ABE LINCOLN IN ILLINOIS is a surprise. It is not a rosy portrait of some homespun, happy-go-lucky log chopper. Rather, it is a finely constructed and carefully considered view of the formation of Abe Lincoln's character from his days as a young man to his presidential election. As tormented, ambitious, uncertain, and depressed as Lincoln was, he was also a man of extraordinary character and inner light. Politicians are under intense character scrutiny, yet we don't really know who they are or what they stand for. We hoped this play would be a revealing and inspiring portrait of an American leader whose decency, intellect, and courage are rare commodities today. Rarer still are plays like ABE LINCOLN IN ILLINOIS, a stirring, large-scale panorama with noble themes and heroic acts, the likes of which will probably never be seen again. How lucky we were to have Sam Waterston in the title role, leading a cast of 50 (yes, 50!) players.