J. J. Hunsecker)


Directed by Nicholas Hytner, the musical opened on March 14, 2002 at the Martin Beck Theatre on Broadway. It closed on June 15, 2002, after 109 performances and 18 previews. The show starred John Lithgow as J.J. Hunsecker, and Brian d’Arcy James as Sidney Falcone. The creative team included choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, sets and costumes by Bob Crowely, and lighting by Natasha Katz. Sweet Smell garnered 7 Tony Award nominations including Best Musical. John Lithgow received the show’s only Tony Award, winning Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical.

Sweet Smell of Success (Broadway, 2002)

AUDIO: songs from “Sweet Smell of Success” (Broadway Musical, 2002)

Sweet Smell Musical Numbers

More songs: “Sweet Smell of Success” (2002) A Broadway Musical:


In 2014 The Theater Wit in Chicago, IL performed the musical Sweet Smell of Success (by Kokandy Productions)

In 2011 the musical had a production by New York University students  (NYU Steinhardt’s Program- 2011)

The Arts Educational School in London also had a production by third-year students during 2011:

LONDON, U.K. — “The Musical Sweet Smell of Success gets its British premiere in a production featuring third-year students of the Arts Educational school:  “I can only report that no musical this year has given me more pleasure: the story is gripping, the Marvin Hamlisch score dramatically powerful, and the dancing as good as you will find in any West End show. Source:  Michael Billington, Sunday 6 November 2011

Sweet Smell of Success

London — Sweet Smell of Success — by third year students.

Terre Blair Hamlisch in London during Acceptance of award for Marvin Hamlisch (2013)

Terre Blair Hamlisch in London during Acceptance of award for Marvin Hamlisch (2013)

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Source: Team Marvin Hamlisch / The Music of Marvin Hamlisch



  1. My name is Tim Beck, from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh with a degree in Music Composition. I am seeking to make a career of writing music and working with multimedia, specifically film scoring. I have studied with several Pittsburgh music figures, including composer David Stock, and Jazz great Mike Tomaro.
    All the best to you. — Tim Beck. Composer/Arranger/Songwriter/Guitarist

    Watch in Youtube

    Listen to more compositions

  2. My wife and I were privileged to see your performance at the Pizza Express Restaurant in Dean Street, London. Besides your music, which I regard in the highest manner, I was even more impressed with how you addressed the audience with humour and humility. So Thanks and comeback soon.

  3. Dear Marvin, thank you for sharing this information about your broadway musicals and your whole body of work! (all your “creations”.)

    When I was 9 I was visiting my grandmother in NYC and my dad took me to see A Chorus Line — my first Broadway play. It was the first year it opened and I was absolutely thrilled. The fact that we were in the last row didn’t matter. I was enthralled and captivated the entire time. I loved all the songs and adored the dancing.

    Now, 3 decades-plus later, I have taken up piano. While my spontaneous motivation was inspired by a desire to learn DeBussy’s Clair de Lune (and I can satisfactorily say I have accomplished that) — the basic arrangement anyhow -. I am now thoroughly enjoying learning What I did for love (the basic arrangement anyhow). It brings me so much joy, and fond memories of my premiere Broadway experience. The song/lyrics are beautiful. With age and experience, I more fully appreciate how truly insightful and meaningful the words are, not to mention the divine music itself.

    No doubt you receive lots of fan mail like this, justifiably, expressing their sheer joy and pleasure in your music. I will happily add to that throng of fans. So, decades later, kilometers later (I now live in Australia), I wanted you to know how much your music transcends time and distance.

    Thank you, Marvin. Cheers. Libby

  4. This is a difficult musical to digest. Saw it in Broadway with John Lithgow as the main character. The music by Hamlisch is great and the production of the musical is FANTASTIC! But it played when the 9/11 feelings were still very tender and the subject did not click. It will come around…

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