The Roar of the Greasepaint --- The Smell of the Crowd


The Roar of the Greasepaint - The Smell of the Crowd is a music-hall allegory that examines the British class structure of the 1960s. Sir and Cocky, who represent the upper and lower classes, play a game with ever-changing rules advantageous to Sir.


Few get out of life everything they desire, yet true contentment lies in the heart. One who “gets” is Sir, and one who’s always bested is his foil, Cocky, of the “have-nots.” They meet to play “The Game.” Sir insists that the “haves” must retain their position even if the rules of the game must be constantly changed to accommodate them. Thus Cocky contends with new rules at every turn. Cocky tries again and again, unsuccessfully, to play the game, and with every defeat his rules become more restrictive. Cocky tires of Sir’s commanding role revolts and declares that only in dreams do hopes come true. Sir reminds Cocky that it is the courage, wisdom and foresight of the “haves” that improves the lot of the “have-nots.” Crowned “King” in a mock ceremony Cocky seems to be winning the game of life, but Sir steps in to remind him that wealth is the trump card. Desperate as Act One ends, Cocky pleads to heaven with the great number Who Can I Turn To. Someone even more downtrodden than Cocky enters to play the game. Cocky becomes as overbearing as Sir. Cocky asserts himself with Sir, and with new confidence plays the game and wins. He challenges Sir’s mastery and proposes his new rules. But neither Cocky nor Sir can make the grade alone. Finally they share the load and head for a future of mutual understanding.


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


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

1 Horn I & II
1 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

1       Piano Conductor’s Score (Two volume set)
1       Prompt Book for Director
6       Prompt Books for Cast
2       Piano-Conductor’s Scores for Principal Characters
18     Chorus-Vocal Books

Cast List

The Kid
The Girl
The Negro
The Bully
The Urchins

Brief History

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.