Thursday, May 25, 2017
A Feast For Fags, And Hags!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, I am telling you, "War Paint" is the show you HAVE to see! Not since the campy "Coco," aided and abetted by the brilliance of Cecil Beaton's designs and Michael Bennett's staging, has there been such a visually dazzling Broadway musical about fashion.
In this case, it is about two doyennes--Helena Rubinstein (Lu Pone) and Elizabeth Arden (Ebersole). I have seldom seen a show with two ladies so aptly cast, nor have I seen one where the ladies seem so openly gracious about sharing the stage.
Between the ladies, the extraordinary sumptuousness of the production, and those two hotties, John Dossett and Douglas Sills, there is something for everyone to feast on.
This also includes Michael Greif's flowing direction, Christopher Gattelli's poised choreography, as though each performer is on an eternal fashion runway, and of course, the designers--Catherine Zuber (costumes), David Korins (sets) and Kenneth Posner (lights). My favorite design was the pink, neon-lit Revlon sign, which evoked a certain nostalgia for me. Growing up in Highland Park, New Jersey, several miles away from me, way out on Route 27, there existed (and maybe still does) a Revlon factory. At one point, before my dreams got bigger, and my vision of the world expanded, I thought I might end up there. Thankfully, girls, I am here with you.
Pink is a primary color, especially with Arden, so I guess, being the blog is pink and all, I am more of an Arden girl than Rubinstein. Even more interesting, I found myself partial to Ebersole, more than Lu Pone, not for lack of artistry, but because, in the course of her character, Lu Pone has adopted an East European accent of sorts that undercuts the comprehensibility of some of the song lyrics she sings. She is loud, and grandiose, as one might expect Rubinstein to be, and her diction is superb, but the accent gets in the way of the words. I loved the coral green suit Ebersole wore in one scene, while Lu Pone's costumes are so grand, for those of us old enough to have seen her, it almost seems as though she is channeling "Evita."
While the score is lacking the brilliance of "Grey Gardens," it is serviceable, with the audience being awarded by a second act, fictionalized duet, that gives the two divas a chance to shine together. And they make the most of it.
The show is not in the least campy. It is straightforward, gorgeous, and riveting while watching it.
How much of the show the audience carries away is at viewer discretion. For me, the sight of two pros at their best, all that pink, and especially the Revlon logo, is enough.
Girls, of all genders--you must flock to this show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!