Running since March 2017 Two-time Tony Award winners Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole star in a new musical that tells the remarkable story of cosmetics titans Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden.
The Broadway production of War Paint closed November 5, 2017. For current Broadway show listings and tickets, please click here.
From the producers: Two-time Tony Award-winning legends Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole join forces to portray the trailblazing cosmetic icons who built empires in a business world ruled by men. "War Paint" tells the remarkable story of Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden—fierce rivals who defined 20th Century beauty. In creating an industry, they reinvented themselves and revolutionized how the world saw women.
"War Paint" arrives on Broadway following a sold-out run at Chicago's Goodman Theatre in summer of 2016, where it became the most successful show in Goodman history. The musical is inspired by Lindy Woodhead's book "War Paint" and the documentary film, "The Powder & the Glory," by Ann Carol Grossman and Arnie Reisman.
Patti LuPone is a two-time Grammy Award winner and a two-time Tony Award winner for her roles in 'Evita" and "Gypsy." She is also a 2006 American Theater Hall of Fame inductee. Christine Ebersole appeared on Broadway in the musical "42nd Street," winning a Tony Award, and appeared both Off-Broadway and on Broadway in the musical "Grey Gardens," winning her second Tony Award. She co-starred on the TBS sitcom "Sullivan & Son." The Broadway company will also feature Tony nominee John Dossett ("Gypsy," "Newsies") and Chris Hoch ("La Cage aux Folles," "Matilda").
Playing this pair, Ebersole and LuPone are nothing short of flawless. The musical tells the gripping story of Rubinstein and Arden's careers, warts and all...a juicy - albeit highly elegant - drama. The music is strong but not particularly memorable..but the lyrics are impactful. While Act 2 slows a tad, the show is overall well-paced. "War Paint" isn't perfect, but it's a thing of beauty for sure.
Despite its relatively low-key dramatic engine, this is a smart, sophisticated exploration of two uncompromising personalities. Director Greif keeps the multitasking ensemble moving through an evenly paced 2 1/2 hours. Some no doubt will find the show lacking in dramatic momentum or explosive conflicts. I found it thoroughly compelling and masterfully entertaining throughout. And it's been given a suitably deluxe production co-piloted by two star turns for the ages.
New York Daily News
The good news is that the two stars are in rare form. LuPone's performance is slathered in gusto. Ebersole's turn is creamier than any emollient. They're so good, you wish the show were better. As is, it's polished to a high shine but bland and scarcely skin deep. The songs are easy enough on the ears...But the score is less memorable for revealing bottled-up emotions than goop inside makeup containers.
New York Magazine
Beguiling but frustrating...for all the intelligence, sophistication, and sheer talent involved - LuPone and Ebersole are in top form - "War Paint" keeps falling between an older model of storytelling and a new one, never fully climbing its way out of the gap. The fact that the actual women never met, and had complete lives well beyond the parts that were parallel, poses problem after problem. [But] the astonishing costumes and the score filled with real theater songs are as good as Broadway gets.
New York Times
LuPone and Ebersole are not coasting on the market value of their star appeal. They're strategically deploying the knowledge and craft of a combined eight decades in musicals to make us believe that the show in which they appear is moving forward, instead of running in place in high heels. Ebersole and LuPone go a great distance in disguising the show's essential sameness...[with] numbers that cannily play to their separate but equal strengths.
Hearing these extraordinary women at the top of their game in duets that contrast and blend and play off one another's unique theatrical instincts is a thrill, and would be even without a chic and thoughtful show around them. "War Paint" may not be one of the great musicals, but it is an enormously satisfying one. The songs have rich dramatic context but not quite the wished-for originality.
Time Out New York
With two narratives to track, and a lot of time soaked up by musical numbers, the show is heavy on primer and contours but light on blending and shading. There are two excellent reasons to see "War Paint," and their names are above the title. Otherwise, much of [it] is a blur. It has been crafted with intelligence and care...it is well performed...and Greif's direction keeps it moving efficiently along. But the show doesn't make a persuasive case that its stories must be told.
Luckily, there's not much plot to distract from these carefully nuanced characters, their amazing careers and dazzling wardrobes. The music feels right for both the individual characters and the progressive time frames. The lyrics suit the characters and serve the plot. And the book is smart and literate. Although the book limits the heights and depths of the women's titanic characters, the songs (and their cutting lyrics) pick up the slack.
July 27, 2017
I saw this show six months ago in NYC. Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole were magnificent! This depicts an interesting segment of history with excellent music!
July 4, 2017
Patti LuPone was excellent - well worth the wait. All singers were fantastic and the highlight of the show. The information reflecting the truth of the rise and fall of Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden was very interesting. The book for the show however was only fair. It was too long with not enough crispness or intensity to keep interest consistent. The ending came one scene too late. Overall, the show was fair, but Patti made it worth the wait and the seats we had (Row F in the med Mezzanine on the aisle end) were great. Last, this theater needs more rest room accommodations. Both Ladies and Men had lines extending multiple floor levels for a single restroom.
May 21, 2017
We loved the show. Music costumes actors story was all top notch, One of the best musicals that I have ever seen on Broadway for many years