“A Wonderful Day Like Today” – in 1965!

Joyce Jillson, Greasepaint

Anthony Newley and Joyce Jillson in the Broadway production

On this date, 51 years ago, THE ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT, THE SMELL OF THE CROWD opened at the Shubert Theatre, starring Anthony Newley and Cyril Ritchard, with book, music and lyrics by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse.

A musical allegory exploring issues of class and privilege, the show featured Mr. Newley as “Cocky,” the persevering member of the 99%, battling “Sir,” the one-percenter with every advantage. Nominated for six Tony Awards, GREASEPAINT (as theater geeks often call it) boasted a tuneful score yielding several pop singles. The hit ballad “Who Can I Turn To?” became a career-long standard for Tony Bennett.

Fun fact: Joyce Jillson, pictured here as “The Girl,” went on to star on TV’s Peyton Place and later gained some notoriety as the author of Real Women Don’t Pump Gas.

compass rose, greasepaint

Anna DeBlasio, Sarah Makl, Piers Portfolio, Charlize Lefter and Sarah Grace Clifton at Compass Rose Theater (Photo: Stan Barouh)

GREASEPAINT is currently running in a critically praised production at the Compass Rose Theater in Annapolis, MD, and will soon open at the Terris Theatre at Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT.

Happy Anniversary, GREASEPAINT!