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In his film Lincoln, Steven Spielberg touches on how the stresses of the presidency during wartime strained Abraham Lincoln’s marriage to Mary Todd. That may have been enough of a teaser to whet audiences’ appetites for more stories pulled from the life of the former first lady. If that’s the case, then thank playwright Tazewell Thompson for Mary T. & Lizzy K. His play, which premieres at Arena this March, focuses on Mary Todd’s relationship with a character who plays only a minor role in Spielberg’s film: Elizabeth Keckly. A former slave who raised the money to buy her freedom, Keckly eventually wound up in D.C. as a seamstress to society women before Mary Todd eventually hired her to work at the White House. She became the first lady’s personal dresser, and Thompson’s play dramatizes the friendship that developed between the two. Through overheard conversations, the playwright seeks to explore a dialogue between two women expressing inner thoughts and fears that they would otherwise, in Thompson’s words, “reserve for their diaries.” $85–$100.