|My PLAYBILL got a little wrinkled in my totebag. No pun intended.|
We had nosebleed seats, the very top row in the pretty powder box of a theater. They were just $59 each with a discount code [plus all those handling fees], but we could still see and hear everything just fine. Sis also used dainty binoculars.
The show was delicious, every detail, every feathered hat, every structured suit, every sparkling brooch. Every joke and every song, each and every reference to day cream, night cream, rouge, nail polish, perfume, lipstick, secret recipes invented on a stovetop. The story*, set in NYC from 1935 to 1964, spins on the long rivalry between beauty czars Elizabeth Arden [Christine Ebersole] and Helena Rubinstein [Patti LuPone]. And it shows their savvy business radar, their faith in every woman’s beauty and their odd, unregulated ingredient choices early on [mercury and lamb fat].
Miss Arden and Madame Rubinstein led us, brick by beautiful pink brick, on a road we never looked back on. And they worked so hard, they sacrificed a lot—Arden refers to embracing many pink makeup shades but missing out on baby pink as a mother and in a nursery. The two actresses and the songs they belt out are amazing and powerful. The performance is funny and touching. Too bad it’s closing in early November. Sis and I loved it.
It was moving to see two women who whipped up miracle creams to keep us looking dewy get older themselves—with a cane, a will, stooped posture, aging skin and hair—and a company takeover, because the board wants a younger figurehead. Magic creams can’t fight everything.
Good night. Better try and steal some beauty sleep.
*Brilliant storytelling. Per Wikipedia: War Paint is a musical with book by Doug Wright, music by Scott Frankel, and lyrics by Michael Korie, based both on Lindy Woodhead's 2004 book War Paint and on the 2007 documentary film "The Powder & the Glory," by Ann Carol Grossman and Arnie Reisman.