Closed 2h 35m
War Paint
Midtown W
76

War Paint NYC Reviews and Tickets

76%
(1327 Reviews)
Positive
77%
Mixed
20%
Negative
3%
Members say
Great singing, Entertaining, Great acting, Disappointing, Slow

About the Show

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.

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Member Reviews (1327)

100
Absorbing, Delightful, Exquisite, Funny, Great acting

See it if You want to see two legends on stage

Don't see it if You don't like musicals

59
Great singing, Great staging, Disappointing, Undramatic, Lipstick-on-a-pig

See it if you want to see Patti & Christine, still at the top of their game.

Don't see it if you expect any dramatic arc, compelling narrative or campy fun. There's no story, so there was no reason for this musical to be written. Read more

Critic Reviews (72)

April 6th, 2017

“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.”
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April 6th, 2017

"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."
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April 6th, 2017

"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?"
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April 6th, 2017

"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."
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April 6th, 2017

"Ebersole and LuPone are nothing short of flawless...Add a heaping pile of beauty, glamour and lush costumes to the mix, and you have yourself 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, due in part to the quippy one-liners that could easily be on the packaging of a compact...'War Paint' isn’t perfect, but it’s a thing of beauty for sure."
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April 6th, 2017

"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."
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April 6th, 2017

"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."
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April 7th, 2017

"You will be charged, thrilled and fascinated by two divas dishing it out with every trick in their careers of sharp, dagger-edged perfection as they command and hold the stage...There are songs galore but few of them will live in your heart after the final curtain. Blander than I expected and oddly lacking in rhapsodic melodies...The tunes in 'War Paint' do inspire you to go away humming. This does not, I must add, detract from the mega-watt voltage from the two divas onstage."
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April 6th, 2017

"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."
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April 6th, 2017

"Two Broadway stars more thrillingly suited to embodying this historic rivalry would be hard to come up with...It’s an edifying musical rather than an exciting one, certainly worth any theatergoer’s time...Greif has overseen with great sophistication the staging and styling...The musical’s worthiest achievements: making room on a stage, to a degree virtually never seen, for star turns by two sublime female veterans of the musical theater."
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April 6th, 2017

"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."
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April 6th, 2017

"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."
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April 6th, 2017

"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."
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April 8th, 2017

“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.”
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April 6th, 2017

"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."
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April 7th, 2017

“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.”
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April 17th, 2017

"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."
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April 6th, 2017

"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."
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April 7th, 2017

"Ironically, for a musical about two great titans of the cosmetics industry, Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden, 'War Paint' is rarely more than skin deep. Doug Wright’s book delivers surprisingly superficial portraits of these two fierce rivals...The show ultimately isn’t all that enlightening...'War Paint' is redeemed by its packaging, specifically the powerhouse team of Tony Award winners Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole. Audiences will be mesmerized by these great stars."
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April 6th, 2017

"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."
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April 27th, 2017

"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."
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April 15th, 2017

"Extraordinary performers with extraordinary presence and voices...LuPone fulfills every aspect of the bitter and driven Rubinstein...She also has an overflowing share of laugh lines...What’s compelling is the character-driven plot giving insight into the lives of two unusual women who created empires at a time when it was unfashionable and unacceptable – the chosen twosome are unparalleled in talent and star power. They are more than electrified under Michael Greif’s direction."
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April 15th, 2017

"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."
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April 14th, 2017

“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.”
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April 28th, 2017

"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."
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April 12th, 2017

"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."
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June 7th, 2017

"If you're looking for an absorbing musical, with an actual plot and interesting characters interacting in interesting ways, you've come to the wrong place...It mostly is dull as dirt...I think I'd rather go to a concert performance in which LuPone and Ebersole take turns performing numbers from throughout their careers."
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April 6th, 2017

"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."
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April 13th, 2017

"The music by Scott Frankel and lyrics by Michael Korie work best when sung by the stars, and director Michael Greif has worked hard to keep up a pace in a show that seems over-extended...However, there is no getting away from the fact that watching LuPone and Ebersole is the main reason for seeing 'War Paint,' and the stars who reign do not disappoint, even in a show with a strained book and less than glorious music."
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May 12th, 2017

“Much is accurate and rather interesting…While Doug Wright’s book is grounded, clever, and illuminating, music by Scott Frankel is bland and repetitive, lyrics by Michael Korie range from congested to cliché…Christine Ebersole’s Elizabeth Arden is palpably formidable. The actress doles out glimpses of vulnerability that make them all the more effective…Ebersole is in superb voice…Patti Lupone’s vibrancy is equally forbidding, but her brush stroke is so wide, we see a cartoon.”
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April 20th, 2017

“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.”
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April 6th, 2017

"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."
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April 16th, 2017

"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."
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April 6th, 2017

"A respectful affair, maybe a little too much so...After a shaky opening, 'War Paint' heats up in the second act...For all the luxe backdrops of makeup bottles and potions, the jewels and truly amazing hats, there is an austere, slightly stilted feeling to the movement...This restraint is mirrored in the script and lyrics...Both women sing beautifully, but the songs, with their repeated tropes of ambition and triumph over setbacks, remain unmemorable until the impressive final section."
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April 7th, 2017

"Rest assured, though, that 'War Paint’s' pretty packaging delivers on its core promise: knockout turns by Lupone and Ebersole...Though Arden and Rubenstein are fascinating figures, and their achievements ripe for exploration, the musical often gets bogged down in historical incidents that seem trivial. This is perhaps why the rich but less-than-resonant score by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie often feels like it’s trying to conjure up drama rather than express it."
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April 6th, 2017

"A smart portrayal of the obstacles faced by a pair of America's earliest female entrepreneurs...Benefits foremost from the remarkable symmetry between its leads...The score is tuneful and catchy, winding up to a pair of bittersweet releases for the stars...Good God, the women’s voices are in astounding condition...Their meeting is something of a misty-eyed anticlimax...'War Paint,' mostly, is bliss and makeup."
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May 26th, 2017

"Directed by Michael Greif, the staging of side-by-side scenes prevents a seamless flow...The audience watches, admires, but never emotionally connects with either woman...You could not ask for more glorious renditions, although the songs, while meaningful, are really not memorable...Visually, 'War Paint' looks like a million bucks, but, while the story is uneven, the show presents what you are really coming to see: Ebersole and LuPone shining as they do with five-star brilliance. "
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May 9th, 2017

"This knockout Broadway musical pits not only fashion doyenne Helena Rubinstein against Elizabeth Arden but divas Patti LuPone against Christine Ebersole. And everyone wins, especially the audience...The book does an excellent job of condensing the story...The music and lyrics are fanciful and exhilarating, propelling the story while allowing the stars to shine, and shine they do; LuPone, Ebersole, Dossett, and Sills are the fiercest foursome on Broadway today."
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April 22nd, 2017

“It begins to feel like you’re watching an interlocking double feature of strangely alike by-the-number biopics…The score also gives LuPone plenty of opportunities to show off her distinctive entwining of the Broadway belt, while Ebersole’s numbers are embroidered with filigrees of lovely high notes…You’ll hardly feel that you’ve wasted your money on some totally useless product. It’s well-packaged with some formidable ingredients."
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April 19th, 2017

"Characters are used here mostly to help flesh out a story that is thin at best and trivial at worst...Though neither star has ever let me down, and they certainly don’t in this current opus, it’s more like seeing them in a back and forth tennis match using barbs instead of balls, with little attention paid to story or substance, melody or genuine mirth...There is no disguising that there was no way to make this musical into more than a star vehicle with wobbly wheels."
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April 17th, 2017

“Something the queers should flock to…The show is lavish and well designed…The two leads deliver, Ebersole emanating control and singing beautifully, knocking out her terrific 11 o’clock self-doubt number, ‘Pink.’ As Rubinstein, LuPone employs a thick accent, making her first song hard to decipher. She is also directed to overly lean on some of the joke lines she’s been given. But she’s in top vocal form, and when the two ladies are warring it up, this is gay heaven.”
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April 6th, 2017

"Earnest and relatively subdued, less scratch-your-eyes-out catfight than uplifting feminist celebration. Whether this works for you or not is likely a matter of expectations... As might be expected, LuPone gives the funnier, flashier performance. Ebersole grounds the show with her tenderness and quiet dignity...The music is always listenable, if not quite as often memorable...One of the best looking shows of the year. On that latter score, at least, Rubenstein and Arden could only be proud."
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April 9th, 2017

"These were strong, sometimes tyrannical women who created the beauty industry...Clearly, they lead interesting lives. But you'd never know it, despite commanding performances from two lions of musical theater...We learn a lot of facts about their histories and businesses, but not a lot about what motivates them...Still, there's a lot that's scrumptious. But 'War Paint' could have done with a little less panache — and a lot more plot."
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May 9th, 2017

“It was a thrill to enjoy this gem of an original musical. I am not saying it’s perfect, but for an audience that can remember the wonderful musicals of the 1950s and 1960s, this is as close as you can get to such wonderful heights. With a witty book by Doug Wright, an excellent melodic score by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie, and deft direction by Michael Greif, they have created a highly entertaining musical.”
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June 9th, 2017

“‘War Paint’ finally hits its stride for the last 30 minutes. The divas get below skin deep and Frankel serves up his best music…‘War Paint’ is not quite the tour de force that might have resulted from a deliriously fantastical treatment of its fictional premise. For this semi reality-based, literal production to work, real divas playing divas are the vital, magic ingredient. Lucky for ‘War Paint’ it has LuPone and Ebersole."
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April 6th, 2017

"The production becomes a spellbinding study in the competition of wills...Michael Greif’s production is a multi-layered, extraordinarily textured story...Written by a team of three gay men, the show is sometimes camp in tone – there are lots of stinging one-liners – but it is affecting and resonant about the pursuit of looks and love. Scott Frankel and Michael Korie's score has a series of soaring numbers of near operatic power for the women."
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April 7th, 2017

“It’s full of high energy and big performances—and yet it manages to feel nearly as empty as used-up tub of face cream. That’s because the plodding, schematic script applies its lessons with the subtlety of a trowel…These two grand ladies of the stage, neither a particularly subtle performer, knock out Frankel and Korie’s songs. The best scene of the night is the finale...It’s a fun, sweet scene...They sing a lovely elegy to their slipping-away era."
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April 11th, 2017

"'War Paint' may not be this year's best musical, but it's a highly entertaining, inventive, and informative show...The substance seems solidly, sagaciously traditional. Lyricist Korie and composer Frankel rarely transcend the conventional show-music idiom, but they work fluently and intelligently within it, while Wright's pungent, pointed book skillfully encapsulates its many topics without ever running aground. Greif's direction pulls everything together with expectable smoothness."
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April 17th, 2017

"Frankel's score sounds as though it were written just for them offering many showcase numbers (perhaps a few too many in the two-hour, 35-minute production) with soaring belts for the actresses to show off what they can do. Ebersole, particularly, shines...Adding to the quality of the production, getting a fine treatment from director Michael Greif, are creamy supporting performances."
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April 10th, 2017

"Korie’s lyrics are witty and deft — at least for Ebersole, Sills and Dossett. They may well be for LuPone, too, but one can’t say for sure because she is unintelligible when she sings...Greif’s utterly lackadaisical pace is tantamount to watching war paint dry...The show isn’t toothless, and yet it’s not as ruthless as many would have anticipated...Too bad that the show doesn’t sparkle nearly as much and it could have."
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April 17th, 2017

"Some of Broadway’s most solid craftsmen worked on 'War Paint,' and it shows. Most of the team previously worked on 'Grey Gardens,' and while this isn’t up to the caliber of that show, it’s still pretty darn good...The songs for Ebersole and LuPone go beyond intelligently painting the personalities of the two main characters – they are as exquisitely tailored for their talents...It’s very well-crafted, but not perfect...'War Paint' is smart and marvelously stylish entertainment."
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April 7th, 2017

"A confident, unapologetically old-style musical, whose main accomplishment rests not in merely giving two fabulous Broadway divas a chance to belt their faces off, but also in making real people out of these two icons, and in giving heartfelt expression to their struggles...LuPone has never been funnier, but the performance never feels like it’s too much. Ebersole has never sounded sweeter...Wright’s dialogue is priceless."
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April 10th, 2017

"While the book unearths their lives, what stands out here is the extraordinary singing. LuPone, balancing classical gusto with characteristic bravura, and Ebersole, sweetly and openly alive in show stopping musical numbers, are legendary. And while the men in their lives were their lesser halves, John Dossett and Doug Sills are in fine form here, as well...Fortunately, director Michael Greif recognizes what we’ve come to see, and delivers it joyfully."
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April 18th, 2017

“The sad truth is that the new show is boring…The musical goes on too long and, it’s easy to lose interest unless the two stars are onstage…Ebersole gives a solid performance and has a beautiful voice but Lupone’s character is the more caustic of the two, so she gets to deliver the best comic zingers…There are several unnecessary scenes that prolong the musical…If you are an Ebersole or Lupone fan, you will love listening and watching the incredible ladies onstage.”
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April 7th, 2017

“A stylish but sadly boring musical documentary. Even the power and polish of the two leads could not keep me from longing for this thing to end…A sort of history of the evolution of cosmetics couched in production numbers that neither excite nor provide any insightful observations...The music is largely bland and unmemorable...So, if your admiration for LuPone and Ebersole is enough to sustain you for two-and-half hours, this is your show."
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April 17th, 2017

"I love to see and hear Patti Lupone and the always on top of her game Christine Ebersole, but was it necessary to have them in a Broadway musical with little plot and performing songs you will never care about...The rest of the cast have to be exhausted...A superb group! To be honest, I might rather have seen Patti and Christine in a two woman concert where we could enjoy hearing some songs we would recognize, but at least they are both here to provide us with a great night out."
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April 16th, 2017

"If you’re eager to see two dueling divas conquer the cosmetics industry, run to the box office...Artfully staged by Greif with Zuber’s chic period costumes, Korins’ artful set, and Posner’s flattering lighting. But the character-driven concept is only skin deep, something one realizes only at the conclusion when both ferociously competitive makeup mavens thoughtfully question: 'Did we make women freer? Or did we enslave them?' One only wishes they’d pursued this pertinent dilemma a bit further."
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April 23rd, 2017

"The show depends on the two leading ladies and they both deliver...If you don’t walk out of the theater humming the tunes, it may partly be due to the lack of reprises...Michael Greif’s direction minimizes the confusions as we go back and forth between the stories of the two women...'War Paint' may not be a great musical but it gives us the opportunity to see two great stage performers show off their talents, with two strong supporting men in the cast."
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April 12th, 2017

“A glossy, if rather slender, new musical, ‘War Paint’ is a chance to luxuriate in the performances of a pair of Broadway’s greatest divas...LuPone and Ebersole prove utterly deserving of such a splendid showcase for their talents, each performing in peak condition…Wright’s book makes the most of opportunities for bitchy one-liners but provides little tension…Frankel’s music is beautiful, and yet, on first listen, the music all sounds quite similar."
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April 12th, 2017

"It’s a great production. But think of it as guys’ take on women...In this story of two exceptional women, everything seems to revolve around men...Ebersole and Lupone are both fine performers and singers. Scott Frankel’s music by is pleasing if not memorable. The story certainly kept my attention. And director Michael Greif can put on a show. But, somehow, with the mix of what is true and maybe invented, I never got a sense I really knew Rubenstein and Arden."
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July 19th, 2016

"The script telescopes, rearranges and modifies history in the service of blunt thematic tidiness. As a study in contrasts, 'War Paint' quickly turns monochrome. Fortunately, Mr. Frankel and Mr. Korie’s score plays knowingly to its stars’ respective strengths, with swirling, lyrical melodies for Arden and jagged, Kurt Weillian ones for Rubinstein…It is all the more surprising that on the occasions they sing together, their voices flow into a single powerful, poignant stream."
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July 19th, 2016

"First and foremost, it’s a double display of delicious diva-dom, with Patti LuPone as Rubinstein and Christine Ebersole as Arden expertly commanding the stage…The show is also a demonstration of offbeat theatrical craftiness…Wright’s book is a model of efficiency… And while the show follows the business of beauty, it may have an over-focus on the business end, leaving the elusive and myriad interpretations of beauty as an opportunity still to be plumbed….A richly rewarding show."
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July 19th, 2016

“Under Michael Greif’s assured direction, ‘War Paint’ is a welcome reminder of old-school Broadway craftsmanship and of the offbeat subjects that musical minds can illuminate with surprising elegance…The musical has some issues still to deal with…Still, ‘War Paint’ conveys with tremendous authority what it must have been like for both women to have assumed the traditionally masculine role of running a major company.”
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July 18th, 2016

"A intriguingly juicy and glamorous, if overly binary and yet underwritten, new musical…For the Goodman audience the pleasures of seeing and hearing Ebersole and LuPonewere understandably considerable. Frankel's score and Korie's dry, unstinting lyrics represent an extensive, lush and ambitious composition...It's a weighty and complex suite of writing that mostly needs more interwoven scenes, not least to provide some prose to allow its musical highlights to pop."
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July 22nd, 2016

"LuPone and Ebersole are wonderfully suited to play the two titans…LuPone is as powerful as she has ever been…By the end of Act 1 the rhythms grow predictable...When the pace slows down enough for the characters to speak to one another, their dialogue is moving and engaging. Frankel and Korie's songs are exquisite, and perfectly performed...While 'War Paint' needs some contouring, all the elements of an excellent musical are onstage. It should absolutely not be missed."
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July 18th, 2016

"This is a musical whose beauty is far more than skin deep, with its many layers accruing gradually but confidently …’War Paint’ features a finely crafted book by Doug Wright; a moving, richly varied score by composer Scott Frankel and lyricist Michael Korie, and fluid direction by Michael Greif...LuPone’s accent gives Meryl Streep a run for her money, and her power pipes have never sounded more glorious...The large pit orchestra does full justice to the show’s formidable score."
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July 18th, 2016

"While Ebersole and LuPone share a stage, they almost never share a scene—one of the structural problems the show needs to get to work on…Even when they’re singing together, they’re acting separately...This works well enough in the first act…The choppier second act, though, needs some serious surgery…In truth the two never met, but it feels almost criminal to put these two talents on the same stage and keep them away from each other at every turn."
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July 21st, 2016

"Helena Rubinstein is played to perfection by Patti Lupone...Elizabeth Arden is gloriously brought to life by Christine Ebersole…There are no memorable songs. Yes, Ms Ebersole and Ms Lupone do sing solos and duets, and while they are strong in voice with ranges that are amazing, the songs themselves are not meaningful and almost all of them pretty much sound alike...This is a strong story that gives us a long look into an industry that most of us were not aware of."
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July 21st, 2016

"Incandescently portraying the warring women are LuPone and Ebersole…The show works equally well as an unspooling period piece…Two 11 o’clock numbers suit the headliners’ individualized magic…Unfortunately at times ‘War Paint’ goes no deeper than the title…Happily, the vast vulnerability and awesome actuality that these beautiful belters evoke rescues the musical from its static situations…Our dynamic duo make their vehicle a blast from the past and a thing of beauty.”
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July 22nd, 2016

"As sleek, stylish and skillful as the two entrepreneurs whose careers inspired this biographical musical, Michael Greif has guided this production to magnificence, with energy, humor and considerable polish...This production entertains, educates and enlightens… Ms. Lupone is a force of nature…The underlying motivation behind both women is to succeed beyond her rival, and that constant battle does become a bit redundant…The production’s ensemble is incomparable."
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July 29th, 2016

"A very good show. Frankel's sophisticated score has a marvelous sense of swing and old-fashioned Broadway panache. Korie's lyrics are witty and eloquent, and Wright's droll, refined book includes some delicious malapropisms….Unfortunately, the format keeps the main characters apart for much of the show…The show needs some trimming…Greif's cast is first-rate…’War Paint’ belongs to Ebersole and LuPone, brilliant actresses whose magnificent voices shake the rafters."
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July 27th, 2016

“What a power duo we have…Alone would be worth the ticket price ― but together? It’s surprising the Goodman’s stage is still intact…The music strikes an impressive blend of jazzy period and haunting moments of reflection…I firmly feel this is one of the most solid stage scores in some time…I ultimately found the show highly entertaining, and the key elements of a knock-out hit are there ― particularly in the stars, the score and some great zingers by book writer Doug Wright."
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