THE ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT--THE SMELL OF THE CROWD
commentary by Judy Harris
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Book, Music and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley
Musical Numbers Staged by Gillian Lynne
Directed by Anthony Newley
Cocky Anthony Newley Sir Cyril Ritchard The Kid Sally Smith The Girl Joyce Jillson The Negro Gilbert Price The Bully Murray Tannenbaum
The Beautiful Land The Urchins A Wonderful Day Like Today Sir, Cocky, The Urchins It Isn't Enough Cocky, The Urchins Things to Remember Sir, The Kid, The Urchins Put It in the Book The Kids, The Urchins With All Due Respect Cocky This Dream Cocky Where Would You Be Without Me? Sir, Cocky Look At That Face Sir, The Kid, The Urchins My First Love Song Cocky, The Girl The Joker Cocky Put 'Im In the Box The Urchins Who Can I Turn To? Cocky A Funny Funeral That's What It Is To Be Young The Urchins What a Man! Cocky, Sir, The Kid, The Urchins Feeling Good The Negro, The Urchins Nothing Can Stop Me Now! Cocky, The Urchins Things to Remember (Reprise) Sir My Way Cocky, Sir Who Can I Turn To? (Reprise) Sir The Beautiful Land (Reprise) The Urchins Sweet Beginning Cocky, Sir, The Kid, The Urchins
Click here for the GREASEPAINT logo.
After I saw LA BELLE for free in 1962 in Philadelphia on it's pre-Broadway tryout, I didn't see another live theatrical event until GREASEPAINT in 1965. I was in my last year of highschool when GREASEPAINT came to Philly on its pre-Broadway tryout. I hadn't seen STOP THE WORLD (to my everlasting regret), but I had seen Anthony Newley on the ED SULLIVAN SHOW where he sang POP GOES THE WEASEL in an up tempo pop music vernacular, and I fell for him instantly. Many, many people do not like his singing voice, but I found it totally captivating. He was about 33 when this show opened on Broadway in 1965. I've always been an Anglophile and I don't know what I like better, the posh upper class accent of someone like Cyril Ritchard (who was from Australia originally) or a Cockney accent like Newley's. At the time, the Beatles were all the rage, so I was just learning to love the Liverpudlian accent as well.
Alas, I did not save any of my ticket stubs, so I can't reveal exactly when I saw the show or how cheap even first row orchestra seats were back in 1965 (the liner notes for the CD say top price was then $9.60!), only that I saw it about 6 times; I saw it the first Saturday matinee in Philadelphia at the Forrest Theatre and was so gobstruck that I saw it each successive Saturday matinee even though I had to stand the second and third time, because the show was sold out; then I saw it 3 more times on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre, and always in the first row. I believe it was the first show I actually saw "on Broadway".
GREASEPAINT is the show that prompted me to stand at the stage door in order to get an autograph, a practice that lasted for many years (at least through 1978). I simultaneously had a crush on Newley and was terrified of him; he was at the time married to Joan Collins and had a reputation for liking young girls. and also a reputation for being a perfectionist, quick with a sarcastic put down. The stagedoor in New York was in the famous Shubert Alley (which, alas, is no more with the erection of an office skyscraper) and I remember watching Newley walk along the alley with Tommy Steele who was appearing in HALF A SIXPENCE at the Broadhurst, around the corner from the Shubert on 44th Street.
I had been crazy about Cyril Ritchard since I had, as a child, seen him in the NBC TV reproduction of the Broadway musical PETER PAN; I thought he was absolutely perfect as Captain Hook, and it was my great pleasure to tell him so in person. He was very charming and had a large poodle called Trim, which was a diminutive of his own middle name, Cyril Trimnell Ritchard. Writing in his autobiography, THE MUSIC MAN (Metro Publishing Ltd. 2006), Bricusse says of Cyril in the role, that he "brought to the character of Sir his many years of experience, wit and revue performer style. He was splendidly arrogant and outrageously camp. He got all the laughs that were there to be got, totally missing in the English production, and delivered his songs with a fine edge and a high polish".
From the same book, Bricusse says of Newley: "It isn't easy to convey the elusive magic that was Newley the performer. He brought a natural ease and grace to everything he did, a deep inner knowledge, an old wisdom, a masterly body language of such humour and beauty that illustrated and illuminated every lyric he ever sang, that took an audience by the hand and led them unerringly and mesmerically through the story he was telling. At his best, he was unequaled."
I am informed by Jon Rosen, who contacted me after seeing this webpage, that back in 1965, it was NOT the practice to record an original cast album while a show was still on the road for its pre-Broadway shakedown tour, and release it as soon as possible, but the producer, David Merrick, had done this to good effect previously with another British import, OLIVER!, in order to generate as much advance publicity and advance box office reservations as possible, and that is why the album was actually in my hot little hands while the show was still in Philly. (GREASEPAINT was recorded February 28, 1965 and released March 11, 1965.)
I don't think it's a overstating the effect of GREASEPAINT to say it changed my life. At the stage door, I met a bunch of teenage girls almost exactly my age who became my best friends for the next couple of decades, as we were all mad about theatre, movies and TV; and the show instilled an interest in me for Broadway musicals (as an audience member, not a performer) which eventually led me to move to New York in 1972.
Throughout the later years, when I would see Newley do his nightclub act, he almost always stuck to numbers he wrote with and without Leslie Bricusse. He would often make reference to the show's producer, David Merrick, when introducing a song. I can't remember Newley's exact words, but it was more or less that "about David Merrick it's been said that Hitler didn't die, he went into show business". Merrick had a reputation for autocratic behavior and negative tinkering with shows; so one can imagine what kind of acrimonious relationship went on between Newley, as director and star, and Merrick, as the money man. Writing in his autobiography, THE MUSIC MAN (Metro Publishing Ltd. 2006), Bricusse says that after a sensational opening in New Haven, he returned to the show a month later where he got an "unpleasant shock" by the "improvements" Merrick had made, bringing in some "show fixers" who had tinkered with the show so that it "started to lose the natural rhythm that had been its greatest asset".
It's interesting to note the credits for this show read "book, music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley". Many people believed Bricusse wrote the music and Newley the lyrics and book, because Newley had quite a quotable wit, but in later years, when Newley collaborated with Herbert Kretzmer on CAN HEIRONYMOUS MERKIN EVER FORGET MERCY HUMPPE AND FIND TRUE HAPPINESS? (1969), it turned out Newley wrote the music and Kretzmer wrote the lyrics. Like the Beatles, neither Newley nor Bricusse could read or write music, so what they did was hum and sing to their fortuitously musical friend, Ian Fraser, who wrote it all down; Fraser served as musical arranger on many of Newley's later albums and live appearances. In a March 1997 interview included with the CD ONCE IN A LIFETIME: THE ANTHONY NEWLEY COLLECTION (released July 15, 1997), Newley is quoted as saying, "You could say that Newley did the music and Leslie did the lyrics. The only time we both did lyrics together was on STOP THE WORLD."
GREASEPAINT is a show that is hard to synopsize because it doesn't have a traditional plot; it's an allegory told in vaudeville terms about the little guy (Cocky) being downtrodden by the Establishment (Sir) no matter what he does (or, if you will, about the class struggle in Britain); and it all takes place on a kind of circular, multicolor hopscotch game painted onto a slanted portion of the floor, tilted in such a way that the audience members could see it. The colors were very vivid, but when I think about it now, all I can think of is how hellishly hard it must have been to dance on something tilted to such an extreme angle. In fact, according to STOP THE WORLD, the biography of Newley by Garth Bardsley published in 2003, the set was built and erected in a scenic studio in time for the beginning of rehearsals, so that the dances would not have to be reblocked. According to Leslie Bricusse in his autobiography THE MUSIC MAN (Metro Publishing Ltd. 2006) the play was set "after the nuclear holocaust that most of the Western world was confidently expecting, and played out the battle between the surviving haves and have-nots as a board game, with the odds heavily manipulated by the Have [Sir], at the expense of the Have-Not [Cocky]."
GREASEPAINT opened May 16, 1965 at the Shubert Theatre and played 232 performances, closing December 4, 1965. Unlike STOP THE WORLD which had been a success first in Britain with Newley in the lead, GREASEPAINT was a failure in Britain with Norman Wisdom and Willoughby Goddard in the leads; (Robert Morley was offered the role of Sir, but turned it down on the basis that he couldn't sing) It closed out of town before reaching London's West End, but David Merrick saw it in Manchester, liked it and decided to bring it to Broadway anyway. According to Joan Collins' biography, PAST IMPERFECT (G.K. Hall & Co. 1985), while in development, the show had been called MR. FAT AND MR. THIN.
It's been 30 years since I've seen the show and so my memories are a bit fuzzy now, but here's what took place to the best of my recollection. (I do remember that for some sequences, Newley would stand stock still like a statute, but I can't remember why or any specific instances. I hadn't seen STOP THE WORLD at the time, but I've seen Newley in a revival of it since then, and it now seems to me it was the equivalent of him shouting out STOP THE WORLD! but without saying anything. It must have been effective or I wouldn't have remembered it; I'm just sorry I can't remember how it was used).
Click here for 30 seconds of the overture.
THE BEAUTIFUL LAND
When the curtain rose the stage was empty; almost immediately the Urchins arrive to sing THE BEAUTIFUL LAND. This is a song about colors and, in fact, ties directly into the colored blocks of the circular hopscotch game. At the time the show moved to New York, there used to be a British Transport red double decker bus parked outside the Shubert Theatre (I think it was mainly advertising for British Airways), and by the time I saw the show on Broadway, Newley had changed the lyrics from "Red is the color of a lot of lollipops" to "Red is the color of a double decker bus" and I always assumed it was this actual bus that made him change the lyric.
All the Urchins were played by young girls, but I suspect from their plus fours and peaked hats they were meant to be boys; it was sort of a pantomime thing. In Britain, pantomimes are shows mainly for children which run at Christmas time, and the hero, like Aladdin, is always played by a girl; and the villain, like Cinderella's Wicked Stepmother, is always played by an older man in drag (the pantomime dame). I may be wrong; it may be that all the young boys who could sing and dance were in the road production of OLIVER!. Newley himself said he chose girls because he liked girls and I, for one, believe him!
Click here for 30 seconds of THE BEAUTIFUL LAND. Red is the color of a lot of lollipops, Orange is any orange on a tree. Yellow's the color of a bag of lemon drops, Green is a piece of seaweed in the sea. Blue is the color of the sky in summertime Indigo is a Siamese cat's eyes. Violet's the color of a flow'r in wintertime. These are the colors of the rainbow skies. There is a beautiful land Where all your dreams come true; It's all tied up in a rainbow, All shiny and new; But it's not easy to find No matter what you do. It's not on top of a mountain Or beneath the deep blue sea Or in London zoo or in Timbuktoo, Or in Timbuckthree. And if you travelled the world From China to Peru, There's no beautiful land on the chart. An explorer could not begin To discover its origin For the beautiful land is in your heart.
A WONDERFUL DAY LIKE TODAY
This is a number you don't hear much now, but at the time the show came out, it was recorded by a number of people. It is a peppy, upbeat number. I was disappointed when the original cast album came out because in the show all the complaining lines (Half of me's freezing - the other half's froze) were sung by Newley; on the album, these complaining lines are almost entirely missing except for two brief lines sung by the head Urchin, called the Kid, played by Sally Smith, but in the show, even these lines were Newley's. I imagine Newley was pretty worn out from doing the show 8 days a week and directing it and having to record the original cast album on his only day off, so he probably was happy pass on his portion of this song, but I've always regretted the omission.
I've watched documentaries and read articles about the recording of Broadway cast albums (and I was actually present at the recording of a good bit of the original cast album for THE ROTHSCHILDS). Popular thinking seems to be to "restage" the number so that it's palatable to listen to over and over; and delete any of the introductory (or subsequent) dialogue because people will get tired of hearing it. I don't know what people these are who get tired of this, but it's not me, and I always want the album to reproduce as much as possible the experience of seeing the show live on stage, so I was very pleased they left in Cyril Ritchard's brief opening comment - "By the flickering flame of Mount Olympus, Cocky, it's great to be back in the game!" Ritchard's dialogue was full of this kind of flowery exhortation which he delivered splendidly; some of the others were: "By the bountiful belly of Bacchus", "By the golden tonsils of Euterpe" and "By the salacious fleshpots of the Virgin Islands".
What's happened at this point is that Sir, Cocky and the Kid have made their entrance. Sir has a shooting stick, which is a sort of cane where one end opens so you can sit on it and Cocky is bent over like a beast of burden carrying all the luggage, which includes a carpet bag, picnic basket, some pots and pans and a huge book. Sir is actually in a cart that Cocky is pulling and the Kid is pushing. They are all dressed rather shabbily. Sir is wearing a long coat with tails down to his shoes; and Cocky is wearing a green suit with a short jacket.
Newley wears sort of clown makeup around his eyes - not the whole whiteface he wore in STOP THE WORLD, but his eyes were similarly made up. Ritchard is made to look fat with padding, and apparently he was vain enough to request that, just after the WHERE WOULD YOU BE WITHOUT ME number (which includes a rather physical dance), he be allowed to show his real stomach so that audiences could see the fatness was all due to padding. It must have been very hot under hot stage lights wearing all that padding. Ritchard is so droll in this role - I can't picture anyone else playing someone so rotten but still coming off so lovable. (I always wanted to hear him do a duet with Hermione Gingold - that wonderful exaggerated nasal quality they both had - shown to advantage here when he first sings "on a wonderful..." Ironically, they have a joint CD, John Murray Anderson's ALMANAC, but they don't sing together on it.)
This song sets up the fact that Sir has the upper hand; he's the one with the money; he's on the sunny side of the street while Cocky is shivering out in the cold and starving to death.
Click here for 30 seconds of A WONDERFUL DAY LIKE TODAY.
By the flickering flame of Mount Olympus, Cocky, it's great to be back at the game! The second I saw it, I knew. I said to myself: "Aha!" I could tell at a glance That it wasn't by chance That we happened to be where we are. From the moment I woke with the lark, We were both of us singing away, And the sky was so blue I instinctively knew We were in for a wonderful day. As I told you before When I saw what I saw, I was terribly tempted to say: On a wonderful day like today, I defy any cloud to appear in the sky, Dare any raindrop to plop in my eye On a wonderful day like today. On a wonderful morning like this When the sun is as big as a yellow balloon; Even the sparrows are signing in tune On a wonderful morning like this. On a morning like this I could kiss ev'rybody, I'm so full of love and good will. Let me say furthermore, I'd adore ev'rybody To come and dine -- the pleasure's mine -- And I will play the bill! May I take this occasion to say That the whole human race Should go down on its knees, Show that we're grateful For mornings like these For the world's in a wonderful way On a wonderful day like today. On a wonderful day like today When the sky is as grey as an elephant's's nose, Half of me's freezing - the other half's froze! On a wonderful day like today - I'm only joking! May I take this occasion to pray For a little less cold and a little more heat. Even the sparrows are stamping their feet; If they spoke I know just what they'd say! On a wonderful day like today. On a wonderful day ... Yes, Sir, what did you say? A fantabulous day! Don't get carried away. On a wonderful day like today!
IT ISN'T ENOUGH
This number is about relying on luck and superstition to change your miserable life instead of standing up for what you believe in and taking action. However, it manages to convey this a lot more entertainingly than I have baldly stated it. Newley sings this song while wearing a lot of talismans around his neck which the song enumerates: a wishbone, a clover, rabbit's foot, horse shoe. I can no longer visualize the dance he did, but I do recall it was executed with grace and very funny.
Click here for 30 seconds of IT ISN'T ENOUGH.
It isn't enough to hope. It isn't enough to dream It isn't enough to plot and plan and scheme. It isn't enough to stand here, Saying that life is grand here, Waiting for something good to turn up. It isn't enough to sit here, Having a purple fit here, Worried to death the world will burn up. It isn't enough to hope. It isn't enough to dream. I've got a better answer. I've got a better scheme. Why not wish upon a wishbone, Pick a four-leaf clover, Rub a rabbit's foot and Throw a horse shoe over Your lucky shoulder? You'll find before you're very much older A bit of luck will come your way. Now isn't that enough to make your day?
THINGS TO REMEMBER
This is a song Sir sings to the Kid, as a kind of mentor. I've always thought it was more like poetry; take away the music, and this would still be very readable and enjoyable. Cocky has become sick to his stomach from being spun around by the Urchins and whenever he starts to feel even slightly better, Sir deliberately says something to make him ill again, such as the line about eating curry with custard.
Click here for 30 seconds of THINGS TO REMEMBER.
If you want to grow up to be a gentleman, my child, you have a great deal to learn. There are so many things to remember As you travel the highway of life, Like always be kind to your husband Or, if you're a man, to your wife. You must never shoot trout in September. You must never feed babies on gin. Don't ever play poker on Sundays Unless you are certain to win! Ha ha. Don't go out of your way seeking danger - Never stand on a crocodile's tail! Never buy London Bridge from a stranger Unless you can make a few bob on the sale! Don't waste time with the friends that repel you And don't ever drink soup with a knife! Don't buy what those gypsy girls sell you, And if you remember these things that I tell you By Hell, you'll do well all your life! When I think of the good things that life has to give, I'm reluctantly forced to agree That the number of people who know how to live Is restricted, quite simply, to me. For life is like cricket - we play by the rules - But the secret which few people know, Which keep men of class well apart from the fools Is to think up the rules as you go. Do-de-oh-do. There are so many things to remember When you study the fruit of the vine And I am a hell of a student And that's why I drink so much wine. (I do beg your pardon). Drinking Cointreau with salt beef and mustard Is, of course, gastronomically wrong, And don't ever eat curry with custard - You'll find that it never says down very long! Don't drink champagne from soggy old slippers Though this barbaric custom is rife. Don't lift up a whale by its flippers And only buy claret from certified shippers, Avoid eating goulash with ice cream and kippers. Remember these things, you obnoxious young nippers, And you will do well all your life. So cheers, me dears, and here's to life!
I am indebted to Edmond Leonard who contacted me in 2011 with additional lyrics:
Please remember your grandmother's birthday And be proud of the flag at all times. Stand up for the National Anthem. Sit down to recite dirty rhymes. Always honor your debts when you have to And be honest unless there's no need. Spend two hours a day with the good book If you've nothing better to read. You must always be patient with children Though they jangle your nerves it is true. As a child is a present from heaven-- Thank God there aren't too many presents like you!
PUT IT IN THE BOOK
Among the luggage Cocky has been carrying around is a large book. Sir makes up new rules with each game and forces Cocky to write them down; the book is a history of Cocky's losses and contains a lot of "thou shalt nots" such as "Thou shalt not glut" and "Thou shalt not pride".
This song is sung by the Urchins; Newley is on stage, almost hidden by the huge book, and sort of shrugs his shoulders and moves the huge pencil in time to the beats of the music. Click here for 30-seconds from the original Broadway cast album.
Put it in the book! Jump about a bit! Put it in the book for me! Put it in the book! Don't get out of it. Mustn't cook the book, tee hee. Put it in the book! Put it in the book! Put it in the book! And do it nicely. Put it in the book! You're a bit of a crook! To put it precisely! Put it in the book! When it's in the book, Let us have a look - let's see! Now it's in the book And the job is done. Cor, you are a one - two, three. Put it in the book! Put it in the book! Put it in the book! Put it in the book! Put it in the book for me!
WITH ALL DUE RESPECT
This number was among my favorites when I saw the show in Philly, and it is on the original cast album, but by the time the show opened in New York, it was gone. I was furious, because not only did I like the song and the saucy little dance Newley did when Cocky finally stands up to Sir, but also I thought it set up a situation which was important, and which later is made reference to in SWEET BEGINNINGS, when Sir tries to interject the phrase "with all due respect" after Cocky has finally won a game. It may be this is one of those annoying autocratic interferences David Merrick imposed, or it may be Newley was wiped out from having so many numbers and decided to give himself a break and have one less song to sing and dance to dance; it's a very physical and demanding thing to do musical comedy on Broadway (or anywhere) 8 times a week. Click here for 30-seconds from the original Broadway cast album.
The roar of the greasepaint - the smell of the.. No, no, no, no -- With all due respect, Sir, I'd like to say a word or three About the way you're treating me In front of ev'ryone. You say I lay about and shirk, You must take me for such a jerk, 'Cause I do all the bleeding work While you have all the fun. Far be it from me, Sir, To dare to carp or criticize. I just want you to realize I don't do this for exercise. I just want you to see, Sir, How wicked and unfair it is. I dunno why, but there it is. It's more than I can bear; And, frankly, I object - That is, with due respect. Forgive my presumption; I know that you're a gentleman, A slightly temperamental man, A man of intellect. But I suspect that your neglect Is largely why my health is wrecked. No ifs or buts; I hate your guts, With all due respect. I don't wish to be rude, Sir, But ev'rything I do is wrong. You make me feel I don't belong Because I dropped off in your song. Please give me some food, Sir, A bit of bread and cheese will do Or maybe just a crust or two, But something I can chew. He feeds me once a week; I'm much too weak to speak. Permit me to say, Sir, I've had about enough of it. I always get the rough of it, So what could you expect? You must detect the bad effect You've had upon my self-respect. A bleedin' shame, But who's to blame? With all due respect. My mind you have mastered; You sit there half plastered. You aren't half a ... Cocky! With all due respect. With all due respect!
As he prepares to play the game for a job, Cocky sings of his hopes and aspirations. This develops into a dream sequence in which Cocky imagines his dream girl (played by Joyce Jillson who until her death in 2004 did horoscopes in the New York Daily News) and successfully defends her from an imaginary dragon (made up of the Urchins strung together like a Chinese dragon). Click here for 30-seconds from the original Broadway cast album.
This dream - I have this wonderful dream where I win - Where I win ev'ry battle I fight, And I kill ev'ry dragon in sight. Each night I lie awake And I wait for this dream. What a world I create when I dream I'm not lonely - A pity it's only a dream; But such a fabulous dream That I feel That the real world is really unreal, While the wildest of dreams Can come true. They do; But they only come true in this dream.
WHERE WOULD YOU BE WITHOUT ME?
This is a great song just to listen to, but it was really exciting on stage; Newley and Ritchard would have made a great vaudeville team; at some point, they get rid of their shabby hats and get canes and straw hats; they do a variety of amusing steps, including a sort of lockstep and a high kick and some movements to a lobsterscope, which was a great crowd pleaser. Newley moved his pelvis in this number and seemed fully aware of how the audience enjoyed this. When I was sitting in the first row at the Shubert, I heard him say, under his breath, just prior to the last line of the song: "Wait for it, wait for it". I don't know whether he was speaking to the audience or the orchestra leader, but he was really sexy and funny in this number. Click here for an image file.
The appearance of the phrase "Cockius useless est" seems indicative of how literate the show was. In fact, this is just the latest in a series of running gags in which Sir would quote a Latin motto and Cocky, who could "scarcely read or write or spell", would misinterpret it in a humorous way. For instance, Sir says "Nihil traditionis sans gloria, quid quid libertas. Do you know what that means, Cocky?" and Cocky replies, "Yes, sir. You can't take liberties with Gloria without paying her the traditional two quid." Later, as Cocky (who has been standing throughout the play) is about to sit on the huge book he's been lugging around, Sir says to him: "Ars ex libris, do you know what that means, Cocky?" When Cocky doesn't, Sir roars at him: "It means get your backside off The Book!" Click here for 30-seconds from the original Broadway cast album.
Come to think of it:
Where would you be without me, Cocky, Just tell me, where would you be? Look at yourself - you are so dreary - Oh dearie, oh me! How could you cope without my friendship And my kindly old face? Don't you know money can't buy friendship? It's so hard to replace...money. Where would you be without my courage? I am as fearless as three. Faithful, if you should flag, Strong if you start to sag. Cocky, you've got to agree. Tell me, frankly, Where would you be without me? I dunno, Sir. The trouble with you, Sir, is you're too good to me. I don't deserve the way you treat me. Oh, Cocky! No, really: Where would I be without you, Guv'nor? Gawd only knows where I'd be! Look at my life - it has no magic! It's tragic to see! I mean I couldn't live without your friendship And your expert advice. Yours is a lasting and sure friendship And what's more - you're so nice! Aren't I? Where would I be without your goodness Helping to carry me through? People just pass me by; Whether I live or die, They wouldn't care - But I do! Tell me, frankly, Where would I be - Where would you be? Where would I be Without you? Where would I be without you, Guv'nor? You've got no style - You've got no class - Without me, you'd be on your... Ask yourself, Sir, just where would I be? You can scarcely read or write or spell. For my part, you can go to... Well, Sir, I try to do my best. Cockius useless est. Know what that means, you pest? No! Hah! There, you see? Frankly, Where would you be? I'd be up a tree. And what would you do? I'd throw things at you! You're up a tree without... Can't picture me without... Where would you be without me? Y-O-U spells me!
LOOK AT THAT FACE
To entice Cocky to play again, Sir sings this number, sarcastically building him up only to knock him down. The Kid sings all the nasty lyrics - (You've got a face like Dracula) as Cocky is crowned a mock King with a chamberpot as a crown. Click here for 30-seconds from the original Broadway cast album.
Look at that face - Just look at it, Look at that fabulous face of yours. I knew first look I took at it, This was the face that the world adores. Look at those eyes - As wise and as deep as the sea. Look at that nose - It shows what a nose should be. As for your smile, it's lyrical - Friendly and warm as a summer's day - That face is just a miracle. Where could I ever find words to say The way that it makes me happy Whatever the time or place? I'll find in no book What I find when I look At that face. Look at that face - Just look at it. Look at that funny old face of yours. I knew first look I took at it You've got a face like a kitchen door's. Look at those eyes - As close as the closest of friends. Look at that nose - It starts where a good nose ends. As for your smile - spectacular! One grin would frighten the birds away. You've got a face like Dracula! And I mean that in the nicest way! To say that there's no one like you Would not even state the case. No wonder I shook When I first took a look At that face.
MY FIRST LOVE SONG
Sir brings on Cocky's dream girl and, as soon as Cocky sees her, he is smitten and sings this sweet song to her. The Girl is placed in the center of the hopscotch area, which is the goal of the game. Click here for 30-seconds from the original Broadway cast album.
My first love song - This is my first love song; But it takes a poet to make a rhyme. I'm not clever! I could never ever Think of phases worthy of you. Each endeavor I may make to sing your praises May not sound as it should do. But I love you - Please believe I love you - And I'd love the way poets do - to Bring my love song And sing my love song to you. My first love song; This is my first love song. No one's ever needed my love before. You're like I am - All alone like I am And in need of someone to care. Poor like I am - Like the lonely souls you read of, You and I, we're a fine pair. If you love me I really love you As you say you love me I really care for you, dear. I will be so happy to see you Bring your love song And sing your love song to me. My first love song. Sing your love song to me!
According to STOP THE WORLD, the 2003 biography of Newley by Garth Bardsley, producer David Merrick hated this song and tried to get it dropped from the show, even going so far as to remove the sheet music from the orchestra pit, but apparently Newley felt it was important to the character and battled Merrick to keep the song. In his autobiography, THE MUSIC MAN (Metro Publishing Ltd. 2006), Bricusse also mentions this battle, saying the reason Merrick disliked this song was its proximity to WHO CAN I TURN TO.
Cocky plays the game for the girl and loses; Sir walks off with her, and Cocky sings this marvelous song. This was a very emotional part of the show; Cocky has been defeated once again and lost the girl of his dreams, and he's feeling really sorry for himself. Click here for 30-seconds from the original Broadway cast album.
There's always a joker in the pack - There's always a cardboard clown. The poor painted fool falls on his back And ev'ryone laughs when he's down. There's always a funny man in the game; But he's only funny by mistake; But ev'ryone laughs at him just the same - They don't see his painted heart break. They don't care as long as there is a jester - Just a fool - as foolish as he can be. There's always a joker, that's a rule But Fate deals the hand and I see - The Joker is me!
PUT 'IM IN THE BOX
Sir taunts Cocky about the girl, and Cocky, who is now drunk, gets really furious with him. Anticipating an attack, Sir has had the Urchins create a dummy dressed up like Sir, and Cocky attacks it. Sir tells Cocky that it's his younger brother Bertie ("on my mother side - I was always on my father's side meself") and Bertie is now dead.
This number was in the Playbill when I saw the show in Philly and gone when I saw it in New York. It's tempting to think it was sung to the tune of PUT IT IN THE BOOK, but actually I have no memory of it at all, and suspect it was sung by the Urchins when "Bertie" was being stuffed into a coffin.
WHO CAN I TURN TO?
Cocky is horrified he's killed an innocent bystander and sings the most famous number from GREASEPAINT; it was recorded by a number of popular singers, including Shirley Bassey and Tony Bennett. It's not at all clear from the lyrics, but Cocky is all alone on stage and singing to God. In the end he dumps all his talismans and stalks offstage, and it has great emotional impact as the first act closer. Click here for 30-seconds from the original Broadway cast album.
Who can I turn to When nobody needs me? My heart wants to know And so I must go Where destiny leads me. With no star to guide me And no one beside me, I'll go on my way And after the day The darkness will hide me. And maybe tomorrow I'll find what I'm after. I'll throw off my sorrow - Beg, steal or borrow My share of laughter. With you I could learn to; With you on a new day. But who can I turn to If you turn away?
THAT'S WHAT IT IS TO BE YOUNG
This is sung by the Urchins and is basically a list of similes of what it feels like to be young. In the show it is preceded by a song called A FUNNY FUNERAL which is about burying the dummy that Cocky thinks is Sir's brother Bertie (whom he thinks he's killed). I remember the segue between these two songs was:
And now poor Bertie's dead And his requiem's been sung We must admit we're bloody glad To be alive and young. Alive and young. Click here for 30-seconds from the original Broadway cast album. Fresh as an April morning, Soft as a tulip's tongue, Clear as the gleam of a mountain stream; That's what it is to be young. Warm as a summer sunrise, Sweet as an evening breeze, Pure as a note from a songbird's throat, Rich as the green of the trees, Strong as the bite of a frosty night, Bold as a big brass band, Keen as a bean or a young sardine -- Not very keen to be canned, Bright as a newborn bluebell, New as a song unsung, Free as the breeze on the seven seas; That's what it is to be young.
WHAT A MAN!
This is Cocky starting to revolt against Sir, first buttering him up and praising him. And Sir is falling for it (It's true. I am.) Click here for 30-seconds from the original Broadway cast album.
What a wonderful feller! What a prince! What a saint! What a man! What a man! You are more like a god than a man! What a prize! What a pearl! What a wonderful capture for some lucky girl! That finesse! That physique! Make a rare combination you don't see Each day of the week. It's so chic, entre-nous, To be friends with a fabulous man like you. Thank you, Cocky, I don't know what to say, except it's your move. Ah, what a man! What a man! Like a statue of Mars with a tan. You've got brains! You've got brawn! You were blessed by the gods From the day you were born. So polite! Such panache! Such a style of your own, it's no wonder you cut such a dash! Never brash - always so! You're by far the most marvelous man I know. He's a thing beyond worth. Without doubt the most outstanding, Downright and upstanding, Forthright and highstanding man. What a man! Who me? Yes, you. It's true; I am. What a man he is! Oh, what a man!
A young Negro (Gilbert Price) comes by and Sir decides to let Cocky play against him. The Negro instantly notices he can't win if he lets Cocky make up all the rules, so Sir takes over the game, but while Sir and Cocky are arguing, the Negro manages to reach the center and win. In his moment of triumph he sings FEELING GOOD. Similar to the similes used in THAT'S WHAT IT IS TO BE YOUNG, this is a bunch of metaphors about how it feels to be a winner. Click here for 30-seconds from the original Broadway cast album.
Bird flying high - you know how I feel. Sun in the sky - you know how I feel. Breeze drifting by - you know how I feel. It's a new dawn; it's a new day; It's a new life for me. Feeling good. Fish in the sea - you know how I feel. River running free - you know how I feel. Blossom on the tree - you know how I feel. It's a new dawn; it's a new day; It's a new life for me. Feeling good. Dragonfly out in the sun - you know what I mean. Butterflies all having fun - you know what I mean. Sleep in peace when day is done - that's what I mean; And this old world is a new world And a bold world for me. Stars when you shine - you know how I feel. Scent of the pine - you know how I feel. Freedom is mine - I know how I feel. It's a new dawn; it's a new day; It's a new life for me. Feeling good.
NOTHING CAN STOP ME NOW!
Previously, Cocky has played and lost the game for food, for work, for love, and for revenge. Now he's finally seen someone win the game, Cocky is imbued with confidence and plays again (for Sir's cigar) by ignoring Sir's rules, as the Negro did, and finally wins. This is his song of triumph. Click here for 30-seconds from the original Broadway cast album.
I don't believe it! Pinch me to see if I am awake! I can't believe it! Wake me and say there's been a mistake! No, don't! I'd sooner sleep on In case - that is - until the dream has gone. No, this is no dream, my friend. This, it would seem, Is where my troubles end. Stand well back - I'm comin' through - Nothing can stop me now! Watch out, world - I'm warning you - Nothing can stop me now! Now I know that there is a Promised Land I'm gonna find it, and how! Hope is high and I'm gonna cling to it - Tie ev'ry string to it - Give ev'ry thing to it. I'll make all my dreams come true Before my final bow! How I'll do it, who can say? But I know I will someday. Watch out, world - I'm on my way - Nothing can stop me now! I shall find success today - Nothing can stop me now! Yesterday was yesterday - Nothing can stop me now! Now I know the future is mine to have I'm hereby makin' a vow! From now on I'm gonna begin again - Stick out my chin again - Go in and win again! Get you gone, you sky of grey! Farewell, you furrowed brow! Now my future's crystal clear! No more woe for me to fear! I'm gonna stand this world upon its ear - And I'll succeed somehow! I'll walk a million miles For life's full of smiles. Nothing can stop me now!
THINGS TO REMEMBER (Reprise)
Not pleased that Cocky has won, Sir has a very tall Bully dress up in drag, complete with a long blonde wig, and tricks Cocky into playing the game for this reward. While the Bully is beating up Cocky (off stage), Sir sings this reprise, which has such great sarcasm - "They were wonderful days I remember, when a feller could live like a king; and children were working in coal mines; and life was a beautiful thing" and is done so beautifully by Ritchard; again, take away the music and it would be poetry; especially the last lines which are really a great philosophy for anyone's life. Click here for 30-seconds from the original Broadway cast album.
When I think of the era in which I was raised And I see how the world's gone to waste, I confess that I'm constantly shocked and amazed At man's singular lack of good taste. For taste is like justice - we live by her laws. It's so easy to tell right from wrong. Most people don't bother; Most people are whores. And a few bores who do, don't for long. There are so many things I remember From the deeply revered days of old When living was gentle and gracious And working folk did as they're told. They were wonderful days, I remember, When a feller could live like a king; And children were working in coal mines And life was a beautiful thing. But the fortunes of mankind are changing; Things aren't what they were anymore; And although I'm in no way complaining, By Harris and Tweed, I preferred it before. Ah, but why think of May in November When December is all that you'll get? Man lives with a lingering ember And while there are beautiful things to remember The ugly things one should forget!
Now that Cocky has won the game, he tries to switch places with Sir - he wants to be the one who gets to make up the rules (which is how Sir has managed to win all the previous times - by inventing new rules every game).
The way this number was staged live when Newley gets to the line "Your game could lead to wars", there is a huge crash and the lights brighten then dim, as if a bomb has gone off. Newley's finger was pointed at Sir and he gives it a look afterwards, as if to say, I didn't know it was loaded, which got a laugh. Click here for 30-seconds from the original Broadway cast album.
From now on, we're gonna do things my way. My way, or not at all. We're gonna do what I wanna to when I say Not when you say, but when I say. And I say that my way is the sure way. My way will work out fine; And if you still prefer to do things your way, You go your way and I'll go mine. From now on we're gonna do things my way! No, we're not! We're gonna do things my way Or not at all! If we leave it up to you we're gonna rue things We're gonna do what I wanna do When I say! I say! Not when you say! I say! But when I say! Now let me have my say: I say that my way is the sure way We'd be better off to do things... My way will work out fine If we leave it up to you You're gonna screw things If you'd still prefer to do things your way I would Then you go your way Good. And I'll go mine. Good, and I'll go mine. Good, and I'll go mine. Now, let me have my say: From now on we're gonna see some changes; Changes - that's what we need! I'm gonna play what I wanna play when I say - Not when you say - but when I say. And I say that your game is a sly game. Your game could lead to wars; And if you're not prepared to play at my game, Then I'll pay my game. And you play yours! And you play yours! And you play yours! And you play yours! And you play yours!
WHO CAN I TURN TO? (REPRISE)
This was not on the original cast album when it was released on long playing records, and I had forgotten Cyril Ritchard got to sing it. I was reminded when this number showed up on the CD version of GREASEPAINT. Sir is feeling sorry for himself at this point, because not only has Cocky revolted but also the Kid, who has been carrying out all his nasty tricks, has abandoned him. Click here for 30-seconds from the original Broadway cast album.
This is the closing number, when Cocky has decided all the old rules are gone and the game can now be played elsewhere with greater equality - with at least a fighting chance of winning. The show and the song end with Cocky and Sir silhouetted against a large circle of light representing the moon (this photo was on the cover of the playbills); each of them has a finger raised to the other, arguing because one of them wants to go left and one wants to go right. The curtain comes down on them frozen in this argument. It's a very poignant image and sums up the eternal struggle that you know will continue even after the curtain goes down. Click here for another version of this photo. Click here for 30-seconds from the original Broadway cast album.
This, my friend, is only the beginning - Such a sweet beginning, too. Now, at last, I see a chance of winning - See a chance of breaking through. Who can say? Today may live in hist'ry As long as there's a hist'ry book. Yesterday the world was still a myst'ry; Today it has a new and diff'rent look. So, my friend, let's send the old world spinning; Change is what I recommend. Come on, my friend, let's see this sweet beginning Through to the bitter end! Through to the bitter end!
All lyrics posted copyright 1964 Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse
Concorde Music, Ltd., TRO-Musical Comedy Productions, Inc.
GREASEPAINT received 6 Tony nominations and lost them all to FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, including:
Best Actor - Cyril Ritchard Best Score - Newley and Bricusse Best Director - Newley
WHO CAN I TURN TO? was nominated for a Grammy but lost to HELLO, DOLLY. Together with composer Leslie Bricusse, he won the 1962 Grammy Award for song of the year for ''What Kind of Fool Am I?''; it also won the Ivor Novello Award for best song of the year.
I've recently listened to both GREASEPAINT and STOP THE WORLD, and it's clear that STOP THE WORLD has much cleverer, more "British" lyrics (even though the Broadway version was changed somewhat from the London version to make it more palatable to Americans) while GREASEPAINT had songs that seemed more aimed to become popular standards - many more of which could be taken from the show - and very little "Britishness" in the lyrics.
Newley and Bricusse later collaborated on another musical, THE GOOD OLD BAD OLD DAYS, in which Newley played the Devil. This opened on December 20, 1972 in London's West End at the Prince of Wales Theatre, ran for 309 performances, but never made it to Broadway. In fact, Newley himself never returned to the Great White Way in a book show; although he was heading there in 1983 with a musical version of CHAPLIN (as in Charlie Chaplin), which closed out of town. At the time of his death Newley had been working for many years on a musical version of RICHARD III. He opened November 1996 in London in a musical version of SCROOGE with music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, based on the Albert Finney movie version.
GREASEPAINT has not been revived on Broadway since it closed in 1965; it's difficult to see who else could play these demanding roles. I have a faint recollection that Orson Bean took over from Newley while the show was still on Broadway (as Joel Grey had taken over from him when Newley left STOP THE WORLD and Richard Kiel took over as the giant). I also caught a local production of GREASEPAINT with Danny Meehan as Cocky, and it was really a pale, drab imitation of this sparkling Broadway musical.
The biographical and career information on Anthony Newley I used to have at the end of this webpage has been moved here.