'War Paint' Moves Up Closing Date by Two Months

Courtesy of Joan Marcus
Patti LuPone in 'War Paint'

The urgent need of one of the show's headliners, Patti LuPone, to have hip-replacement surgery means the Broadway musical will play its final performance Nov. 5.

Musical theater fans planning on catching the historic pairing of two of Broadway's most beloved stars, Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, had better move fast.

War Paint, in which the two-time Tony Award winners portray respective rival cosmetics titans Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, will play its final performance at the Nederlander Theatre Nov. 5, almost two months ahead of the previously announced closing date of Dec. 30.

The producers' decision to shutter earlier and thus miss the lucrative Thanksgiving and end-of-year holiday weeks — traditionally the most profitable periods of the Broadway season — came about because of LuPone's urgent need for hip-replacement surgery.

"For several months I have been performing in a great deal of pain," said LuPone in a statement. "My producers David Stone and Marc Platt have provided a wonderful team who, through physical therapy, chiropractic and acupuncture, have enabled me to continue on stage. But the pain has now become too intense and I have no other choice but to leave."

LuPone shared her regret at not being able to continue working alongside Ebersole, male leads John Dossett and Douglas Sills and what she described as a "wonderfully supportive company of actors," the majority of whom have been together since the musical's pre-Broadway run in summer 2016 at Chicago's Goodman Theatre. She added, "I will miss them more than I can express."

A Tony winner for lead actress in a musical in 1979 for Evita and then again in 2008 for Gypsy, LuPone, 68, has hinted in interviews that War Paint might be her last leading role in a musical. However, she recently announced plans to appear next year in the featured role of Joanne in a London revival of the classic Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical, Company.

Directed by Michael Greif, War Paint features a book by Doug Wright, music by Scott Frankel and lyrics by Michael Korie. The show charts the trailblazing rise and fall of two of America's first major female entrepreneurs, both of them outsiders, who defined beauty standards in the first half of the 20th century while remaining locked in a fierce battle for market leadership.

Although the production's box office started out strong, at times exceeding $1 million a week after its April opening, the sophisticated material has proven to be a tough sell for mainstream audiences, causing sales to decline over the summer. Total grosses to date stand at $22.4 million.