Dallas’ Lyric Stage is celebrating women in its 27th season. The musical theater company deliberately chose productions that are focused on empowering females for its “Wonder Women” season, and its latest musical follows that mission. In honor of Black History Month, the non-profit company is presenting Abyssinia, based on the young adult novel Marked by Fire by Joyce Carol Thomas, which was inspired by the Book of Job in the Bible.
Set at the turn of the 20th century in Stillwater, Oklahoma, the play follows Abyssinia ‘Abby’ Jackson as she endures a series of trials and tribulations, ultimately testing her faith in God and in humanity.
A young woman blessed with a beautiful voice, Abyssinia uses song to spread joy in her community. However, when Abby’s faith is eventually tested, she succumbs to darkness and vows to never sing again. Her silence has a devastating effect on the people around her, but she has to find the will to heal herself before she can help anyone else.
Texas Christian University student Jaden Dominique takes the lead as Abyssinia. This is her first professional show, and she doesn’t know if she’ll ever have an experience quite like this again. “This process has been scary, exciting, powerful and exhausting,” she says.
Dominique knows that African American literature is not only significant to African American culture and Black History Month, but to American literature as a whole: “Being able to dive into this work, specifically this month, has an even greater impact.”
Hoping the audience finds joy and comfort in the performance, Dominique wants viewers to see themselves on stage. She offers, “It is important that the audience realizes that life has trials and it’s not about how hard you fall but how you get back up.”
Lyric Stage presents Abyssinia at the Majestic Theatre February 14-16. Tickets are $29.50.