Thespian Thoughts – The Ghosts of Mary Lincoln – theatre review by Sandro Monetti

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THE GHOSTS OF MARY LINCOLN by Tom Dugan at Theatre 40, Beverly Hills, California

Temper tantrums, mood swings, paranoia and bitter resentment are all performed with expert skill by award winning actress Michelle Tauber in her portrayal of Abraham Lincoln’s unhappy widow.

One of history’s most fascinating and eccentric figures is now the subject of an engrossing one woman play.

Michelle Tauber
Michelle Tauber

Set on a dark and stormy night some years after the assassination of her husband and the death of three of her four sons, the show finds a haunted Mary Lincoln dressed all in mourning black and full of black moods – but with sudden flashes of humor which make the show as unpredictable as its subject.

Acclaimed playwright Tom Dugan has filled his script with witty lines like: “My sister is as deaf as a post and as irritating as hemorrhoids but I love her,” and fascinating historical detail like the fact Mary would walk around with large amounts of money sewn into her petticoats.

Michelle Tauber
Michelle Tauber

These Los Angeles shows, wonderfully directed by Jenny Sullivan, are workshop performances ahead of the play’s official premiere in Georgia in October 2013 and one of the benefits of attending is that after every show audience members get the chance to participate in a post-performance discussion with writer Dugan and offer their feedback to help him further shape the script.

It looks is very good shape already – but could perhaps shave off 10 to 15 minutes to help the pacing – and is most effective when glimpsing into the mind of Mary Lincoln who was committed to an asylum and whom several historians and psychologists have speculated was suffering from bipolar disorder.

The story of Abraham Lincoln is very well known but as this play proves, his wife also has a most interesting tale to tell.

The Ghosts of Mary Lincoln
At Theatre 40, 241 Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Remaining workshop performances at 7.30pm on August 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21.
All tickets $20
Reservations 310-364-3606


Written by Tom Dugan

Starring Michelle Tauber

Directed by Jenny Sullivan
Produced by David Hunt Stafford
Sound Design – Richard Allen
Stage Manager – Katherine Barrett
Costume Design – Seth Gilbert
Lighting Design – Katherine Barrett
Original Music Recordings – Mark Hart
Wig Design – Daniel Koye
Travel Coordinator – Amy Dugan
Publicity – Philip Sokoloff

For more information visit Theatre 40 and Tom Dugan Plays

Thespian Thoughts is a column on Actors Entertainment, a channel on the Actors Podcast Network, a Pepper Jay Production.

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