War Paint is playing Nederlander Theatre located 208 West 41th Street. It runs two hours twenty minutes with one intermission. The show closes on September 3, 2017.
The show premiered on July 18, 2016 at the Gordon Theatre in Chicago. It closed on August 21, 2016.
It is based on both Lindy Woodhead 2004 book War Paint and the 2007 documentary film The Power and The Glory by Ann Carol Grossman and Arnie Reisman.
The story is about Helena Rubenstein (1872-1965) and Elizabeth Arden (1878-1966).
Michael Greif is the director. He has been nominated for three Tony Awards for Next to Normal (2009), Gray Gardens (2006) and Rent (1996).
Christopher Gattelli is the chorographer. He won a Tony Award for Newsies (2012) and was nominated for a Tony Award for South Pacific (2008). Christopher was won a Drama Desk Award for Altar Boyz (2005).
Catherine Zuber is the costume designer. She has been nominated for eleven Tony Awards and won six. She won for the King and I (2015), The Royal Family (2010), South Pacific (2008), The Coast of Utopia (2007), Awake and Sing (2006) and The Light in the Piazza (2005). She was nominated for a Tony Award for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (2011), Born Yesterday (2011), Edward Albee’s Seascape (2006), Dinner at Eight (2003) and Twelfth Night (1999).
Patty Lupone won a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for Gypsy (2008) and Evita (1979). She was nominated for a Tony Award and Drama Award for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (2010), Sweeney Todd (2005) and The Robber Bride Groom (1975). Patty was nominated for a Tony Award and won a Drama Desk Award for Anything Goes (1987).
Christine Ebersole won a Tony Award for Gray Gardens (2007) and 42nd Street (2001). She was nominated for a Tony Award for Dinner at Eight (2002).
John Dossett was nominated for a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for Gypsy (2003).
When both women came to America “nice” women did not paint their faces. Dance hall girls and street walkers did that. Arden gave suffragettes lipsticks to make their lips stand out. Rubenstein brought attention to her products by the labeling.
Helen Rubenstein (Patti Lupone) was born in Poland and opened her first cosmetic salon in in New York City in 1915. She sold her business in 1928 for 7.3 million dollars. She rebought it during the great depression for less than one million dollars. Harry Fleming (Douglas Sills) helped her promote her products.
Elizabeth Arden (Christine Ebersole) was born in Woodridge, Ontario, Canada. She is largely responsible for the way women thought that it was proper and appropriate to wear makeup. Elizabeth opened her first salon in New York City in 1910. Her husband Tommy Lewis (Josh Dossett) helped her promote her products.
The story revolves around their how companies grew and how they competed against each other.
Both Tommy and Harry were fired and switched working for the other women.
Some of the obstacles they met were the government cracking down on true content of their products, World War II the factories were closing since the men were at war. They encouraged women to work in factories and get involved in the war. In the fifties new companies were opening up enticing the younger women to wear makeup such Revlon.
The story ends in the 1960’s.
This is an interesting and enjoyable show.
The cast does an incredible job. Patti Lupone holds a note that blows you away. When Christine Ebersole and Patti Lupone sing together they are in harmony. It is amazing and breathtaking.
The set is just enough to tell you where you are but not enough to take away from the story.
Best of all is the costumes, they were astonishing. I hope Catherine Zuber gets nominated for an award. She deserves it.
Even the stage curtain was great. It is a woman holding a mirror with a tube of lipstick in her hand. Her lips and nails are pink.
The show is worth seeing.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor.
To read a candid interview with the cast, scroll down to the left for recent photos. Click on a photo, then click on return to the album and finally click on return back to the gallery for this and other shows.