WASHINGTON (AP) — Arena Stage is opening a new play focused on the friendship between Mary Todd Lincoln and her dressmaker, the former slave Elizabeth Keckley, during the Civil War.

Tazewell Thompson wrote and directs “Mary T. & Lizzy K.” in Arena’s Kogod Cradle theater. It was built as a home for new theatrical works.

The new production depicts the unconventional relationship between Lincoln and Keckley. Thompson says they were assertive, intelligent, outspoken women during the Civil War, and that was extraordinary for Keckley, considering her life as a slave.

It runs through April 28, staring Naomi Jacobson as Lincoln and Sameerah Luqmaan-Harris as Keckley.

This is the first production of Arena’s American President’s Project. It’s an initiative to look at the lives and legacies of U.S. presidents and their families through theater.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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