Continuing the country's fascination with the Lincoln White House, Arena Stage has announced full casting for their upcoming world premiere production of Tazewell Thompson's Mary T. & Lizzie K., set to run March 15 – April 28 in the Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle. Thompson, who has helmed many Arena Stage productions including Caucasian Chalk Circle and M. Butterfly, will serve as director.
Kathryn Kelley (Next Fall) and Sameerah Luqmaan-Harris (ReEntry) lead the company in the title roles, better known as Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley. The work, which also stars Thomas Adrian Simpson (My Fair Lady) as Abraham Lincoln and Joy Jones (Invisible Man) as Ivy, explores the unique and uncommon friendship between Mary Todd, the country's privileged First Lady, and Elizabeth, her dress designer, who is a freed slave.
Mary T. & Lizzy K. is the inaugural entry into Arena Stage's American President's Project, which will explore the lives and legacies of American presidents and their families. For Arena stage, Thompson has also directed The Glass Menagerie, Fences, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and his own play, Constant Star. His many opera directing credits include Carmen, Death in Venice, Lost in the Stars, and New York City Opera's televised Porgy and Bess, for which he received an Emmy Award nomination.
The relationship between the Lincolns and Keckley has also recently been explored in the Academy Award-nominated film Lincoln, as well as in Paula Vogel's play, A Civil War Christmas.