Abraham Lincoln, Matchmaker

What if Abraham Lincoln had sent a young socialite to meet an injured soldier, without telling her that the soldier was black? What if an unspoken romance blossomed across the color line?

This is the premise of If Only…A Love Story, a new play by Thomas Klingenstein that is now playing at the Cherry Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village. It is a play about impasse. Imprisoned by social conventions and emotional perplexity, Ann Astorcott (Melissa Gilbert) believes in emancipation but can't quite manage her own. Samuel Johnson (Mark Kenneth Smaltz) escaped from slavery but can't inflict liberty on those too timid or too comfortable to take it.

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