War Paint Is Dry, Even With Two Major Ladies In Lead Roles
When it was announced that Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole were going to be headlining a musical together, it’s safe to say that I was a bit excited. They’re both legends in their own rights that I have witnessed in person various times, most memorable being LuPone’s final performance in Gypsy and Ebersole’s double-role in Grey Gardens.
When I finally got the chance to check out War Paint last week, I am saddened to report that not even the two massive stars could save this lackluster show that, inarguably, is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen on a stage.
War Paint tells the stories of Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubenstein, two matriarchs of the beauty industry who became moguls (and rivals) in a time period where it was uncommon for women to do so.
Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot more to the story than that, and this is one of the first bones of contention I have with the show. While biographical pieces can be interesting and groundbreaking theater- think Hamilton– War Paint does nothing to keep the viewer interested. Take the first act, for example, that is filled with snooze-worthy musical numbers, and a story that’s only interesting point is Arden and Rubenstein switching partners for their business. At the end of the first act, the story literally leaves you caring less if you see more- and that truly is a sad thing, especially with two such phenomenally talented leading ladies.
LuPone has publicly stated that War Paint will be her last Broadway musical, and I truly hope not. She has had a legendary career, and I would hate to see her ending it in such a drab show where her talent is not being fully used.
If you’re looking for a boring evening, may I suggest watching paint dry. It would likely be more interesting than War Paint.