Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, who co-star as cosmetic titans and rivals Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, respectively, in Broadway’s War Paint, sat down for an August 17 Facebook Live interview with Tony Award-winning Wicked star Kristin Chenoweth.
During the 15-minute chat, Chenoweth asks Ebersole and LuPone about their work in War Paint and the women they portray. Interestingly, both LuPone and Ebersole say they have become fans of Elizabeth Arden products during the run of War Paint.
The Broadway stars also name some of the artists who inspired them when they were growing up.
LuPone named Bette Davis and Edith Piaf. “Piaf’s voice just struck a chord,” she says. “It’s not the most beautiful voice, but it’s so connected to her heart and her soul. And Bette Davis because, again, she wasn’t the prettiest woman in Hollywood, but she was courageous. She was a very fine actress. And I was just sort of drawn to this woman. I used to cut school to see Busby Berkeley musicals and Bette Davis movies.”
“There were several people that had an influence on me,” Ebersole recalls. “I would say Carole Lombard and Bette Davis and Joni Mitchell." "It’s hard to describe really," she says of her connection to Mitchell's work, "because of her soul, probably, [and] what she wrote about.”
A highlight of the video is when all three actors recall their very first headshots, which elicits an outrageously funny memory from LuPone. Watch the video below (starting at the 4:30 mark) to hear LuPone’s story.
Directed by Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal, If/Then, Grey Gardens), War Paint reunites Scott Frankel and Michael Korie—the songwriting team of Grey Gardens and Far From Heaven—with Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Doug Wright (Grey Gardens, I Am My Own Wife, The Little Mermaid). Tony winner Christopher Gattelli choreographs.
The musical is inspired by Lindy Woodhead's book War Paint and the documentary film The Powder & the Glory, by Ann Carol Grossman and Arnie Reisman. It tells the story of cosmetic titans and rivals Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, who, throughout the 20th century, built international empires in a world dominated by men.