Tears of gratitude welled in the eyes of Columbus native Mary Claire King at the close of her Broadway preview debut Tuesday in “War Paint” at New York’s Historic Nederlander Theatre.

“It was pure joy,” King said.

“War Paint” focuses on the rivalry between makeup mavens Helena Rubinstein, played by Patti LuPone, and Elizabeth Arden, played by two-time Tony winner Christine Ebersole, set in the 1930s to the 1960s.

King, 27, a Columbus North High School graduate, plays Miss Beam and also Tulip, makeup and treatment specialists in Arden’s spa-style Red Door Salon.

“It’s where women go to be pampered,” King said.

The actress and singer felt a bit pampered by a sizable, appreciative crowd that offered a standing ovation to leading actresses LuPone and Ebersole.

“The audience also gave us great feedback in terms of laughs and other reactions,” King said. “We could feel all that pretty strongly.”

The official opening night comes April 6 for the 19-member cast.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.