2022 Pulitzer winner Fat Ham by James Ijames ends its New York premiere run Off-Broadway July 31. The multiple times-extended co-production between The Public Theater and National Black Theatre began May 12 and officially opened May 26 at The Public's Anspacher Theater.
In a reinvention of Shakespeare's Hamlet, Ijames' play takes place at a Southern cookout. The comic tragedy follows Juicy, a queer college kid as he grapples with identity questions, the ghost of his father, a supernatural demand for vengeance, and the choice of breaking or continuing cycles of trauma and violence.
Marcel Spears stars as Juicy, 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. Understudies include RJ Foster for Rev and Papp; Tanesha Gary for Tedra and Rabby; Marquis D. Gibson for Juicy, Larry, and Tio; Alexandria Brienne Lewis for Opal; and Matthew Elijah Webb for Juicy, Larry, and Tio.
The Public's Associate Artistic Director and Resident Director Saheem Ali directs the production, which also features scenic design by Maruti Evans, costume design by Dominique Fawn Hill, lighting design by Stacey Derosier, sound design by 2022 Tony nominee Mikaal Sulaiman, hair and wig design by Earon Chew Nealey, fight direction by Lisa Kopitsky, and choreography by Darrell Moultrie. Props are by Claire M. Kavanah, and illusions are by Skylar Fox. Jereme Kyle serves as production stage manager and Ryan Kane serves as stage manager.
“I’m thrilled that my play Fat Ham is being produced in collaboration between The Public Theater and National Black Theatre in Harlem,” said Ijames in an earlier statement. “It feels both like a new beginning and a reunion all at once. Both theatres represent the very best that theatre can offer to its community, and I’m honored to be invited into these two artistic spaces.”