Following a New York premiere at The Public Theater in May 2022, James Ijames's Pulitzer-winning and play Fat Ham is firing up the grill again on Broadway, now earning five Tony nominations including Best Play. Get Fat Ham tickets on New York Theatre Guide.
Fat Ham is a play that follows Juicy, a queer, Southern college kid at a family backyard barbecue — specifically, a barbecue that serves as Juicy's mom's and uncle's wedding reception. While there, Juicy plans to avenge his father's murder (at his father's ghost's personal request). His uncle has seemingly committed the crime and certainly married Juicy's mother, in the hopes of getting his hands on Juicy's college fund and the family's restaurant. Juicy is familiar with Hamlet — in which Shakespeare's titular prince gets a visit from his father's ghost and vows revenge on his uncle/stepfather — so he feels like he's living a familiar story.
But unlike Hamlet, Juicy struggles with his queer identity and liberation on top of his new quest, and he has doubts about committing violence to avenge violence. A New York Times review described Fat Ham as a play about "how a Black man — crucially, a gay one — may resist the cycle of inherited trauma even as it tempts him, whether in the form of a ghost or a literary tradition." Fat Ham is a comic tragedy that reexamines Shakespeare's landmark work with modernity and soul food.
Playwright James Ijames is based in Philadelphia, but his work has appeared both in Philly and Off-Broadway in New York. Fat Ham made its world premiere in Philadelphia, although virtually — after the pandemic shut down an in-person production at the Wilma Theater, director Morgan Green filmed the production outdoors instead (on a full-fledged backyard barbecue set) and released it for streaming.
The Public Theater production, Fat Ham's in-person premiere, began three days after the show won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. That run sold out and then some, extending more than once due to demand.
Saheem Ali, who recently directed Jocelyn Bioh's Nollywood Dreams at MCC Theater and helmed the Public's Shakespeare in the Park production of Merry Wives, directed Fat Ham in New York at the Public. He returns to direct Fat Ham on Broadway, which features the entire acclaimed Off-Broadway cast, including Tony nominees Marcel Spears and Nikki Crawford. Ali also earned a 2023 Tony Award nomination for his direction.
Fat Ham is at the American Airlines Theatre on Broadway, located on 42nd Street. The venue is owned by Roundabout Theatre Company, but this production is not affiliated with Roundabout.
Fat Ham tickets are available on New York Theatre Guide. Get Fat Ham Broadway tickets now.
1hr 35min (no intermission)
March 21st, 2023
July 2nd, 2023
822 reviews on Show-Score
By: James Ijames
Director: Saheem Ali
Choreography: Darrell Moultrie
Cast list: Marcel Spears (as Juicy), Nikki Crawford (as Tedra), Chris Herbie Holland (as Tio), Billy Eugene Jones (as Rev/Papp), Adrianna Mitchell (as Opal), Calvin Leon Smith (as Larry), Benja Kay Thomas (as Rabby)
Design: Maruti Evans
Costume: Dominique Fawn Hill
Lighting: Bradley King
Sound: Mikaal Sulaiman
Other info: Hair and wig design by Earon Chew Nealey, illusions by Skylar Fox, fight direction by Lisa Kopitsky, singing coaching by Deborah Lapidus
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