War Paint – May 28th – 3PM
Not knowing much about War Paint before seeing the show, I was genuinely intrigued by the the story-line focusing on two strong, independent women, in the 1930’s-1960’s in New York City. The costumes, sets and music were fabulous, and LuPone’s portrayal of Helena Rubinstein was superb, delivered through her distinctive Polish accent, mannerisms and Jewish humor. Ebersole’s depiction of Elizabeth Arden, displays her as rather flawless and ethereal – a character with more initial structure in contrast to Rubenstein. However, she still manages to convey the magnitude of the issues women faced within society at that time, which is poignant.
As displayed by the “Arden Girl” characters; it was common for women to have jobs, however, it was the careers these two women (Arden and Rubinstein) had back then which was unusual, oftentimes questioned even disapproved upon by amongst society. This is primarily demonstrated by Arden’s denial to the Mayfair Club, Rubenstein’s conflicts due to her Jewish heritage, and the common disputes between the two women, Tommy Lewis and Henry Fleming.
The show isn’t necessarily essentially about the competition between Arden and Rubinstein, but instead, it uses these two women as a device to highlight the struggles and difficulties many women would encounter throughout the 20th century, to ultimately display a social commentary. This notion is only illuminated by using Arden and Rubinstein, two successful and dominant women, displaying the fact that even they encountered issues due to their gender. The reason why this show resonated with me, is that this theme, sadly, still remains applicable within today’s society in the 21st century, with women oftentimes being silenced by society, due to not conforming in the exact way as expected. War Paint emphasizes the success of these two women , and demonstrates the impact they made in the world of beauty, helping celebrate, highlight and appreciate the women of their time.
War Paint is currently playing at the Nederlander Theatre on 41st street. Grab a bargain like I did, and arrive two hours before the show, and request a RUSH seat for $40, instead of paying insane prices.