Opens Apr 06

War Paint

Members say: Great singing, Entertaining, Great acting, Disappointing, Great staging
12 reviews
94 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.
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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.

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Reviews (106)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

The New York Times

for a previous production "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." Full Review


for a previous production "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." Full Review

Chicago Tribune

for a previous production "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." Full Review

The Washington Post

for a previous production “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.” Full Review

Chicago Sun-Times

for a previous production "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." Full Review

Time Out Chicago

for a previous production "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." Full Review

Around The Town Chicago

for a previous production "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." Full Review

Chicago Theatre Review

for a previous production "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." Full Review

Stage and Cinema

for a previous production "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.” Full Review

Daily Herald

for a previous production "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." Full Review


for a previous production "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." Full Review

The Huffington Post

for a previous production “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." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

During previews
Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You like Patti Lupone and/or Christine Ebersole. You want to see two of our best musical theater actresses share a stage.

Don't see it if You're looking for a lot of action or a lot of dancing. You can't keep up with time changing in front of you.

Also To see Patti Lupone and Christine Ebersole in one show was incredible.... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You want to be in the presence of greatness , the 2 ladies are flawless

Don't see it if You want depth and detail in the script , I came out wanting to read the book rather than humming the score .

During previews
Entertaining, Great singing, Fluffy, Forgettable, No catchy tunes

See it if Lupone is excellent & chews the scenery like there's no tomorrow. See this for her (Ebersole is great too). The set is also REALLY amazing.

Don't see it if there aren't any catchy/memorable tunes in this show; I couldn't recall a single note if I tried. An enjoyable (very) old-fashioned musical.

During previews
Funny, Enchanting, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if Big brassy grand old B'Way production with gorgeous diva performances not searching for great meaning but finds degree of depth anyway

Don't see it if You don't love grand old musicals - but it really is fun and entertaining and dives into women's images and how it is used against them

During previews
Funny, Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you want to see two powerhouse divas of the stage, playing two divas of an era gone by. If you enjoyed Grey Gardens, you will enjoy this.

Don't see it if It was a great show. I can't think of a reason not to see it!

During previews
Intelligent, Disappointing, Great singing, Great staging, Sumptuous

See it if you want to see two great ladies of the musical theater in an intelligent but not very involving show with great sets and costumes.

Don't see it if you are expecting something as good at Grey Gardens from the same creative team.

Also There is much to admire, but little to engage the emotions. With all t... Read more Read less

During previews
Funny, Ambitious, Relevant, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you like musicals with social significance & historical perspective as well as great costumes from 1930's to 1960's & two fabulous divas.

Don't see it if you hate traditional musicals or the color pink.

During previews
Patti lupone, Christine ebersole, The 2 reasons to see warpaint, Classic broadway book & score, Great cast/staging/costumes/production values

See it if Patti LuPone or Christine Ebersole thrill you in a delicious vehicle that comments on the tenants of capitalism & that which is America

Don't see it if the 2 stars irk you or you can't abide musical theatre that tries to approach the American success story from a female point of view

During previews
Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if You love Patti-she is magnificent! Well paced fast moving Christine good strong acting. Funny. Excellent costumes. Very entertaining.

Don't see it if You want old fashioned dancing musical. This is a play told in song. Music and lyrics forgettable. Lead men not historically accurate.

During previews
Overrated, Great singing, Indulgent, Disappointing

See it if You want to be in the presence of Patti Lupone and Christine Ebersole. Otherwise, tt's a boring score, weak story and flat production

Don't see it if The two leads are the only reason you are going. Too high of a ticket price for the end product. Pretty sets though.

During previews
Funny, Great acting, Disappointing, Cliched, Overrated

See it if You want to see two great actresses. If you enjoyed musicals like cagney.

Don't see it if You have option of another play or musical. Do not like a musical that is full of ballads that do not go anywhere.

Also The story itself is great. To see the story of two women who ran empir... Read more Read less

During previews
Slow, Great singing, Great story, Two powerhouse stars

See it if you want to see two superb B'way stars in strong roles, you want a compelling story for a musical, and you enjoy evocative set design.

Don't see it if you want something fast-paced. This can be slow, some music and lyrics are indifferent, & show drags when the two stars aren't on stage.

During previews
Ambitious, Banal, Disappointing, Slow, Great singing

See it if you're a fan of Lupone and/or Ebersole, enjoy the work of the Grey Gardens creative team, interested in Arden, Rubinstein and costmetics

Don't see it if you don't like slow moving plots, expect big production numbers, frustrated by cursory glance at lives of 2 cosmetic executives, no tension

During previews
Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if want to see 2 legends playing 2 legends. It has almost everything a great musical needs--great cast, staging, costumes-needs better score

Don't see it if care about having memorable songs. The show is good, but it really needs great songs, not the serviceable ones it has now.

During previews
Great acting, Slow, Dated, Entertaining, Fluffy

See it if If you like old fashioned musical theatre with a stellar cast.

Don't see it if If you want to walk out of the theatre humming the tunes or really remembering much of what you saw at all.

Also This is a very average show. It's not good, it's not bad. Patti, John,... Read more Read less

During previews
Great costumes, Great singing, Well staged, Clever lyrics, Draggy plot

See it if you want to see two pros strut their stuff. Unfortunately, the material isn't as great as PL and CE. Still, an enjoyable, polished evening.

Don't see it if you want a strong plot, character dev't, and memorable music. Some lyrics lost; some clunky light cues. Men are meh (bad second act song).

Also It was delightful to have a show about (older) women. The plot, though... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Must see, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You want to go to Broadway heaven. Ebersole and LuPone do not disappoint and equally hold their own. Old style Broadway formula done well.

Don't see it if Doing enjoy a musical with 2 Broadway Divas bring it and serve it HOT!

During previews
Entertaining, Fun, Great costumes, Great singing, Great staging

See it if Fun, funny dueling divas rivalry btw. Helena Rubenstein & Elizabeth Arden thru decades. Lupone & Ebersole knock it out of the park- LOVED IT

Don't see it if You don't like big, belting musicals. This is LuPone & Ebersole singing their lungs out & having a blast. Amazing costumes & oh those hats!!

Also I'm not ordinarily a fan of Patti LuPone - she tends to grate on my ne... Read more Read less

During previews
Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You appreciate the talents of an excellent cast led by Lupone and Ebersole. Interesting subjects of a musical,as was creators "Grey Gardens"

Don't see it if You aren't interested in the subject matter. Music was too loud at times, making it difficult to hear the lyrics. Dialogue was also

Also unintelligible on occasion

During previews
Intelligent, Masterful, Entertaining, Great singing, Fluffy

See it if Lupone and Ebersole together. Really? You need more reasons? They were in great voice, by the way. Interesting story.

Don't see it if The score was only ok. I wish there had been a bit more story. The show was nearly sung-through, with very little dialogue.

During previews
Funny, Great costumes, Great singing, Great diva showcase

See it if Like these 2 great stars. Love star turns. Like great costumes.

Don't see it if Get bored while the stars are off changing clothes. Expect a lot of face to face time between the two.

Also This is a good musical not a great one. It's all about the 2 stars. Th... Read more Read less

During previews
Funny, Clever, Intelligent, Great singing

See it if you enjoy Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole beltin' 'em out in an interesting take on two of the greatest woman businessmen.

Don't see it if you perceive the subject to be mundane, you dislike well-sang musicals or you like using your cell phone during performances.


During previews
Ambitious, Great singing, Great staging

See it if - You Never saw Patti or Christine before - are fans already and want to see them blow the roof off the theater - enjoy gorgeous costumes

Don't see it if You have no interest in the life of these two Cosmetic queens and hate musical theater divas

During previews
Great singing

See it if you love the people in this show and want to see them singing their faces off while wearing elaborate costumes.

Don't see it if you want a strong story, great lighting (LOTS of issues), lots of character development, great songs....

During previews
Great singing, Fabulous cast, Spectacular costumes

See it if you want to see legendary actresses giving a master class in performance. I was @ the dress rehearsal and Patti & Christine are spectacular.

Don't see it if you want a memorable, catchy score or a plot with substance and twists.

Also This show is 100% geared toward women though I wasn't surprised at all... Read more Read less