Reviews: What Do Critics Think of Fat Ham on Broadway? | Playbill

The Verdict Reviews: What Do Critics Think of Fat Ham on Broadway?

James Ijames' Pulitzer-winning take on Hamlet makes its Main Stem premiere at the American Airlines Theatre.

Nikki Crawford, Billy Eugene Jones, Benja Kay Thomas, Adrianna Mitchell, Calvin Leon Smith, and Marcel Spears Joan Marcus

The reviews are rolling in for James Ijames' Pulitzer-winning play Fat Ham, which opened at the American Airlines Theatre on April 12 after beginning previews on March 21 for a 14-week engagement. Saheem Ali is at the helm.

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 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; Crawford, Holland, Mitchell, Smith, and Spears are all making their Broadway debuts.

READ: In Fat Ham, James Ijames Reinvents Hamlet Through a Lens of Blackness and Queerness

Joining the Broadway cast as understudies are RJ Foster, Marquis D. Gibson, Alexandria Lewis, Matthew Elijah Webb, and Rema Webb.

Read the reviews here.

AM NY (Matt Windman)

Broadway News (Brittani Samuel)

Chelsea Community News (Michael Musto)

CitiTour NY (Brian Lipton)

The Daily Beast (Tim Teeman)*

Deadline (Greg Evans)

Entertainment Weekly (Lester Fabian Brathwaite)

The Guardian (Gloria Oladipo)

New York Daily News (Chris Jones)*

New York Post (Johnny Oleksinski)

New York Stage Review (Roma Torre, Melissa Rose Bernardo)

New York Sun (Elysa Gardner)

New York Theater (Jonathan Mandell)

New York Theatre Guide (Allison Considine)

The New York Times (Jesse Green)*

Slant Magazine (Dan Rubins)

Talkin' Broadway (Howard Miller)

TheaterMania (Pete Hempstead)

TimeOut (Raven Snook)

Variety (Naveen Kumar)

Vulture (Jackson McHenry)*

The Wrap (Robert Hofler)

*This review requires creating a free account or a paid subscription.

Playbill will continue to update this list as reviews come in.

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.

Fat Ham is produced on Broadway by the recently announced 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.

"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 theatre explodes," said a previous joint statement from Chambers, No Guarantees, Public Theater Productions, and National Black Theatre. "It’s the most exciting experience available to us theatre-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."

To rush Fat Ham, find out more about the show's recently announced digital policy. Additionally, the show has recently announced a series of affinity events.

General management is by Baseline Theatrical.

Watch the cast of Fat Ham take their first Broadway bows below.

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