He’s the year’s third Lincoln, but this one’s not a vampire hunter or an Oscar winner in heavy prosthetics.
Played by Bob Stillman, he’s one of the tapestry of characters in Paula Vogel‘s Civil War Christmas , a lovely musical drama set on Christmas Eve of 1864.
Alice Ripley plays Mary Todd Lincoln, who’s prone to mood swings, from rages to overemphatic bouts of good cheer, and who feels like she’s constantly being scrutinized–told to look pretty, then criticized for being inappropriately so.
Ripley’s terrific, and when another character explains that today Mary would be called “manic,” you realize why they may have sought Ripley for the part: She won acclaim playing the anxiety- and prescription-laden lady in Next To Normal.
Another interesting moment has a narrator noting that in the old days, the President was an accessible leader of the people, but today, if someone asked “Where does he live?” you’d call the police.
Considering how Lincoln ended up, that proves to be an extremely ironic observation.
Anyway, do see the show, and Mary (Todd) Christmas!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 20, 2012