Hillary Clinton Receives Standing Ovation at Opening of Broadway's 'War Paint'

Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic
Patti LuPone, Hillary Clinton and Christine Ebersole

Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole star as rival makeup titans Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden, respectively.

The power of powerful women was celebrated onstage and off on Thursday, as Hillary Clinton attended the opening night of Broadway's War Paint, starring Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole.

Clinton was greeted with a standing ovation upon taking her seat at the Nederlander Theatre. Brooke Shields, Titus Burgess and Cristin Milioti were also among those in attendance.

The former presidential candidate also received another standing ovation from the audience upon greeting the cast onstage after the show.

Directed by Michael Greif, the new musical stars LuPone and Ebersole as rival makeup titans Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, respectively. Both women were founders and CEOs of their industry-dominating businesses, and separately toggled the title of being the richest woman in the world over multiple decades.

"She enjoyed it and was very happy. I think she saw how much it was about women in power. It was thrilling to have her in the audience," Lupone told reporters of meeting Clinton. Ebersole echoed that Clinton, whom they learned yesterday would be attending the opening, told the cast that "she loved the show."

For LuPone, one line of the musical has always brought Clinton to mind. "There's a song that I sing that I've always thought of Hillary while I was singing it," she said of the song "Now You Know" with the lyrics "A woman scales the wall, climbs high above them all, and oh what gates of hell they put her through."

Both stars said the musical, which spans from the 1930s to the 1970s, is still relevant today.

"They were both immigrants who came to this country and succeeded brilliantly. ... I don't think all that much has changed for women. To point out that these two women were exceptional at that time, and that we haven't come that far, is important."

Ebersole echoed, "They created an empire in a man's world, and they began their careers even before women could vote. ... They just went ahead and did it."

The show and its celebrated stars — who have two Tony Awards apiece — come to Broadway following a sold-out Chicago tryout last summer, which drew generally positive reviews and generated record-breaking box office at the Goodman Theatre. Critics raved in particular about the two leads, who could conceivably find themselves competing for Tony honors in June.