War Paint


War Paint Now Playing on Broadway – Two Legends Spot

Patti Lupone and Christine Ebersole


Two-time Tony Award winners Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole star in the Broadway Premiere musical about two business titans—and their infamous rivalry.

Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden defined beauty standards for the first half of the 20thCentury. Brilliant innovators with humble roots, both 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 rivalry was relentless and legendary—pushing both women to build international empires in a world dominated by men.

War Paint

Previews Mar 07, 2017

Opening Night Apr 06, 2017

Nederlander Theatre NYC

TheatreGold for Broadway Tickets



Patti LuPone – Helena Rubinsten
Christine Ebersole – Elizabeth Arden
John Dossett – Tommy Lewis
Douglas Sills – Harry Fleming

Full Cast Details Below


Patti LuPone Evita, who “generates more raw excitement than any other performer on Broadway” (The New York Times), and Christine Ebersole (Grey Gardens, 42nd Street), a “first-class, revitalizing master of period style” (The New York Times), go head-to-head in this World Premiere musical about two legendary women who forever changed the business of beauty.

War Paint explores the infamous rivalry between Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden during the height of their careers in the early and mid-20th century. But how did these women, once known as Chaja and Florence, respectively, come to positions of such power? This article is a brief history of their lives before they became the influential women depicted on stage.



Doug Wright – Book
Scott Frankel – Composer
Michael Korie – Lyrics
Michael Greif – Director
Christopher Gattelli – Choreographer
David Korins – Set Design
Catherine Zuber – Costume Design
Kenneth Posner – Lighting Design
Brian Ronan – Sound Design
Bruce Coughlin – Orchestrations
Lawerence Yurman – Music Direction
Tripp Phillips – Production Stage Manager
Alden Vasquez – Production Stage Manager
Kathleen Petroziello – Stage Manager

Madame Helena Rubinstein

Born in the Kazimierz district of Krakow, Poland, at the end of 1872, Chaja Rubinstein grew up the eldest of eight daughters, all known by locals for their beautiful skin. Her several memoirs, which she wrote later in life, “creatively elaborated” on the facts of her upbringing, but research shows that her parents were poor or nearly so. Her father, a kerosene dealer, had Chaja help manage the books for his store.
In her mid-teens, the story goes, Chaja fell in love with a fellow student and tried to elope with him, defying an arranged marriage planned by her father and creating a rift between her and her conservative parents. She was banished from the house and sent to live with relatives.

A decade later, Chaja travelled to Australia to live with other family members and listed the name “Helena Juliet Rubinstein” on her visa. Coleraine, Australia, was an unforgiving climate for skin, and Helena drew attention from the local ladies with the nourishing homemade skin creams she brought with her from Poland. Realizing that she had a nearly limitless source of lanolin (a product used in many creams) from the merino sheep nearby, the always-enterprising Chaja started making and selling her own brand of skin creams when she opened her first Melbourne beauty salon in 1903.
She called the product Crème Valaze, a made-up but French-sounding name. The idea worked as the preparations practically flew off the shelves. She quickly opened branches in Sydney and New Zealand. Following a research trip to Europe, in which she studied treatments at spas and resorts throughout the continent, Helena recruited one of her sisters and a cousin to join her in Australia.
Helena always had a flair for fantasy and revision, and her new companions acted (as advertised) as her “two Viennese assistants,” trained in massage therapy.
In 1908, Helena’s first European branch opened, the Salon de Beauté Valaze on Grafton Street in London, followed the next year by the Maison de Beauté Valaze in Paris.
In Europe, Helena fell in with a chic, artistic crowd and met poets, musicians, painters and more. Already fond of searching and shopping, she began collecting art in earnest, a passion that would continue throughout her life, eventually making her one of the most respected art collectors in the world.
Helena met her first husband, journalist Edward Titus, in 1906. He took over the advertising arm of her business and they had two children in the following years. In 1914, she left her children in the care of Titus and, at the age of 42, set out to conquer America.

Miss Elizabeth Arden

Florence Nightingale Graham, named after the famed British nurse in the Crimean War, was born in 1881 (this date is disputed, but elsewhere that year’s census confirms it) in a small town just north of Toronto, Ontario. Blue-eyed and with an outstanding complexion, she briefly followed in her namesake’s footsteps by going to nursing school, before dropping out after a short time.

In 1907, she moved to New York, where her brother Willie lived, and pored over the society pages of the newspapers, fascinated by the lives of the upper echelons. Still unmarried, she started calling herself “Mrs. Graham” and found a job as a cashier at a beauty salon owned by Eleanor Adair. At the salon, she convinced Adair to teach her how to apply skin treatments, manicures and massage.


She eventually left the job and in 1909 paired with Elizabeth Hubbard, who was looking for a partner with whom she might open her own salon. The salon was quite successful, but the pair parted ways after six months, with Florence retaining the lease on the business with the gold signage reading “Mrs. Elizabeth Hubbard.” She assumed for herself the first name of her erstwhile business partner, and invented a surname—Arden—perhaps inspired by an Alfred Lord Tennyson poem, perhaps by the name of a nearby estate owned by multimillionaire E. H. Harriman.

Regardless of the source of the name, it stuck. A year before with Mrs. Hubbard, Arden named the salon’s beauty line “Grecian.” Now in charge of her own products, she named the line “Venetian” (like Rubinstein, she knew about the allure of exotic European names) and packaged the creams in exquisite bottles and jars with white, gold and pink ribbons (with pink soon becoming her signature colour that would remain associated with her brand the rest of her life). Early in her career, Elizabeth was able to afford her lavish-looking products by making them and packaging them herself and writing her own advertising copy; she even cleaned the salon herself into the late hours.

Though a staunch Republican later in life, a youthful Elizabeth joined the suffrage movement, meeting many high-society doyennes in the process. This societal status would be something she would crave again and again. In 1912 she participated in a march with hundreds of women of all ages wearing bright red lipstick—a bold statement for the day, and an idea which would inspire Arden more in the future.

In 1914, on a ship traveling across the Atlantic Ocean, Elizabeth met Tommy Lewis, who would eventually become her husband and a great director of marketing and advertising. He would soon propose marriage, though Elizabeth did not accept the proposal until nearly a year later—as it happens, a few months after Helena Rubinstein opened her first New York salon.

Full Cast

Patti LuPone – Helena Rubinstein
Christine Ebersole – Elizabeth Arden
John Dossett – Tommy Lewis
Douglas Sills – Harry Fleming
Mary Ernster – Broadway debut – Society Doyenne, Mrs. Trowbridge-Phelps & others
David Girolmo – Senator Royal Copeland, William S. Paley, Mr. Levin & others
Joanna Glushak – Countess, Magda & others
Chris Hoch – Mr. Simms, Hal March, Mr. Baruch & others
Mary Claire King – Broadway debut – Miss Beam, Tulip, Arden Girl & others
Steffanie Leigh – Dorian Leigh, Arden Girl & others
Erik Liberman – Charles Revson, Sailor & others
Barbara Marineau – Grand Dame, Beauty Technician & others
Stephanie Jae Park – Arden Girl, Beauty Technician & others
Angel Reda – Heiress, Miss Smythe, Arden Girl & others
Jennifer Rias –  Miss Teale, Arden Girl & others
Standby: Patti Cohenour (Elizabeth Arden)

Understudies: Barbara Jo Bednarczuk (Dorian Leigh, Women’s ensemble roles), Mary Ernster (Elizabeth Arden), Tom Galantich (Tommy Lewis), David Girolmo (Tommy Lewis), Joanna Glushak (Helena Rubinstein), Chris Hoch (Charles Revson, Harry Fleming), Mary Claire King (Dorian Leigh), Donna Migliaccio (Helena Rubinstein, Women’s ensemble roles), Jennifer Rias (Tulip) and Tally Sessions (Charles Revson, Harry Fleming)


War Paint at Theatregold DataBase

Patti Lupone at Theatregold DataBase

Christine Ebersole at Theatregold DataBase

Grey Gardens at Theatregold DataBase

Evita at Theatregold DataBase