The closing had looked to be in the cards for several weeks now, as the thematically ambitious musical saw sales taper significantly over the summer while the season’s headliner hits — “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Come From Away,” “Hello, Dolly!” — locked in their hold on the attention (and wallets) of theatergoers. After debuting strong at the box office and posting a couple of million-plus weeks in the wake of its April 6 opening, “War Paint” has since seen weekly numbers slow. Last week the show grossed about $615,000 and played to 85% capacity.
The latest serious-minded work from the team behind “Grey Gardens” (composer Scott Frankel, lyricist Michael Korie, book writer Doug Wright and director Michael Grief), “War Paint” follows the concurrent rise of two titans of the cosmetic industry, Helena Rubinstein (LuPone) and Elizabeth Arden (Ebersole). Reviews were mixed, but critics lavished unanimous praise on the lead performers, two major Broadway stars who had never appeared together in the same show.
In announcing its closing three months before it shutters, “War Paint” can hope for a spike in business as fans rush to catch LuPone’s and Ebersole’s performances prior to the production’s end date. But despite the strong initial sales and potential boost to come, the production seems unlikely to recoup the entirety of its $11 capitalization by the time the show closes.
“War Paint” shutters Dec. 30 at the Nederlander Theater.