7 characters | 3 women, 4 men
It is ten years since President Lincoln’s death. After a mock trial to determine the former first lady’s insanity (a trial whose outcome was predetermined before Mary set foot in the courtroom), Mary Lincoln is institutionalized to an insane asylum by her own son, Robert Lincoln, ostensibly ‘for her own good’. Mary’s incarceration grants Robert full control over the family’s significant finances, and removes Mary from the public eye as Robert is being groomed for a possible future Presidential run.
Stripped of her freedom, Mary turns to her close friend, Myra Bradwell-an accredited feminist lawyer who was denied the ability to practice law by the Supreme Court based solely on the fact she is a woman. Together, the two women smuggle into the institution one of the leading journalists of the day, Franc B. Wilkie. The two women have one night to convince Wilkie Mary is sane. Wilkie must take up her cause, or Mary will spend the rest of her life as a ward of the state.
The Queen Must Dance has received two private developmental readings in New York with Tovah Feldshuh reading the role of Mary and David Morse reading the role of Wilkie.