I had the privilege of attending a performance of the new musical “War Paint” in the historical Goodman Theater. This musical, which Broadway actresses Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole star in, was masterfully created. Based off of the book “War Paint” the show follows two iconic female makeup pioneers in the 20th century. The two women Helena Rubinstein (Patti LuPone) and Elizabeth Arden (Christine Ebersole) go head to head throughout the show, one woman trying the out do the other in the female cosmetics industry. They go almost their whole lives knowing each other only as names to compete against. They each struggle to build their cosmetic empires. Over time they deal with betraying employees, war, and finances. But the audience wonders, will these two women ever meet each other? The audience was eager to see these two amazing performers share the stage. Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole’s powerful voices drew emotion out of the audience at times.
The detail was magnificent. The historically accurate set pieces and props made the scenes more realistic and dazzled the audience. The performance’s stunning costumes transported us to the mid 20th century as we were taken on this incredible journey. Helena Rubinstein appears in a luxurious floor length blue gown. This European makeup legend dresses very extravagantly, the color that her spotlights, props, and outfits are in is blue. Elizabeth Arden wears her classic pink throughout the show. Arden’s iconic company is designed in all pink. With these details covered the show comes to life. This whimsical musical carries the audience through the 20th century as we are taken through fifty years of history.
This show was very empowering to me as woman. It felt amazing to see these two women from different walks of life build their own business empires. They are each discriminated at different points in their lives for their religion, gender, and financial past. But this musical shows us that we as women can overcome anything, be the best, and not apologize for it. It’s okay for a women to be strong and not need to lean on a man to do so. This performance is all about breaking down barriers for women and overcoming great difficulty to become the best. This show is historical, empowering to women, and hilarious to watch. “War Paint” is now on it’s way to the bright lights of Broadway for it’s New York debut.