Monday, August 8, 2016

War Paint

War Paint's Chicago premiere has many things going for it: Two great stars, a score that plays to their strengths, and interesting source material. Reviews have been mostly positive. Unfortunately the current book lacks conflict.

Librettist Doug Wright has several challenges. The real Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubenstein refused to meet with each other. Wright has to give his leads equal stage time while keeping them apart. In this he succeeds. Without a co-star to play off of the leads steamroll the supporting cast. The founders of Revlon get two juicy scenes but vanish before they can develop into true antagonists. Wright will need to beef up the feckless love interests or scheming shop girls so that Patti and Ebersole have someone to play off of.

The Chicago production has been extended through August 21. A Broadway transfer has yet to be confirmed but is certainly in the cards.

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