The Roar of the Greasepaint — The Smell of the Crowd


A rousing music-hall allegory, THE ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT – THE SMELL OF THE CROWD explores British class structure through the antics of two comic figures: Sir, who has everything, and Cocky, who has nothing. The two clowns fiercely compete in a “Game of Life,” in which Sir holds every advantage. Cocky struggles to overcome the obstacles Sir lays in his path, and soon grows as judgmental and bellicose as Sir himself. In time, Cocky and Sir reconcile and develop a mutual, if cautious, understanding.

Photos by Jake Pett, courtesy of Manhattanville College, Purchase NY

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Materials
  • Cast
  • History
  • Musical Numbers
  • Upcoming
  • Act I

    Sir (one of the “haves”) and his foil, Cocky (one of the “have-nots”), meet to play “The Game.” Sir insists that the “haves” must retain their position, even if the rules of The Game must constantly change to accommodate them. Poor Cocky contends with Sir’s new rules at every turn.

    Cocky tries again and again, unsuccessfully, to play The Game. With every victory, Sir further restricts the rules. Finally, Cocky tires of Sir’s authority and declares that only in dreams do hopes come true. Sir, however, claims that the courage, wisdom and foresight of the “haves” can only improve the lot of the “have-nots.”

    Crowned “King” in a mock ceremony, Cocky appears to be winning The Game of Life, but Sir steps in to remind him that wealth always wins out. Desperate as Act One ends, Cocky mournfully sings “Who Can I Turn To?”

    Act II

    A new character enters– someone even more downtrodden than Cocky. Cocky, seizing a chance at superiority, grows as overbearing as Sir. He asserts himself and – with new confidence – plays Sir’s game and wins. Triumphant, he challenges Sir’s mastery and proposes new rules. But neither Cocky nor Sir can survive alone. They decide to set off together, but disagree about how to get there, and wind up locked in a perpetual state of antagonism.

    Book, Music and Lyrics by
    Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley
    Produced for the Broadway Stage by David Merrick

    Such credits to the authors for all purposes shall be in type size equal to or greater than that of any other credits except for that of the star(s) above the title. In the programs, the credits shall appear on the title page thereof.

    The title page of the program shall contain the following announcement in type size at least one-half the size of the authors’ credits:

    is presented by arrangement with
    Tams-Witmark, A Concord Theatricals Company

    Additionally, you agree to include the above language hyperlinked to on all websites on which you promote the play.

  • Full Orchestration:

    2 Violin A
    1 Violin B
    1 Cello I & II
    1 Bass

    1 Reed I: Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet & Alto Flute (or Clarinet)
    1 Reed II: Flute (or Clarinet) & Clarinet
    1 Reed III: Oboe, English Horn (or Clarinet), Clarinet, Bass Clarinet (or Tenor Sax.) & Tenor Saxophone
    1 Reed IV: Clarinet, Bassoon (or Baritone Sax.) & Baritone Saxophone

    2 Horn I & II
    2 Trumpet I & II
    1 Trombone (optionally doubling Euphonium)

    2 Percussion I & II:

    Timpani (2 drums)
    Snare Drum
    Bass Drum
    Tom Toms (2)
    Toy Drums (3)
    Bongo Drums
    Cymbals (large & small suspended)
    Hi-Hat Cymbals
    Tam Tam
    Temple Blocks (4)
    Wood Blocks (2)
    Sistrum (small metal Rattle)
    Train Whistle
    Slide Whistle
    Glass Tree

    1 Harp
    1 Guitar & Banjo

    (Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material. There is no Piano in the orchestration.)

  • Rehearsal Materials

    2       Piano/Conductor Scores
    20     Libretto/Vocal Books

  • Sir
    The Kid
    The Girl
    The Negro
    The Bully
    The Urchins

  • THE ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT—THE SMELL OF THE CROWD played for 231 performances on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre Theatre starring Anthony Newley, Cyril Ritchard, Sally Smith and Joyce Jillson.

    AWARDS (1964-65)

    The Theatre World Award for debut performance by Joyce Jillson.

  • Act I

    1. “The Beautiful Land” – Urchins
    2. “A Wonderful Day Like Today” – Sir, Cocky, Urchins
    3. “It Isn’t Enough” – Cocky, Urchins
    4. “Things To Remember” – Sir, Kid, Urchins
    5. “Put It In The Book” – Kid, Urchins
    6. “This Dream” – Cocky
    7. “Where Would You Be Without Me?” – Sir, Cocky
    8. “Look At That Face” – Sir, Kid, Urchins
    9. “My First Love Song” – Cocky, Girl
    10. “The Joker” – Cocky
    11. “Who Can I Turn To?” – Cocky

    Act II

    12. “A Funny Funeral” / “That’s What It Is To Be Young” – Urchins
    13. “What A Man!” – Cocky, Sir, Urchins
    14. “Feeling Good” – Negro, Urchins
    15. “Nothing Can Stop Me Now!” – Cocky, Urchins
    Reprise: “Things To Remember” – Sir
    16. “My Way” – Cocky, Sir
    Reprise: “Who Can I Turn To?” – Sir
    17. “Sweet Beginning” – Cocky, Sir, Kid, Urchins

  • Find upcoming performances near you.

    Search for performances near you
    Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance