The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd – 1965
Few get out of life everything they desire, yet true contentment lies in the heart, claim The Urchins in The Beautiful Land. One who “gets” is Sir (Cyril Ritchard), and one who’s always bested is his foil Cocky (Anthony Newley) of the “have-nots.” They meet to play “The Game.” They meet in song with Sir describing the joys of being in life’s “driver’s seat” – A Wonderful Day Like Today. Sir insists that the “haves” must retain their position even if the rules of the game need to be constantly changed to accommodate them. Thus Cocky contends with new rules at every turn. The downtrodden need more than hopes and dreams: they also need luck, he sings in It Isn’t Enough. Sir outlines the requirements for a gentleman to The Kid (Sally Smith), pointing out Things To Remember. Cocky tries again and again, unsuccessfully, to play the game, and with every defeat he must write new, restrictive rules in the book of life. Sir orders him to Put It In The Book. Cocky, tired of Sir’s commanding role, revolts – With All Due Respect. For the downtrodden it is only in dreams that all hopes come true, declares Cocky in This Dream. Sir reminds Cocky that it’s the courage, wisdom and foresight of the “haves” that improve the lot of the “have-nots” – Where Would You Be Without Me? Crowned “King” in a mock ceremony, Cocky seems to be granted all his heart’s desires including a luscious dream girl. When The Girl (Joyce Jillson) appears before him, he woos her with My First Love Song. To coax Cocky into another “go” at the game, Sir, The Kid and The Urchins deliver a mocking appraisal of Cocky’s dubious qualities (which he takes seriously) in Look At That Face. Just when it appears that Cocky has finally won the game, Sir takes over and takes The Girl. He reminds the defeated lover that wealth is a trump card, and Cocky winds up lamenting his role as The Joker. Desperate as Act I closes. Cocky pleads to heaven, Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me). Act II opens with The Urchins delighting in the advantages of youth in That’s What It Is to Be Young. Cocky, still rebellious, mockingly praises Sir’s virtues, praise which Sir accepts in all seriousness – What a Man! Enter now The Negro (Gilbert Price), who wants to play the game. Cocky, finding someone even more downtrodden than himself, becomes as overbearing as Sir. The Negro pours out the sadness and heartbreak of his frustration in Feeling Good. Cocky asserts himself more and more with Sir. His demands take Sir by surprise and, after doing nothing more than threatening Cocky, he backs down. Reeling with new confidence, Cocky plays the game and wins for the first time – Nothing Can Stop Me Now! Cocky continues to gain confidence. He challenges Sir’s mastery and proposes new rules – his rules – for the game – My Way. But neither Cocky nor Sir can make the grade alone. Finally they reach a kind of understanding as they share the load and head for a future of mutual understanding – Sweet Beginning.
Cocky: Anthony Newley Sir: Cyril Ritchard The Kid: Sally Smith The Girl: Joyce Jillson The Negro: Gilbert Price The Bully: Murray Tannenbaum The Urchins: Rawley Bates, Lori Browne, Lori Caesar, Jill Choder, Gloria Chu, Kay Cole, Marlene Dell, Boni Enten, Mitzi Feinn, Pamela Gruen, Linda Rae Hager, Cyndi Howard, Laura Michaels, Debbie Palmer, Heather Taylor