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Coming to Goodman: New musical about cosmetics titans starring Patti LuPone, Christine Ebersole


This morning came news that the Goodman Theatre was moving its production of the Leonard Bernstein musical “Wonderful Town” from this spring to the fall. But now comes an announcement that will make any disappointment about that change fade with the speed of a mascara brush over eyelashes.

Christine Ebersole | Supplied photo
Christine Ebersole | Supplied photo

Arriving instead this spring will be “War Paint, a world premiere musical by the creators of “Grey Gardens” that will star Tony Award winners Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole as cosmetics titans Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden.

Inspired by the book of the same name by Lindy Woodhead and a film documentary, “The Powder & the Glory,” by Carol Grossman and Arnie Reisman, the show will feature a score by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie, and a book by Doug Wright.

“War Paint” tells the story of two fiercely entrepreneurial women with humble roots who became archrivals as they shrewdly navigated through the male-dominated business world of the 1930s and revolutioned the beauty business.

Michael Greif will direct. Auditions for the rest of the cast will be held in Chicago and New York, with the site of rehearsals still to be determined. There are three major male roles in the musical: Charles Revson of Revlon fame, Rubinstein’s associate/publicist and Arden’s husband.

According to Robert Falls, artistic director of the Goodman, no outside commercial enhancements — as in Broadway producers — are in place. But this obviously is a hot project, and it would not be surprising if they happened along the way.

Performances will begin June 28. Tickets are now available only to subscribers and groups. Call (312) 443-3800 or visit