'Fat Ham' sets full Off-Broadway cast

The play begins performances at The Public Theater on May 12.

Fat Ham

The Public Theater and National Black Theatre's production of Fat Ham has found its cast. Making its New York premiere this spring, James Ijames's reinvention of Shakespeare's Hamlet begins performances May 12 ahead of a May 26 opening night.

Marcel Spears leads Fat Ham as Juicy, and the rest of the cast includes Nikki Crawford as Tedra, Chris Herbie Holland as Tio, Billy Eugene Jones as Rev and Papp, Adrianna Mitchell as Opal, Calvin Leon Smith as Larry, and Benja Kay Thomas as Rabby.

The full creative team has also been named. Joining director Saheem Ali are scenic designer Maruti Evans, costume designer Dominique Fawn Hill, lighting designer Stacey Derosier, sound designer Mikaal Sulaiman, hair and wig designer Earon Chew Nealey, props designer Claire M. Kavanah, illusion designer Skylar Fox, fight director Lisa Kopitsky, and choreographer Darrell Moultrie.

Fat Ham is set at a Southern barbecue, which doubles as the wedding reception of Juicy's mother and uncle. Like in Hamlet, the ghost of Juicy's father appears to him, demanding Juicy avenge his murder. Unlike Hamlet, however, Juicy is a Black, queer college student who is all too aware of the violence toward his community and wonders whether continuing that cycle is the only way. Ijames's tragicomic play had its virtual world premiere with Philadelphia's Wilma Theater in 2021. The 2022 Off-Broadway production marks the first time the show is being performed for a live audience.

Check back for information on Fat Ham tickets on New York Theatre Guide.

Photo credit: Photo of Marcel Spears (top left) by Storm Santos