The Public Theater (Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director; Patrick Willingham, Executive Director) and National Black Theatre’s (Sade Lythcott, CEO; Jonathan McCrory, Executive Artistic Director) critically acclaimed co-production of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy Fat Ham by James Ijames will make its Broadway premiere in 2023. The Public’s Associate Artistic Director and Resident Director Saheem Ali returns to direct the complete original Off-Broadway cast, including Nikki Crawford as Tedra, Chris Herbie Holland as Tio, Billy Eugene Jones as Rev and “Pap, Adrianna Mitchell as Opal, Calvin Leon Smith as Larry, Marcel Spears as Juicy, and Benja Kay Thomas as Rabby.
“Every once in a while, we experience a play that is embraced by the audience with an almost shocking joy. When that happens, when the audience greets the production with a hunger that demonstrates the show is exactly what they need and want, the theater explodes. It’s the most exciting experience available to us theater-makers. Such a play, such a production, is Fat Ham. James explores the deepest of issues with the lightest of touches, looking for a way to break cycles of violence and retribution and to find a hard-won joy. And Saheem has created a production that unleashed the pain and the joy of our age,” notes Rashad V. Chambers, No Guarantees, Public Theater Productions and National Black Theatre.
Fat Ham begins performances on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, and officially opens on Wednesday, April 12, 2023, at the American Airlines Theatre on Broadway for a strictly limited 14-week engagement through Sunday, August 6, 2023.
Fat Ham by James Ijames was commissioned by and received its world premiere as a filmed production at The Wilma Theater, Philadelphia; Ijames’ play went on to win the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It made its New York premiere in a critically acclaimed sold-out run—May 12-July 31, 2022, including a six-week extension—at The Public Theater, co- produced with the National Black Theatre, and hailed by The New York Times in its Critic’s Pick review as an “outstanding transformation of Shakespeare’s tragedy into a play about Black masculinity and queerness that both echoes Hamlet and finds a language beyond it.” The Broadway transfer of Fat Ham represents National Black Theatre’s first production on Broadway, and only the third play to be transferred by a Black theatre in Broadway’s century-long history.
Fat Ham, the deliciously funny, Pulitzer Prize-winning new play, comes to Broadway following a critically acclaimed, sold- out run at The Public Theater. Playwright James Ijames and Director Saheem Ali reinvent Shakespeare’s masterpiece, creating what The New York Times calls “a hilarious yet profound tragedy smothered in comedy.”
The creative team for Fat Ham includes Maruti Evans (Scenic Design), Dominique Fawn Hill (Costume Design), Bradley King (Lighting Design), Mikaal Sulaiman (Sound Design), Darrell Grand Moultrie (Choreographer) Earon Chew Nealey (Hair and Wig Design), Skylar Fox (Illusions Design), Kamra A. Jacobs (Production Stage Manager), Kate Murray (Casting), and Baseline Theatrical (General Management).
Juicy (Spears) is a queer, Southern college kid, already grappling with some serious questions of identity, when the ghost of his father shows up in their backyard, demanding that Juicy avenge his murder. But here’s the rub! Revenge doesn’t come easy to Juicy, a sensitive and self-aware young Black man in search of his own happiness and liberation. From an uproarious family cookout emerges a compelling examination of love and loss, pain and joy.
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