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

Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley

Full Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy  /  2f, 3m

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

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

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

by  Leslie Bricusse Anthony Newley

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


  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    2f, 3m
  • Duration
    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Fables/Folktales, Experimental
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    • Appropriate for all audiences
  • NOMINEE: Six 1965 Tony Awards, including Best Composer & Lyricist
    WINNER! 1965 Theatre World Award for debut performance by Joyce Jillson.
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.
The Roar of the Greasepaint - The Smell of the Crowd opened on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre on May 16, 1965, starring Anthony Newley, Cyril Ritchard, Sally Smith and Joyce Jillson. The production played for 231 performances.

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.


Performing Groups
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups
  • Youth/Camp Programs

Licence details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.



  • Time Period: Not Applicable
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: A rocky place.
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


2f, 3m
Cast Attributes
  • Role(s) for Black Actor(s)
  • Multicultural casting
  • Roles for Children
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)

The Girl
The Negro
The Kid


The Bully
The Urchins


  • Musical Style: Classic Broadway
  • Dance Requirements: Easy
  • Vocal Demands: Difficult
  • Orchestra Size: Large
  • Chorus Size: No Chorus

Act I

1. Overture – Orchestra
2. Opening – Orchestra
3. “The Beautiful Land” – Urchins
3a. Scene – Orchestra
4. “A Wonderful Day Like Today” – Sir, Cocky, Urchins
4a. Scene – Orchestra
5. “It Isn’t Enough” – Cocky, Urchins
5a. The Game Scene – Orchestra
6. “Things To Remember” – Sir, Kid, Urchins
6a. Things to Remember Tag – Orchestra
7. “Put It In The Book” – Kid, Urchins
7a. Scene – Orchestra
8. “This Dream” – Cocky
8a. Scene – Orchestra
9. “Where Would You Be Without Me?” – Sir, Cocky
9a. Without Me Tag – Orchestra
9b. Scene – Orchestra
10. “Look At That Face” – Sir, Kid, Urchins
10a. Scene – Orchestra
11. “My First Love Song” – Cocky, Girl
11a. Scene – Orchestra
12. “The Joker” – Cocky
12a. Scene – Orchestra
13. The Funeral – Orchestral
14. “Who Can I Turn To?” – Cocky

Act II

15. Entr’acte – Orchestra
16. “A Funny Funeral” / “That’s What It Is To Be Young” – Urchins
16a. Funny Funeral Tag – Orchestra
17. “What A Man!” – Cocky, Sir, Urchins
17a. Scene – Orchestra
18. “Feeling Good” – Negro, Urchins
18a. Scene – Orchestra
19. “Nothing Can Stop Me Now!” – Cocky, Urchins
19a. Scene – Orchestra
20. Reprise: “Things To Remember” – Sir
20a. Scene – Orchestra
21. “My Way” – Cocky, Sir
22. Reprise: “Who Can I Turn To?” – Sir
22a. Scene – Orchestra
23. “Sweet Beginning” – Cocky, Sir, Kid, Urchins
24. Exit Music – Orchestra

Full Orchestration

Violin A
Violin B
Cello I & II

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

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

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

Guitar & Banjo



Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package:
1 Piano/Conductor Score
9 Libretto/Vocal Books
1 Reed 1
1 Reed 2
1 Reed 3
1 Reed 4
2 Horn 1&2
2 Trumpet 1&2
1 Trombone
2 Percussion 1&2
1 Harp
1 Guitar/Banjo
2 Violin A
1 Violin B
1 Cello 1&2
1 Bass

Piano Only:
1 Piano/Conductor
9 Libretto/Vocal book


Music Samples



Leslie Bricusse

Leslie Bricusse is a writer/composer/lyricist who has contributed to many musical films and plays during his long, award-winning career. He was born in London and educated at University College School and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. At Cambridge, he was president of both the University Footlights C ...

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Anthony Newley

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