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Classics abound in Opera House's 'Roar of the Greasepaint'

It's a curse and blessing for great Broadway composers that their songs so often outlive the stories they tell.

Chances are you know the names of many more ballads in the American songbook than you know titles to the musicals from which they came. For most casual theatergoers, especially those younger than 40, this is likely the case with "The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd," a wonderful 1964 musical by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley brimming with hummable classics.

Among them are "Who Can I Turn To," "Feeling Good" -- you know, "It's a new dawn, it's a new day." -- and "The Joker." But the rest of the score, beyond the songs that have endured, is also delightful in the chipper and slightly grandiose way of so many mid-20th century British musicals.

David Bondrow, who has developed a reputation for high-quality renditions of musical classics, appears in the Lancaster Opera House production. There's no way to be sure, but it is likely the first major local production of the show since it appeared on Studio Arena Theatre's inaugural season in 1966.

"The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd": April 6 to 22 in the Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Ave. Tickets are $10 to $26. Call 683-1776 or visit lancopera.org.

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