Tony nominee Barbara Walsh (Falsettos) plays First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln in the work-in-progress staging of The Strange Case of Mary Lincoln Oct. 19 and 21. The new musical by June Bingham and Carmel Owen, opens the Women's Project and Productions twenty-fourth season.
When her son Robert had Mary Lincoln committed to a private sanitarium, the former First Lady fought back to regain her freedom. Described in her lifetime as excitable and energetic, Lincoln first suffered a blow with the death of her son Willie in the Civil War before her husband's assassination pushed her into an obsessive concern about becoming impoverished. She then traveled Europe with her son Tad, but when he died in 1872, she began to show signs of insanity. Robert had her committed, but after four months, she was released and deemed sane. Mary Lincoln died in Springfield, Illinois, on July 16, 1882.
Bingham penned the book to The Strange Case of Mary Lincoln with music and lyrics by Owen. Bingham's other credits include Young Roosevelt, Squanto in Love, Triangles and Eleanor and Alice.
Walsh starred as in William Finn's Falsettos, earning herself an L.A. Ovation Award and a Tony and Drama Desk nomination. She also appeared on Broadway in Blood Brothers, Big and Nine.
Also in the cast are Chris Clavelli, David Hess, Mark Ledbetter, Karen Murphy (Titanic), Peter Samuel (Les Miserables) and Gayle Turner. Admission is free, but a $6 donation is suggested. The Women's Project Theatre is located at 424 West 55th Street. Women's Project and Productions is on the web at http://www.womensproject.org.
— By Christine Ehren