This post is about attending the new, original Broadway musical WAR PAINT on Wednesday, April 12th at 2pm. This work is about the lives of Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden played – and sung! – by, respectively, PATTI LUPONE and CHRISTINE EBERSOLE. Tickets are $143.50. each. MWC Members, if you would like to join the group, please click the SIGN-UP! tab on the Members’ site menu ribbon or go to the Reservations/ Payment page where you will be directed to TILT.
The original musical WAR PAINT chronicles the lifetimes of one of the world’s most famous – and colorful – dueling diva duos (try saying that three times, fast!). Opening in New York after a sold-out run at the Goodman Theater in Chicago this work features none other than Patti Lupone as the self-made Helena Rubinstein and Christine Ebersole as Elizabeth Arden, Rubinstein’s contemporary and arch rival in the nascent mass market cosmetics industry. This musical seems to be the story of two’s: two main characters, two truly revered Broadway divas who are both multi-time Tony Award winners. Inspired by the book War Paint by Lindy Woodhead and a documentary film, The Powder and the Glory, this production reunites the creative team which was behind Ebersole’s GREY GARDENS and her 2007 Tony win.
Arden and Rubinstein were only four years apart in age and died within a year of each other. Rather famously – just like Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots! – they never met each other. Each had a spectacular knack of understanding how to the changing market to American women and keen intuition for pricing, packaging, publicity, advertising and extolling the pseudo-science of their wares. Theirs was a fascinating rivalry which took place through two wars, the birth of the American advertising industry, the rise of nationally distributed – mass – products, the creation of the Food and Drug Administration, the emergence of early feminism and the ascendance of newer rivals, Charles Revson and Estee Lauder. Their personal lives were fraught and messy and never lived up to their historic professional successes. They tied for first place as the first self-made women millionaires in America.
And while Rubinstein and Arden’s stories are compelling – what’s even more compelling is to see and hear Christine Ebersole and Patti Lupone. Lupone, arguably Broadway’s extant belter extraordinaire, is a performing legend. She created the lead role in EVITA, went on to do likewise as Fantine in LES MISERABLES and as Norma Desmond in SUNSET BOULEVARD. She won her third Tony Award for her re-creation of Mama Rose in a 2008 production of GYPSY. Christine Ebersole is a remarkable lyric soprano and accomplished stylist who embues her singing with strong characterizations. This was wildly evident in her portrayal of both Big Edie and Little Edie in Grey Gardens. She has performed in many television and other productions in non-singing roles and has a strong cabaret following as well.
So, even before this production gets reviewed and no matter what the reviews are, there are multiple reasons to see this show. – The story of two competitive female titans of industry. The opportunity to see Lupone and Ebersole – together. And, believe it or not – I’d go just to see the fun, crazy and divine hats! Check out the one that Lupone is wearing in the picture above.