Arena’s two plays in March — The Mountaintop and Mary T. and Lizzie K. — are both built around this question: What if we could listen in on the private conversations of historical characters?

First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln and her talented seamstress Elizabeth Keckly (also spelled Keckley) both have their moment to speak at the time of the Civil War in the movie Lincoln. In Tazewell Thompson’s world premier production Mary T. & Lizzy K., the focus is on their unconventional relationship over time.

We know that that the Southern born Mary Lincoln was born to privilege and that former slave Elizabeth Keckly had bought her own freedom. Lizzy K. was skilled at dressmaking and Mary T. loved fine clothes. Besides fashion sense, these strong-willed women were outspoken and ambitious. Both experienced successes as well as tremendous pain and personal loss. What brought them together and what tore their friendship apart is a fascinating excursion into the minds of two powerful women.

What we have learned about them comes from a variety of historical sources, such as Keckly’s autobiography published in 1868, as well as recent biographies. For the Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. there is abundant material. Besides his writings, there are his speeches on film so that we can see and hear him.

But what if, in the unseen private moments in that very public life, we could imagine what he might have thought about? Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop presents such a possible picture of the night before his assassination. In the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, April 1968, a visit from a feisty hotel maid raises fascinating and surprising questions of the great man in unexpected ways.

The dramatic impact of Arena plays does not stop once the curtain comes down however. Both of these plays also promise to pique curiosity to learn more about these historical figures.

WANT TO GO?
WHAT: World Premier of  Tazewell Thompson’s Mary T. & Lizzy K.
WHERE & WHEN: Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle  (March 15 – April 28)
SOUTHWEST NIGHT: March 20 at 7:30
WHAT: Resident playwright Katori Hall’s award winning The Mountaintop
WHERE & WHEN: The Kreeger Theater  (March 29 – May 12)
SOUTHWEST NIGHT: March 31 at 2:00

COST AND INFORMATION FOR ARENA SHOWS: Tickets vary from $25-$85 depending on performance and may be purchased online at arenastage.org, by phone at 202-488-3300 or at the Sales Office at 1101 Sixth St. SW. For info on discounts visit arenastage.org/shows-tickets/single-tickets/savings-programs

Two More Events

WHAT: Looking for Good People Job Fair at Arena Stage

Arena Stage and the District of Columbia will host a job fair in Southwest DC led by Ward 6 Council member Tommy Wells. Nearly 20 local and government businesses will be on hand to offer employment, training and job-skill resources to our residents.

Recruiting companies onsite will include Comcast, Entertainment Cruises, CSX Railroad, Department of Employment Services (DOES), DC Water, Giant Foods, Gordon-Biersch Brewery Restaurant, Safeway, US ARMY Baltimore Recruiting Battalion, Wal-Mart and Washington Metro Transit Authority (WMATA), among others. Organizations including DC Housing Authority Workforce Development Office; Dress for Success; The Graduate School, USA; Living Classrooms; Street Sense; Strive DC and the United Planning Office (UPO) will also be offering one-on-one workforce development services to enhance interview skills and strengthen job-seekers’ ability to get hired.

WHEN & WHERE: Mead Center at Arena Stage. March 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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WHAT: In conjunction with Arena’s production of  Metamorphoses, the National Gallery of Art will highlight several works from their collection depicting myths in a series of lectures and 20-minute gallery talks.

WHEN & WHERE:

March 6 at noon and 3:30 p.m. Lecture on Miraculous Transformations: Images from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. West Building lecture Hall

March 4, 7, & 8 at 11:00 a.m. Gallery talk. Apollo and Daphne by Giambattista Tiepolo. National Gallery of Art, West Building Rotunda

March 11, 13 & 14 at 11:00 a.m. Gallery talk. The Fall of Phaeton by Sir Peter Paul Rubens. National Gallery of Art, West Building Rotunda

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