A story of mental health from a Black woman’s perspective, we meet two women who on the exterior share many similarities but due to their extremely different upbringings have very different views of themselves, their beauty, and their worth. THE TRIALS AND TRIUMPHS OF A TAR BABY is a new Canadian musical by Jewelle Blackman, Inspired by Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye”.

Commissioned by The Musical Stage Company with funding by Aubrey & Marla Dan Fund for New Musicals in 2021, this new work had its first reading in July 2022. We look forward to sharing the journey of this incredible piece over the course of its development! 

Commissioned with funding by the Aubrey & Marla Dan Fund for New Musicals


Commissioned with funding by the Aubrey & Marla Dan Fund for New Musicals

Creative Team

Jewelle Blackman

Music & Lyrics
Jewelle Blackman


Frequently Asked Questions

Show Calendar


  • 2021: Announced recipient of the Dan Fund Commission for New Musicals award
  • July 4-5, 2022: First Reading in Toronto at Ernest Balmer Studio, with support from Nightwood Theatre


Jewelle Blackman (she/her) – Book, Music & Lyrics

Jewelle Blackman is a multi-talented artist from Toronto.  She has played the violin for more than 30 years and graduated from Queen’s University with a Double Major in Music & Film as well as completed the Summer Performance Certificate Program at Berklee College of Music.  Jewelle is currently on pause from Broadway as part of the Tony/Grammy Winning Best Musical HADESTOWN where she originated the role of Fate.  Select credits include THE WHO’S TOMMY (Acid Queen); JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL, and LIVING IN PARIS both at the Stratford Festival; WE WILL ROCK YOU (Teacher); THE LION KING (Nala/Shenzi) Mirvish; THE WIZARD OF OZ (Mrs. Banks) Young People’s Theatre; DREAMGIRLS (Deena Jones) The Grand Theatre/StageWest.  Jewelle has also worked extensively in Film/TV.  For the past few years she has been working on her first musical YOU KNOW MY NAME, NOT MY STORY, inspired by Nina Simone’s “Four Women.”