The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd
is a musical
with a book, music, and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse
and Anthony Newley
. The musical is best known for producing the standards "Who Can I Turn To?
" and "Feeling Good
." The show title is a transposition of the phrase "the smell of the greasepaint
, the roar of the crowd", referring to the experience of theatre performers.
Resembling a music hall
production more than a book musical
, the allegorical
plot examines the maintenance of the status quo
between the upper and lower classes of British
society in the 1960s. The two main characters are Sir and Cocky. Since Sir forever is changing the rules of the game of life, downtrodden young Cocky always gets the short end of the stick. Assisting Sir is his eager disciple Kid, anxious to pick up bits of wisdom while helping keep Cocky in his place.
With this project, Bricusse and Newley had hoped to match the success of their 1962 hit Stop the World - I Want to Get Off
. The show toured the UK
in anticipation of a London
opening, but audience interest was minimal, and it never reached the West End
. American theatre producer David Merrick
saw it in Liverpool
and, aware production costs could be kept low, decided to bring it to the States, starting with a lengthy national tour. An original cast recording
was released by RCA Victor
long before the show reached New York City
, and Tony Bennett
's version of "Who Can I Turn......