From Kinky Boots to Broadway Bares, MAC Cosmetics Shine in the LGBT Spotlight

By Brandon Voss
28 Jun 2014

Neil Patrick Harris in <i>Hedwig and the Angry Inch</i>
Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Photo by Joan Marcus

As part of Playbill.com's 30 Days of Pride, we look at MAC cosmetics and MAC AIDS Fund's colorful connection to the Broadway community. 

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From Hedwig's blue eye shadow in Hedwig and the Angry Inch to Elphaba's green, well, everything in Wicked, MAC has helped create some of the most iconic faces on Broadway.

MAC, which fittingly stands for Makeup Arts Cosmetics, was founded in 1985, and the Canadian company's first U.S. store opened in 1991 in New York City. Co-founders Frank Angelo and Frank Toskan, both gay men, also partnered with MAC artists in 1994 to create the MAC AIDS Fund, an organization focused on ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic through fundraising and community outreach. The foundation has raised more than $300 million through the sale of its VIVA Glam lipstick, which was created exclusively to raise money and awareness for HIV/AIDS — notably at a time when the epidemic, still stigmatized as a gay disease, was dramatically affecting the fashion, makeup, and theatre communities. MAC AIDS Fund's signature VIVA Glam campaign has featured Broadway alums such as Ricky Martin, Cyndi Lauper, k.d. lang, and even Dame Edna as spokespeople.



After famously beautifying Les Cagelles, the scene-stealing gender illusionists in the 2004 and 2010 revivals of La Cage aux Folles, MAC, one of the few cosmetics companies to openly market to male consumers, continues to prove its profound powers of transformation as the official makeup provider for Hedwig and Kinky Boots. MAC currently provides makeup support for 13 Broadway shows, including LGBT-inclusive musicals If/Then and Cabaret.

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