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

Currently starring as “Persephone” in HADESTOWN on Broadway, Jewelle Blackman is a Canadian actor,  singer-songwriter, violinist and playwright. Credits include OBC of HADESTOWN as a “Fate” and  the Canadian companies of Hadestown; The Lion King; We Will Rock You; Caroline or Change; Dreamgirls; and three seasons at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.  Television: “The Coroner” “Kim’s Convenience”, “Frankie Drake,” “Private Eyes” and “Shadowhunters.” Film: “Nine Lives” and “Crossword Mysteries”
You can follow her on Instagram @elleshelley

MEGHAN SWABY (she/her) – Book

Meghan is a first generation Jamaican – Canadian actor and writer based in Toronto. She has performed on stages throughout Canada, USA,  Mexico and the UK. Her play, Venus’ Daughter (Obsidian Theatre) was published by Scirocco Drama in 2022 and included on The SureFire List 2018 (Playwrights Guild of Canada) as one of the top 23 recommended plays in Canada. She has participated in several notable playwriting residencies such as; Nightwood Theatre, Obsidian Theatre, Diaspora Dialogues, Playwrights Workshop Montreal, Stratford Festival, Myseum of Toronto and Musical Stage Co. Her work has been performed internationally and was included as part of the inaugural  50in50: Writing Black Women Into Existence at the Billie Holiday Theatre (Brooklyn, NY). Meghan is an alumni of the Reelworld e20 program and BIPOC TV & Film’s Kid’s Television Incubator. 

Meghan also co-hosts and produces,  Beneath The Ceiba Tree, a podcast about Caribbean folklore from a contemporary diasporic lens.