A young girl's loss of faith after tragedy strikes her and her family is the timely subject of the musical Abyssinia, receiving its Southwest premiere with Dallas' Lyric Stage through Oct. 20. Josie Abady, former Cleveland Play House artistic director, directs. Performances began Oct. 5.
Abyssinia Jackson is a teenager growing up in Stillwater, Oklahoma with the blessing of a voice that seems a gift of God. But as a tornado tears her family apart and a physical assault destroys her sense of safety and self, Abyssinia loses her faith in a higher power and her ability to sing. It will take an herbalist-healer to teach her that God lies beyond her circumstances.
Abyssinia is based on the Joyce Carol Thomas book for young adults, "Marked by Fire." Ted Kociolek wrote the music with lyrics by James Racheff and a book by both men.
Kia Dawn Fulton stars as Abyssinia with Carol Dennis as the healer who mentors her.
In early 2001, Lyric Stage premiered Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt's Roadside. That musical based on a Lynn Riggs (Green Grow the Lilacs) play will receive its New York debut at the York Theatre Nov. 13-Dec. 23. Tickets ar $20-$25. Irving Arts Center's Dupree Theater is at 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd. For information, call (972) 252-2787.
— By Christine Ehren