How ‘Lempicka’ Producers Are Using Art Deco Masterpieces to Sell a Broadway Musical

It’s a dramatic way to sell a new Broadway show.

The Longacre Theatre is getting a high art overhaul as the home of “Lempicka,” a new musical about Polish painter Tamara de Lempicka. The theater will showcase many of the artist’s most famous works as part of a new outdoor exhibition meant to generate excitement for a production that arrives without the commercial benefit of being based on a movie or the song catalogue of a rock legend.

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Instead of more traditional theatrical front-of-house advertising, hawking pictures of smiling stars or vast chorus lines (along with some strategically edited “rave reviews”), the Longacre’s façade now boasts dramatic and colorful prints of high society denizens or recumbent nude women, that hail from the glory days of the Art Deco movement. The Longacre’s outdoor exhibition includes works of “Self Portrait (Tamara in a Green Bugatti)” (1929), “Young Girl in Green” (1927), “Nu Adossé” (1925), “The Red Tunic” (1927), “The Blue Scarf” (1930), “The Green Turban” (1930), “Portrait of Marjorie Ferry” (1932), “Portrait of Ira P.” (1930), “Portrait of Romana de la Salle” (1928) and “Adam and Eve” (1932).

“Lempicka” stars Eden Espinosa (“Wicked”) and was directed by Rachel Chavkin, who won a Tony for her work on “Hadestown.” The show features book, lyrics, and original concept by Carson Kreitzer, book and music by Matt Gould and choreography by Raja Feather Kelly. It begins performances next March.

“Lempicka” spans decades, following the title character’s personal and professional life as she develops her distinctive style. Her growth as an artist coincides with the rise of the Nazis and her eventual relocation to the United States as World War II breaks out. Lempicka’s work fell out of favor for a period, but was rediscovered in the 1960s. The production says it boasts a pop-infused score.

Here’s a look at some of the prints that may catch your eye on 48th Street.

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