Mary T and Lizzy K

Mary T and Lizzy K

By Tazewell Thompson

Directed by Tazewell Thompson

Originally produced at Arena Stage, Washington, D.C..

July 1, 2012 through July 22, 2012

About the Premiere Production

Mary T. & Lizzy K. will throw open the doors of the White House dressing room to show us what really happens when a penniless First Lady and a successful former slave engage in a heart-to-heart conversation about life, loss and a journey into madness. Tazewell Thompson stitches together an insider’s look at the intricate relationship between Mary Todd Lincoln and her seamstress Elizabeth Keckly to give us a drama rich with details from local and national history that will appeal to audiences in Washington, D.C. and across the country. Mary T. & Lizzy K. eavesdrops on these two dynamic yet polar opposite women alternately reminiscing, bantering, soul searching, settling scores and sharing intimacies in the White House as one dresses the other in preparation for yet another typical trip to the theater. This trip to Ford’s Theatre instead proves all too fateful for them, their loved ones, their relationship and their country. Mary T. & Lizzy K. examines both the promise of freedom and the price paid for its realization through the eyes of two women from very different worlds.

Artistic Statement

“Tazewell Thompson has been an important artist in Arena’s history for many years as a playwright and director. Audiences in the nation’s capital will be eager to see this inside glimpse at Mary Lincoln's life and her relationship with the gifted designer, Elizabeth Keckley, who she was inextricably bound to.” - Molly Smith, Artistic Director

Grant Statement

“We are delighted that Mary T. and Lizzy K. is a recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Play award, which will make additional rehearsal time available for the playwright, director, creative team and cast. Without this enlightened support this production would not be as strong or as confident. Supporting new play development and the study of American theater is integral to improving the theater-going experience for all audiences. This activity helps to find and nurture new voices that contribute in a profound way to the body of work we have the privilege to produce.” - Edgar Dobie, Managing Director

Director: Tazewell Thompson

Set Design: Donald Eastman

Lighting Design: Robert Wierzel

Costume Design: Merrily Murray-Walsh

Composer/Sound Designer: Fabian Obispo


Tazewell Thompson Directs “The Pearl Fishers” at the Virginia Opera


October 10, 2012


Gods, goddesses, Janis Joplin and Mary Todd Lincoln fill Arena's stages

The Examiner

August 26, 2012