“War Paint,” the new musical about dueling titans of the cosmetic industry, has staked out a spot in the 2016-17 Broadway season, snagging the Nederlander Theater for an April opening.
The production, which tried out in Chicago over the summer, lands in New York with a formidable pedigree. It’s the latest project from “Wicked” producers David Stone and Marc Platt, and its Tony-winning stars, Patti LuPone (“Gypsy,” “Evita”) and Christine Ebersole (“Grey Gardens”), are two of the biggest musical-theater names out there.
The show’s creative team reunites composer Scott Frankel, lyricist Michael Korie and book writer Doug Wright after their 2006 musical, “Grey Gardens,” was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, scoring an acting trophy for Ebersole among its three wins. Michael Greif (“Rent”), who directed “Grey Gardens,” stages “War Paint.”
LuPone plays Helena Rubinstein opposite Ebersole as Elizabeth Arden in the show, based on Lindy Woodhead’s book “War Paint” as well as Ann Carol Grossman and Arnie Reisman’s documentary “The Powder and the Glory.” The two women built competing cosmetic empires in the first half of the 20th century, developing a fierce rivalry along the way.
Audience response to the musical was strong at Chicago’s Goodman Theater, where it became the highest grossing show in the company’s history. Reviews were largely enthusiastic; Stone said the creative team intends to use some of the critical feedback to hone the production in the run-up to Broadway.
John Dossett and Douglas Sills, who co-starred with LuPone and Ebersole in the Chicago staging, will also travel with the project to New York. (Full Broadway casting is not yet set.) Christopher Gatelli (choreography), David Korins (set), Catherine Zuber (costumes), Kenneth Posner (lights) and Brian Ronan (sound) round out the creative team.
“War Paint” joins a 2016-17 season of new musicals on Broadway that also includes “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Groundhog Day,” “Anastasia,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,” among others. The show begins previews at the Nederlander March 7 prior to an April 6 opening.