BY: MAGGIE PARKER
What would Broadway be without the magic of makeup? Cats would be a bunch of humans jumping around in unitards. No one would understand Elphaba’s continual lamenting of her skin color. And theater in general would simply be a bunch of really washed-out people prancing around onstage. For these reasons, beauty is a big part of Broadway. So it makes sense that many theater-lovers are also into the external aesthetic.
If your love of theater is complimented by a passion for everything from hair to nails, be these six theater-themed beauty Instagrammers need to be in your feed.
When it comes to her art, Haley Franke has nailed it. Her Instagram account is dedicated to 10 little canvases on which she creates Broadway-themed masterpieces. Oh, and those canvases are her nails. Yes, Franke paints Broadway shows onto her nails, and she’s really good at it. “I started creating Broadway-themed nail art in late June/early July 2015 when I saw the Broadway revival of Les Miserables,” Haley told Broadway Spin. “When I saw the reaction that my nails brought to these incredible artists’ faces, I got the most rewarding feeling. To discover that what I thought was a small gesture meant so much to these people whom I greatly admire, I knew I had to continue.” She uses both nail polish and acrylic paints to create her mini-masterpieces. “I prefer to hand-paint the designs rather than use nail stamps or vinyls. It allows me to personalize them and means more to me that I created it myself.”
Some creations take up to five hours. “It takes time for the layers to dry and I often take small breaks from hunching my back over my nails!” But it’s worth it for the fans. “I’ve gotten amazing responses from all types of people in the industry,” she noted. “I’ve been recognized by actors, playwrights, designers, and more. I’ve been reposted by many Instagram and Twitter accounts, including Playbill, Be More Chill, The Book of Mormon, Finding Neverland, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Anastasia.” Nothing compared to last year’s Tony Awards, however, when Christine Jones won the award for best scenic design of a play for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two — and rocked one of Franke’s custom manicures for her acceptance speech. “She loved my work and asked me to do her nails for the Tony Awards! Imagine my elation when I saw my nail art holding a Tony!” Franke gushed. But her talent is not only in her fingertips—this girl can sing. “Hopefully, one day it will be my own nails holding a Tony! For now, I’ll continue to express my love of theatre and Broadway through tiny brushes and paint.”
Katie LaMark is a musical theater actress with a knack for makeup. “I started to play with makeup around age 13; it called to me in the same way a new box of crayons and a coloring book did,” Katie told Broadway Spin. “I’m drawn to a lot of aesthetic outlets: makeup, illustration, interior design. I like the balance of unlimited creativity and rules and discipline. Caring about my appearance is secondary to the peaceful feeling I get when I start with a blank canvas.” Her Instagram feed is a mix of stage makeup tips, product recommendations, backstage shots from her time touring with Rent and Rock of Ages, and stunning every day snaps that prove she doesn’t even really need the stuff.
She is considering going pro at some point, but for now, she does her own hair and makeup for performances — and takes it very seriously. “I like to think about the ways I can feel closer to the character. How does someone who isn’t me make choices about their look?” she explained. “For Rock of Ages, Sherrie is a small town girl who loves the world of rock but probably doesn’t even have the proper makeup to put on a rocker face! So, I like to limit myself to a specific palette and rewind my age a little bit,” she added. One product this makeup master can’t live without is a toner called Raw Sauce by May Coop. “It’s made from maple water so the molecules are super small and soak beautifully into your skin. Makeup looks gorgeous on top of it.”
Madalyn Cline is a certified makeup artist and special effects master. She’s so talented, she can transform herself into everyone from Ursula and Ariel from The Little Mermaid to Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family. She once painted sheet music from The Phantom of the Opera on her face. “This was challenging because my face is a smaller canvas and trying to replicate the sheet music for ‘Think of Me’ on half of my face (backward!) was quite difficult,” she explained. But her Broadway Body Paint series is what will really blow you away—Madalyn can paint a Broadway show’s Playbill cover onto someone’s back. “What first inspired me to create my Broadway Body Paint series was the playbill design for Dear Evan Hansen,” Madalyn said. “I just looked at it one day in 2017 and wondered how it would look if I tried to paint it on someone. So I did!” The overwhelmingly positive response from the theater community inspired her to turn it into a series. “Being a Broadway fanatic myself, it was amazing to be surrounded by such a supportive group of people.”
She’s done Mary Poppins, Les Miserables, Be More Chill, Anastasia, Cinderella, Frozen, The Phantom of the Opera, and more. Her favorite back creations are Anastasia and Les Miserables. “These were more challenging due to the amount of detail and blending that was required. That being said, they quickly became my two favorite applications!” And the best part is she also posts time-lapse videos of the process from start to finish. (Rhe actual project takes about four hours on average).
Douglas Otero is a triple-threat turned celebrity makeup artist who wanted to team up with Broadway’s finest to create a line of lipsticks that would bring awareness to animal cruelty. So, in 2016, he did. Intermission Beauty’s Broadway Diva Series was created with Broadway stars like Orfeh, Stephanie J. Block and Keala Settle and benefits the ASPCA and The Humane Society. Those lipsticks come to life on Intermission Beauty’s Instagram page, where the colors are showcased on even more stars like Katharine McPhee and Glenn Close.
Ever wonder what it’s like to be a Broadway wig-woman? Follow Jamie Amadio and you will find out. She’s currently hair department head (what a great title!) for The Band’s Visit, but has also worked on The Color Purple and Six Degrees of Separation. Between her two Instagram accounts, she shares BTS shots of her goofing around with The Band’s Visit’s cast and working on major stars like Jennifer Hudson and Allison Janney.
Sara Elizabeth is a certified makeup artist living in NYC. She creates show-inspired looks for fun and shares them on social media. “I started doing show-inspired looks around high school, when I realized a lot of show Playbills had really cool color palettes that could be made into fun looks,” she told Broadway Spin. Her Instagram is filled photos of her creations, like her glittery SpongeBob-inspired look, her icy blue and white take on Frozen, and her subtle sand and blue-hued look inspired by The Band’s Visit. “My favorite look I’ve done was for Mean Girls,” Sara said. “It was a pretty basic monochromatic pink look, but I really loved the sassy vibe it gave and I felt like one of The Plastics in it!” You’ll be shocked by how well she matches the playbills. And the theater community is catching on. “I have had a couple shows and stars like the photos…any recognition is amazing!” Up next is…Hamilton, she hopes. “I love the color palette of the show and I think I could do a really cool orange sunset type look with that!”