Concord Theatricals has acquired the exclusive worldwide English-speaking stage licensing rights to James Ijames' 2022 Pulitzer-winning and 2023 Tony-nominated play Fat Ham. Currently making its Broadway premiere at the American Airlines Theatre, the work began previews March 21 and opened April 12. The limited engagement has been extended through June 25. The play was acquired by Concord for its Samuel French imprint.
“Samuel French was my introduction to so many plays and their publications [have] been a major part of my development, first as a performer and now as a playwright," says Ijames. "Concord licenses some of my favorite contemporaries and legends. I’m truly honored!”
Concord Theatricals Vice President of Acquisitions and Artistic Development Amy Rose Marsh adds, “Fat Ham is an exceptional, richly human work that deserves its place alongside other masterful plays. We expect to see productions years into the future.”
In a reinvention of Shakespeare's classic tragedy Hamlet, Ijames moves the action to a Southern cookout. There, queer college kid Juicy has to grapple with identity questions, the ghost of his father, and a supernatural demand for vengeance. The choice laid before him? Whether to break or perpetuate cycles of trauma and violence.
Reprising their roles from the award-winning Off-Broadway run of The Public and National Black Theatre co-production are Marcel Spears as Juicy, 2023 Tony nominee 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, and Benja Kay Thomas as Rabby; Crawford, Holland, Mitchell, Smith, and Spears are all making their Broadway debuts. Joining the Broadway cast as understudies are RJ Foster, Marquis D. Gibson, Alexandria Lewis, Matthew Elijah Webb, and Rema Webb.
Saheem Ali, who directed the Off-Broadway production, also directs the Broadway staging, marking his Main Stem debut. The creative team also features the return of scenic designer Maruti Evans, costume designer Dominique Fawn Hill, sound designer Mikaal Sulaiman, choreographer Darrell Grand Moultrie, hair and wig designer Earon Chew Nealey, and illusions designer Skylar Fox. They are joined by lighting designer Bradley King, fight director Lisa Kopitsky, and singing coach Deborah Lapidus. Casting is by Kate Murray.
In addition to earning a nomination for Best Play, Fat Ham also earned 2023 Tony nominations for Best Costume Design, Best Lighting Design, Best Direction, and Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role.
In addition to its originating producers The Public Theater and National Black Theatre which continues as co-producer, Fat Ham is produced on Broadway by Cynthia Erivo, Rashad V. Chambers, No Guarantees, and Public Theater Productions, while Andy Jones and Dylan Pager serve as executive producers. Tony nominee Colman Domingo serves as a co-producer.
Check out the Broadway production below.