Open run

War Paint

Members say: Great singing, Entertaining, Great acting, Disappointing, Slow
71 reviews
938 reviews

Two-time Tony Award winners Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole come to Broadway in this new musical about rival cosmetic titans Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden.

... Read more

Brilliant innovators with humble roots, both women were masters of self-invention who sacrificed everything to become the country's first major female entrepreneurs. They were also fierce competitors whose 50-year tug-of-war would give birth to an industry. From Fifth Avenue society to the halls of Congress, their remarkable rivalry was ruthless, relentless, and legendary—pushing both women to build international empires in a world dominated by men. Costarring Tony nominees John Dossett and Douglas Sills, and directed by Tony nominee Michael Greif.

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$59 - $119 through 9/03
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$119 Orchestra
$99 Front Mezzanine
$59 Mid Mezzanine


Prices include a $2 facility fee per ticket purchased. Ticketmaster service fees for each ticket applicable to online or phone orders. ALL SALES FINAL. No refunds or exchanges. Other restrictions may apply. Dates, times, prices subject to change without notice. Offer valid on select locations for performances through 9/3/17. Additional blackout dates may apply. Offer may be revoked or modified without notice at any time. Limit 11 tickets for order.

$59 - $119 through 9/03
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Rear Mezz $59 (Reg. $99)
Mid Mezz $99 (Reg. $129)
Orchestra/Front Mezz $119 (Reg. $169)


Must purchase by September 3. Prices include a $2 facility fee per ticket purchased. Ticketmaster service fees for each ticket applicable to online or phone orders. ALL SALES FINAL. No refunds or exchanges. Other restrictions may apply. Dates, times, prices subject to change without notice. Offer valid on select locations for performances through September 3. Additional blackout dates may apply. Offer may be revoked or modified without notice at any time. Limit 11 tickets for order. Photo by Joan Marcus

$59 - $119 through 9/24
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Rear Mezzanine $59 (reg. $69-79)
Rear/Mid Mezzanine $69 (reg. $99)
Front/Mid Mezzanine $99 (reg. $109-129)
Orchestra and Front Mezzanine $119 (reg. $139-$167)


Fees are $9.50-$11 per ticket and $3.20 per order, but that’s the standard charge on all tickets. Prices include a $2 facility fee per ticket purchased. Ticketmaster service fees for each ticket applicable to online or phone orders. All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges. Other restrictions may apply. Dates, times, prices subject to change without notice. Offer valid on select locations for performances through Sept. 24. Additional blackout dates may apply. Offer may be revoked or modified without notice at any time. Limit 11 tickets for order.

Playbill Club
$79 - $119 through 9/03
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$79 Mid-Mezz

$99-119 Orch/Front Mezz


Prices include a $2 facility fee per ticket purchased. Ticketmaster service fees for each ticket applicable to online or phone orders. ALL SALES FINAL. No refunds or exchanges. Other restrictions may apply. Dates, times, prices subject to change without notice. Offer valid on select locations for performances 3/7/17-9/3/17 excluding 4/6/17 and all Saturday evening performances. Additional blackout dates may apply. Offer may be revoked or modified without notice at any time. Limit 11 tickets per order.

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$119 Orchestra Tickets using code MAIL |
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Use code TMCN at Ticketmaster to save 40% on War Paint tickets. |
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Save 40% with code: TMCN --$59 rear mez, $69 mid mez, $99 Orch |
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Through April 30 only, save up to 30% (excluding Sat evening) $79 Mid-Mezz $99-119 Orch/Front Mezz |
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Cast & Creatives (29)

Reviews (1009)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

The New York Times

“Ms. Ebersole and Ms. LuPone go a great distance in disguising the show’s essential sameness. Ms. LuPone is as imposing as Rubinstein must have been, and presumably a whole lot funnier. Ms. Ebersole is equally formidable in a lighter vein. And Frankel and Korie have written numbers for their stars that cannily play to their separate but equal strengths…So, though my eyes occasionally glazed seeing ‘War Paint,’ I wouldn’t have missed it, if only to hear its leading ladies’ climactic ballads.” Full Review

Broadway News

"LuPone and Ebersole, giving performances of such resplendent force, wit and vivacity that the evening gleams like a freshly applied coat of nail polish...Enhanced by a sumptuous production directed by Greif...A nagging flaw in the show’s conception: the central narrative is largely undramatic, at times even superficial...When you have the opportunity to watch actors of this caliber, it’s easy to overlook many a superficial flaw, sit back and simply bask." Full Review


"A less-than-engaging musical book report...Unfortunately, Wright has not refined these raw ingredients into the finished product of a compelling drama. The fact that Arden and Rubinstein never actually met face-to-face is a problem he never really solves, sapping the story of much-needed drama...That's too bad because we get the sense that our two lead actresses are combat-ready...Michael Greif directs a visually stunning but dramatically lumbering production." Full Review


“An important story that's certainly worthy of a first class treatment, and director Michael Greif's polished and professional production delivers...Ebersole radiates charming elegance…LuPone brings her gutsy brashness to Rubinstein…Each is granted an 11 o'clock number that showcases them royally…‘War Paint’ is gorgeously packaged, but doesn't quite accomplish its noble task. While the two enterprising women are honored, the material doesn't seep into the pores.” Full Review


"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...While much is made of their fierce competitive practices, there’s little at stake here, aside from the loyalties of their male partners." Full Review

Time Out New York

"There are two excellent reasons to see 'War Paint,' and their names are above the title...Otherwise, much of 'War Paint' is a blur. It has been crafted with intelligence and care by the team behind 2006’s poignant 'Grey Gardens'...Michael Greif's direction keeps it moving efficiently along. But the show doesn’t make a persuasive case that its stories must be told...'War Paint’s' nails, though attractively polished, only scratch its surface." Full Review


“The two never actually met…What that means is a split-screen musical…Such pervasive parallelism, I’m afraid, saps the work of narrative or dramatic tension. Still, the score is a Gershwin and Irving Berlin-style pastiche of the first order, and the magnificent stars are in great voice, so you can ignore the dramatic void for a remarkably long time. Great stars, witty songs, chic design: ‘War Paint’ has an impressive façade. Just not much of a stunner under the makeup.” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"Doug Wright's book sticks fairly closely to the contours of his subjects' lives, but, in trying to avoid creating a camp catfight, he has come up with a parallel plot structure that proves more confining than a lady's corset...Nevertheless, 'War Paint' will be irresistible to many -- for good reason -- thanks to the casting of LuPone and Ebersole...A lot of very fine work -- by some very gifted people -- has gone into 'War Paint,' but it adds up to little more than a skirmish." Full Review

New York Theater

"No, they can’t make it a great musical. But LuPone and Ebersole give star turns of equal weight. Most impressively, though they are portraying life-long rivals, these are bravura performances that don’t clash; they blend...Yet, for all its appeal, 'War Paint' does not surmount some logistical problems that are likely to make some of the scenes heavy-going to all but ardent students of the beauty industry that the two women helped create." Full Review

Cultural Weekly

“Tremendously satisfying…Wright offers a fascinating history of 20th century fashion and make-up as well as an insightful character study, directed with speed and style by Michael Greif…The score is sharp, funny, and intricate, employing the musical vocabulary of its various eras to convey rapid changes and emotional depths…LuPone and Ebersole command the stage separately but equally…John Dossett and Douglas Sills offer sturdy support as their right-hand men.” Full Review

Front Row Center

“We witness the extraordinary talents of Ebersole and Lupone. To hear them sing is to listen to the heavens break open and put down pure gold. Never mind that the music itself is not up to the grace of the voices that deliver it. These two women, like the giants they portray, keep their eye on the target every second they are onstage…What we don’t get, and why the writers did not take this risk is a mystery, is the two women squaring off face-to-face, war paint to war paint.” Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"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 structure quickly becomes a bit monotonous...Why, onstage, despite a perfectly smooth staging from Michael Greif, should 'War Paint' feel so effortful, like getting through an overheavy meal?" Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Curiously un-involving even as a more refined, sophisticated attempt at a dual biography. It’s more Arden than Rubenstein in style, but neither woman comes out a winner...These two women are sung by two artists in peak form, with their voices perfectly suited to each character and sounding glorious...So why does 'War Paint 'remain so bloodless? No doubt, they left a lot of fun out of it by going highbrow...Yes, they sacrifice much in their personal lives...But it never cuts deep." Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"The stars are starry, the sets are glossy, and the book is full of snappy one-liners. In the end, though, 'War Paint' fails to keep its costly promises...The plot fails to pass the who-cares test...Structurally rigid, dramaturgically overcrowded and emotionally tepid... LuPone and Ebersole are as good as you’d expect, Greif’s staging and the choreography are smooth and polished. In short, it looks like a winner—but as anyone in the cosmetics business can tell you, appearances are deceiving." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"Not terrible, per se, but it's so scintillatingly boring that you'll spend more of the two-and-a-half-hour evening fight off an encroaching coma...Both performers unlock the steely and sympathetic sides of the women they're playing, so that the strength and the hurt are seldom far removed from each other...Their stories are worth telling and worth listening to, but not in the tedious form 'War Paint' so soullessly delivers them." Full Review

AM New York

"The musical is built around an unwieldy and repetitive Ping-Pong structure of shifting back and forth between the two characters...However, 'War Paint' still has a lot going for it, including self-empowered protagonists, high-powered performances, well-crafted period-style songs, the classy aura of old-school New York and the smooth direction of Michael Greif." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"The marquee draw is the dynamite pairing of Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, Broadway's finest, in richly distinctive roles that play to their respective strengths...Their contrasting turns here are simply mesmerizing...Despite its relatively low-key dramatic engine, this is a smart, sophisticated exploration of two uncompromising...Some no doubt will find the show lacking in dramatic momentum or explosive conflicts. I found it thoroughly compelling and masterfully entertaining throughout." Full Review

New York Daily News

"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...The structure of the show doesn't help. Arden starts a song, only to have Rubinstein chime in to give her side of the same story — or vice versa...The songs are easy enough on the ears. But the score is less memorable for revealing bottled-up emotions than goop inside makeup containers." Full Review


"The musical’s DOA...Somehow this all manages to be a huge bore though not for want of trying and effortful lung power from the leads in director Michael Greif’s high-voltage production. The score is as hard on the ear as the book is clunky and predictable...Working so hard, and so effectively, to establish equivalency in the stories of these two phenomenally successful women in the end drains 'War Paint' of any drama." Full Review


"Ebersole and LuPone do manage to rise above the less than ideal material. They inhabit their characters fully and sing so beautifully that unmemorable music seems better than it is...The show overall does have a good deal to recommend it: Director Michael Greif does his utmost to unify the side by side stories...And choreographer Christopher Gattelli takes advantage of the ensemble's versatility to create some lively production numbers." Full Review

Chicago Tribune

"Very classy and elegant new Broadway musical...Deceptively complex direction of Michael Greif...The show ultimately demurs when it comes to holding the great titans of makeup, and the men who surrounded them, to moral account. And that is what might just have made 'War Paint' a truly great musical, instead of a highly entertaining and provocative one...A tad too admiring of its subjects for its own good." Full Review


"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 show, sleekly and compassionately directed by Michael Greif, looks at American women from 1934 to 1964 through a new lens." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"Both of these stars are winning a different type of theatrical war than the one being chronicled in this touching big-number filled musical…‘War Paint’ fails to rise above the pedestrian, doing justice to this interesting story, but unable to rise the whole piece as high as some of the notes being sung…Every moment sounds lovely and we are totally engaged, but the songs don’t vary enough from each other overall…Just try to defy these two Tony winning stars their stupendous power." Full Review


"A show with one musical theater legend is rare these days but with both Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole you are offered two of the great ladies of the American musical on the same stage at the top of their form. Sophisticated, chic and elegant, 'War Paint' is an absorbing and magnificent story of two remarkable women who climbed their way to the top of their profession only to find that there were still things they could not accomplish." Full Review

The Wrap

"How rare it is to see two great female performances in one season, much less one musical. The 'War Paint' book is also a marvel...Director Michael Greif not only juggles with aplomb these four lead characters and a featured one, but the Depression, World War II, the advent of TV, and the counterculture. It’s quite a story, and one well told...These songwriters are good at the reflective...If only they could be a little brassier now and then." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Slow, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you want to see two musical theater powerhouses deliver stellar performances.

Don't see it if you want a more fast-paced, unpredictable story.

Great acting, Cliched, Great singing, Beautiful set and costumes

See it if you want to see two great performances and learn more about two important women, although this is the water downed Lifetime TV version.

Don't see it if you expect a nuanced version of this important story.

Beautiful, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you want to see what might be Ms LuPone's last Bway musical, you like costume, set musicals

Don't see it if you're a chauvinist and looking for a musical that will change your life


See it if If you like Patty. It was a simple show, little scenery. If you like old fashion musicals

Don't see it if Not a fan. I think I was too young. Not a Patty fan. It was great singing but boring at times. Felt it could have been better

Ebersole at her best/lupone always fascinating but could have been great story

See it if you want to see two great musical stars working together to make the most of a mundane book. Visual cupcake. costumes and sets.

Don't see it if You want real exploration of these dynamic women.

Disappointing, Slow, Great singing, Great staging, Diva vehicle

See it if You love Lupone or Ebersole. They alone are more than worth the price of admission. Also, the period, opulent costumes are terrific.

Don't see it if You are seeking amazing new music or a "wow" of a production.

Exquisite, Great staging, Glamorous, visually beautiful

See it if you are interested in the history and rivalry of 2 cosmetic giants during the 1930s to 1950s in a beautifully costumed production.

Don't see it if you don't like musical biographies with a lot of biography thrown at us with many songs performed in a bit of a confusing presentation.

Thought-provoking, Great singing

See it if A musical with two theatre legends is not to be missed. the story moves at a fast pace with many personal struggles that made them great.

Don't see it if Feel that it's a womens' show about the beauty industry and it holds no interest.

Disappointing, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if The 2 brilliant woman- Christine and Patty can sing forever. Their voices are limitless. To see the clothes and jewelry are heart stopping.

Don't see it if The story is slow, Predictable.

Great acting, Slow, Entertaining, Fluffy

See it if you are fans of the 2 fabulous powerful DIVAS who lead the cast... Their acting was quite superb...

Don't see it if you are not a fan of characters who tout a thick accent, as Patti is often hard to understand...

Pointless, Indulgent, Excruciating, Cliched, Insipid

See it if you'd be into a show that really should've been called "Paint Drying." What a waste of Broadway legends. So bad I'm actually angry about it.

Don't see it if 2 1/2 hours devoted to face cream doesn't sound like a good time. It's not. See this, & bitterly regret the nap you could've taken instead.

Great acting, Indulgent, Great singing

See it if Great opportunity to see Patti and Christine perform and sing. Beautiful costume design.

Don't see it if The music and book were largely forgettable and incoherent.

Ambitious, Disappointing, Slow, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you want to see legends LuPone and Ebersole, you like biographic musicals, you are interested in the cosmetic industry of Arden & Rubinstein

Don't see it if you want an involved story-line, you are looking for interesting music, you don't like bio musicals

Also Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole are the reasons to see this musica... Read more Read less

Resonant, Slow, Entertaining, Great singing, Divas!!!

See it if You want to hear and learn about a great story or two beauty titans put to some good music not great. Lupone and Ebersole are fabulous!

Don't see it if You hate shows that take long to develop stories. Some boring songs that should be cut from the show. The show feels dragged out in act 1

Absorbing, Resonant, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you want to see 2 great ladies of the musical stage, especially Lupone, show their chops. They're terrific.

Don't see it if musicals are not your thing.

Absorbing, Delightful, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You are a fan of the leads or interested in the history behind the development of the cosmetic industry told with great sets & costumes.

Don't see it if You won't appreciate the fine staging or talented stars. You might want to skip this one if only musicals with catchy lyrics are of interest

Great acting, Banal, Disappointing, Great singing, Tepid

See it if you want to see Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole diva it out on stage in beautiful costumes and a beautiful set.

Don't see it if you require catchy songs or book that takes this interesting story and turns it into a banal,back & forth of she did this, then she did that

Also There's a fascinating story in here but the musical starts from a midp... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Slow, Fluffy

See it if you want to see Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole gnaw on some scenery and sing their asses off.

Don't see it if you are looking for a particularly compelling piece of theatre or memorable music. Worth the price for the leading ladies, but only just

Disappointing, Overrated, Great singing, Great design, Bad writing/music

See it if you feel like you have to see Patti or Christine live

Don't see it if you actually want to be entertained....

Great singing, Great set, Great ensemble

See it if you want to see two legends who do not disappoint. Ensemble is fun as well.

Don't see it if you need a show with more of a bite. While Ms. LuPone and Ms. Ebersole deliver powerful performances, the show itself lacks some heft.

Also Hearing both Ms. Ebersole and Ms. LuPone live is something everyone sh... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if Entertaining musical about great feud. Christine is very good but Patti is eating the scenery! She is simply amazing. Men are wonderful too.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy women stories. Probably this show is more for woman and gay men

Also Great sets and costumes as well! great production !

Great acting, Banal, Disappointing, Slow, Entertaining

See it if you want to see Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole and discover an interesting story.

Don't see it if you are looking for good music, good script, or anything other than Patti LuPone or Christine Ebersole.

Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing, Great costuming

See it if Two legends acting and singing delight your senses. Perfect period costuming.

Don't see it if You need a meaningful detailed story line.

Thought-provoking, Great singing, Good storytelling, Witty lyrics

See it if you enjoy learning about women with chutzpah, and delightful and meaningful lyrics.

Don't see it if you want to escape for a bit of razzle dazzle.

Great singing, Surprisingly interesting

See it if you want to hear Ms. LuPone is fine voice. She would win the Tony if she wasn't up against deserving Bette Midler.

Don't see it if do not like musicals that tell a story.

Also The setting and costumes were beautiful. The book is excellent, and th... Read more Read less