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'Fat Ham' to premiere on Broadway in spring 2023

James Ijames's play won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Gillian Russo
Gillian Russo

Fire up the grill! After a world-premiere Off-Broadway run, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Fat Ham has set a Broadway transfer. Performances will begin at the American Airlines Theatre on March 21 ahead of an April 12 opening night, with the limited engagement running through August 6.

James Ijames's play is a send-up of Shakespeare's Hamlet, setting the action at a present-day Southern barbecue. Its central character — a Black, queer man named Juicy — is tasked with killing his uncle to avenge his father's death, like Hamlet. But unlike Hamlet, Juicy is questioning whether strength or softness makes him a man, and he struggles to accept that violence is his only option.

Philadelphia's Wilma Theater presented Fat Ham's virtual world premiere in 2021. The Public Theater mounted its in-person and Off-Broadway premiere, co-produced by National Black Theatre. Three days before performances began, the show won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Fat Ham went on to extend by six weeks due to popular demand and receive critical acclaim. A four-star New York Theatre Guide review reads, "Running 90 unbroken minutes, it is by turns hilarious, chaotic and weirdly lovely... This slice of life leans hard into comedy, not tragedy, as it ponders big things that matter: personal identity, sexuality, transparency, living out loud."

Saheem Ali directed the Off-Broadway production. The entire Off-Broadway cast returns for Fat Ham on Broadway, including Nikki Crawford as Tedra, Chris Herbie Holland as Tio, Billy Eugene Jones as Rev/Pap, Adrianna Mitchell as Opal, Calvin Leon Smith as Larry, Marcel Spears as Juicy, and Benja Kay Thomas as Rabby.

The creative team includes scenic designer Maruti Evans, costume designer Dominique Fawn Hill, lighting designer Bradley King, sound designer Mikaal Sulaiman, hair and wig designer Earon Chew Nealey, illusion designer Skylar Fox, and choreographer Darrell Grand Moultrie.

Though the production takes place at the American Airlines Theatre, which is owned by Roundabout Theatre Company, Fat Ham is not a Roundabout production.

Get Fat Ham tickets now.

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Photo credit: The cast of Fat Ham at The Public Theater. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

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