Grand Staircase Entrance

Music up as every eye goes to the head of the stairs, the portières move and Mrs. Levi steps through, handsomely gowned, red hair done up magnificently on top of her head. She descends stairs as Waiters, etc. await her first words.
Hello, Dolly!, stage direction preceding title song

Maybe she's the Girl Next Door who's just gotten a makeover, and it's time to show her family. Maybe she's the Cinderella Expy making her grand entrance at the ball. Maybe she's just finally ready for her date. So how does she ensure her entrance 'wows' everyone there?

She'll appear at the top of a wide, sweeping staircase. (Bonus points for marble banisters, fancy new carpeting, or spotlights.) She pauses a moment, either at the top or a few steps down, so everyone has a chance to take in her beauty, how nice her face is, and her elegant hair and clothes (would even involve a Pimped-Out Dress in older stories). Once noticed, she slowly and gracefully descends.

This is perhaps the only way to justify the camera starting at the feet and slowly panning up the figure. When wearing a dress with a long skirt, stepping down gives her a chance to show off her shoes and legs without being immodest.

Often, but not necessarily, combined with She Cleans Up Nicely.


Film - Animated

Film - Live-Action

  • Alanna and her companions do this in last Song of the Lioness, but it's Thayet who really steals the show—beautiful on a normal day, when she makes her grand entrance it's a sight to stun even the most jaded.
  • Cat does this to Giogi in Finder's Stone, descending the staircase of his townhouse in a form-fitting dress whose neckline is described as "nowhere near the neck." Of course, she is actively trying to manipulate him and secretly working for the villain.
  • In Petals On The Wind, Cathy does this at her mother's Christmas party, intent on humiliating her for her actions in the previous book—locking her four children away in an attic room.

Live-Action TV
  • Visually referenced in Supernatural... with a guy in a tux. Despite the guy in question being played by Jensen Ackles, he assumes he looks ridiculous. Bela, on the other hand, immediately suggests they have "angry sex" once the job is over.
  • Inverted in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "After Life", where Buffy descends the stairs in her house and Spike is rendered dumbstruck. In this case, it's because she's been dead and buried for the past 147 days.
    • In "Halloween", Buffy convinces Shrinking Violet Willow to do the "coming down the staircase thing" to impress Xander, whom she has a crush on. Willow does...dressed as a Bedsheet Ghost, so the glamorous effect is lost.
  • Alternate Universe Jackie does this at her 39th birthday party in the Doctor Who episode "Rise of the Cybermen".
  • Fran gets a lot of mileage out of this trope in The Nanny. She makes a Grand Staircase Entrance almost every time she's formally dressed.
    • Maggie got one of her own, too.
  • Game of Thrones. Manipulative Bastard Littlefinger is visibly stunned when Sansa Stark enters this way after her Evil Costume Switch, marking her acceptance of her own manipulative persona. She smiles, fully aware of the effect she has on him.
  • This is how the audience is introduced to the now teenaged Meggie in the miniseries The Thorn Birds.

  • Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly!!, during the title song.
  • "Beautiful Girls" in Follies is used to introduce a parade of White Dwarf Starlets this way.
  • In the first act of The Addams Family, Wednesday appears at the top of the stairs just after her "normal" fiance and his parents have arrived. Not exactly grand, but the "everyone stares" bit is played straight- because she's wearing a yellow dress (identical to her normal outfit in all but color). The general reaction is one of horror rather than admiration, from everyone except her future in-laws; in a cut line from the Chicago preview, said fiance even tells her to "take that dress and burn it."
  • Lampshaded in The Musical of Musicals: The Musical!:
    Spoken Stage Direction: Abby appears at the top of a staircase. The audience applauds wildly, even though she hasn't done anything yet.


Real Life
  • A political version was invoked by Harvey Milk when he was a councilor in San Francisco; when going through the lobby of City Hall, he always took the grand stairway instead of the elevator like the rest of city council so he would be noticed by the public and the press.