FAT HAM Full Cast and Design Team Announced

Fat Ham begins rehearsals today, February 23. Preview performances begin on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, and the official opening is Wednesday, April 12, 2023.

By: Feb. 23, 2023
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FAT HAM Full Cast and Design Team Announced
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The full cast and design team has been announced for the Broadway production of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy Fat Ham by James Ijames*, directed by The Public Theater's Associate Artistic Director and Resident Director Saheem Ali*. Joining the previously announced complete original Off-Broadway cast-Nikki Crawford*, Chris Herbie Holland*, Billy Eugene Jones, Adrianna Mitchell*, Calvin Leon Smith*, Marcel Spears*, and Benja Kay Thomas-are RJ Foster (u/s Rev/Pap), Marquis D. Gibson* (u/s Juicy/Larry/Tio), Alexandria Lewis* (u/s Opal), Matthew Elijah Webb* (u/s Juicy/Larry/Tio), and Rema Webb (u/s Tedra/Rabby).

Joining the creative team for Fat Ham are Lisa Kopitsky (Fight Director), Sideeq Heard* (Associate Director), Abdur Jackson (Associate Choreographer), Jessica Kaplan (Associate Scenic Design), DeShon Elem (Assistant Costume Design), Aja M. Jackson* (Associate Lighting Design), DJ Potts (Associate Sound Design), Christian Cagigal* (Associate Illusions Design), and Deborah Lapidus (Singing Coach).

The previously announced creative team includes Maruti Evans* (Scenic Design), Dominique Fawn Hill* (Costume Design), Bradley King (Lighting Design), Mikaal Sulaiman (Sound Design), Darrell Grand Moultrie* (Choreographer) Earon Chew Nealey (Hair and Wig Design), Skylar Fox (Illusions Design), Kamra A. Jacobs (Production Stage Manager), Kate Murray (Casting), and Baseline Theatrical (General Management).

Fat Ham begins rehearsals today, February 23. Preview performances begin on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, and the official opening is Wednesday, April 12, 2023, at the American Airlines Theatre (227 West 42nd Street) on Broadway. This is a 14-week limited engagement through Sunday, June 25, 2023.

Fat Ham by James Ijames made its New York premiere in a critically acclaimed sold-out run-May 12-July 31, 2022, including a six-week extension-at The Public Theater, co-produced with the National Black Theatre, and hailed by The New York Times in its Critic's Pick review as an "outstanding transformation of Shakespeare's tragedy into a play about Black masculinity and queerness that both echoes Hamlet and finds a language beyond it." The play was commissioned by and received its world premiere as a filmed production at The Wilma Theater, Philadelphia; Ijames' play went on to win the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The Broadway transfer of Fat Ham represents National Black Theatre's first production on Broadway, and only the fifth play to be transferred by a Black theatre in Broadway's century-long history.

Fat Ham, the deliciously funny, Pulitzer Prize-winning new play, comes to Broadway following a critically acclaimed, sold-out run at The Public Theater. Playwright James Ijames and Director Saheem Ali reinvent Shakespeare's masterpiece, creating what The New York Times calls "a hilarious yet profound tragedy smothered in comedy."

Juicy is a queer, Southern college kid, already grappling with some serious questions of identity, when the ghost of his father shows up in their backyard, demanding that Juicy avenge his murder. But here's the rub! Revenge doesn't come easy to Juicy, a sensitive and self-aware young Black man in search of his own happiness and liberation. From an uproarious family cookout emerges a compelling examination of love and loss, pain and joy.

The performance schedule for Fat Ham is: Tuesday through Saturday at 8PM, Sunday at 7PM, with matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2PM. Beginning Tuesday, April 18, the performance schedule is: Tuesday through Friday at 7PM, Saturday at 8PM, with matinees on Wednesday and Saturday at 2PM, and Sunday at 3PM.

Nikki Crawford*

(Tedra). Regional: The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington (The Steppenwolf); Fat Ham (The Public Theater); Fairview (Woolly Mammoth Theatre); Stormy Weather (Pasadena Playhouse); Spamalot (1st Las Vegas Co); Man of La Mancha (La Mirada Theatre); Immediate Family (Mark Taper Forum); Showboat (Sacramento Music Circus); Play On! (Arena Stage). TV: Lifetime: "A Country Christmas Harmony," "NCIS LA," "9-1-1," "NCIS," "Selena: The Series," "United States of Al," "Criminal Minds," "PBS Great Performances: Play On!" Awards: NAACP Best Actress Theatre Award winner and LA Ovation Best Featured Actress nomination for Stormy Weather; Helen Hayes Award Best Supporting Actress nomination for Play On! Training: Carnegie Mellon, BFA.

Chris Herbie Holland*

(Tio) is an actor, music producer, songwriter, and creative. He recently starred in the off-Broadway Pulitzer Prize winning play Fat Ham at The Public Theater in NYC. Regional credits include White Noise at Berkeley Rep and The Box at Z-Space. His productions have gotten music placements on Showtime's "The Chi" as he frequently works with his longtime partner and collaborator Robyn Hood aka Miriam Hyman.

Billy Eugene Jones

(Rev/Pap). Broadway credits include A Soldier's Play, The Book of Mormon, A Raisin in the Sun, The Trip to Bountiful, The Big Knife, The Mountaintop, Passing Strange, Radio Golf and Gem of the Ocean. Off-Broadway credits include Fat Ham (Public Theater) On Sugarland (NYTW/ [Audelco Award for best actor, Drama Desk Nomination for best actor]), Where the Mountain Meets the Sea (Manhattan Theater Company), Much Ado About Nothing (NYSF), Pitbulls (Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre), The Jammer (Atlantic Theatre Company), In the Footprint (The Civilians), Waiting for Godot and Three Sisters (Classical Theatre of Harlem). Regional credits include Seven Guitars, Death of a Salesman, Good Faith, Richard II, Breath Boom (Yale Rep), Macbeth (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), The Good Negro (The Goodman), Stick Fly (Elliot Norton nomination for Best Supporting Actor/ Arena Stage and Huntington Theatre Company), Othello (CalShakes), Spunk (Actors Theatre of Louisville), The People Before the Park (Premiere Stages). Other stage credits include productions at Two River Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Hartford Stage, and numerous productions at The Dallas Theater Center. Billy is a graduate of Yale School of Drama.

Adrianna Mitchell*

(Opal) is honored to make her Broadway debut as "Opal" in the 2022 Pulitzer Prize winning Fat Ham after originating the role at The Public Theater. Her other major New York stage credits include "Three" in What To Send Up When It Goes Down at Playwrights Horizon; "Sister" in runboyrun at NY Theatre Workshop. A selected list of her regional credits includes Noises Off (Two River Theater); Romeo and Juliet (as "Juliet") and Taming of the Shrew (Chautauqua Theater); Measure for Measure (Actor's Shakespeare Project); Hamlet (opposite John Douglas Thompson) and A Christmas Carol (American Conservatory Theater). Ms. Mitchell heavily recurred as "Tanosse" on the FX hit series "Snowfall." She also performed guest star roles on "Queens" (ABC), "Bull" (CBS), "The Good Fight" (CBS), "The Blacklist" (NBC), "Little America" (Apple TV+), and "Lincoln Rhyme" (NBC). Other notable television includes a series regular role on "Harlem's Kitchen" opposite Delroy Lindo and Sheryl Lee Ralph (ABC Pilot). Ms. Mitchell is a graduate of Spelman College, Phi Beta Kappa, American Conservatory Theater (MFA); British American Drama

Calvin Leon Smith*

he/him (Larry). Off-Broadway: Fat Ham (Audelco nom). Tour: Sweat (The Public Theater's Mobile National). Regional: On the Grounds of Belonging (Long Wharf); Several plays at The Clarence Brown Theatre and The Actors Theatre of Louisville, Macbeth (Shakespeare on the Sound). TV/film: "The Underground Railroad" (Amazon),"The Deuce (HBO)," "High Maintenance" (HBO); Better Man (Best Actor in a Short, Queens World Film Festival), Paper Friends, RSVP. Upcoming: Benny and James; The Raging Heart of Maggie Acker. BA: University of Tennessee, Knoxville. MFA: The Juilliard School.

Marcel Spears*

(Juicy). Marcel played the role of 'Juicy' in The Public Theater/National Black Theatre production of Fat Ham. Spears co-stars in the hit CBS comedy series "The Neighborhood", now airing its 5th season. Prior to that, Spears was seen on the ABC comedy "The Mayor" and in the Netflix/BET film Always a Bridesmaid. Marcel's theater credits includes the West Coast premiere of Ironbound (Geffen Playhouse); At the Old Place (La Jolla Playhouse); Picasso at the Lapin Agile (Old Globe Theater); Ruben Santiago-Hudson's production of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (Two River Theater) and Trouble in Mind (Guthrie Theater). On the New York Stage, Spears was seen in Othello (Classic Stage Company), Mother Courage (Classic Stage Company), Judy (Page 73), and made his New York Stage debut in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Classic Stage Company, Rosemarie Tichler Fund Grant). Spears holds an MFA in acting from Columbia University.

Benja Kay Thomas

(Rabby) is a New York based actor. Broadway: Skeleton Crew. Off-Broadway: Fat Ham (The Public), Barbecue, (Atlantic Theater); Halfway Bitches Go Straight To Heaven and Bootycandy (Playwrights Horizons). Regional: Booty Candy (Baltimore Center Stage); Jazz (Wilma Theater). Film/TV: A Love Song, FBI (CBS), Gotham (FOX) A Beautiful Distraction (Netflix), Detective Chinatown 2, Warrior Class, A Gun For Jennifer. Awards: OBIE & AUDELCO! Benja is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and is a member of The Actors Center and the LAByrinth Theater Company.

RJ Foster

(u/s Rev/Pap). Broadway: The Lehman Trilogy. Off-Broadway: Public Theatre, Classic Stage Company, Billie Holiday Theatre, Classical Theatre of Harlem. Regional: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Folger Theatre, Arena Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company. TV: "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," "Bull," "The Good Fight," "Power," "Homeland," "Blacklist," "Blue Bloods." Love to B and Z.

Marquis D. Gibson

(u/s Juicy/Larry/Tio) Credits include: Fat Ham (Public Theater); Toni Stone (American Conservatory Theater); A Midsummer Night's Dream (Marin Shakespeare); The Christians, Sex With Strangers (Hippodrome Theatre); Shakespeare in Love (Cincinnati Playhouse; Baltimore CenterStage); 295N (Signature Theatre, DC); Wig Out (Studio Theatre); The Piano Lesson (Cape Fear Regional Theatre). Marquis is a graduate of Howard University.

Alexandria Lewis

she/her (u/s Opal) is a recent graduate from NYU Graduate Acting. Her credits there include: King Charles III, In the Blood, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Romeo and Juliet, among others. She has worked with directors such as Mark Wing-Davey, Cristina Angeles, Bob McGraff, Arin Arbus and Stevie Walker-Webb.


(u/s Juicy/Larry/Tio). Matthew started his NYC career understudying in Fat Ham at The Public Theater and is excited to make his Broadway debut a part of the HAMily! Earlier credits include the Yale Repertory Theater and Yale School of Drama in productions by Jeremy O. Harris, Rudi Goblen, and a.k. payne, among others. He is grateful to God, his family, team, and Eloise for their continuous support. MFA: Yale School of Drama. @matthewelijahwebb

Rema Webb

(u/s Tedra/Rabby) is excited to be a part of the Fat Ham family. Most recently, she appeared as Mrs Squires in The Music Man. Other Broadway credits: Escape to Margaritaville, The Color Purple, Violet, The Lion King, The Book of Mormon, & Ragtime. Off-Broadway/Regional credits: Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, Unmasked, Hercules, Little Shop of Horrors, Footloose, The Cradle Will Rock, The Colored Museum. She is Founder of the youth performing arts school www.onbroadway-patp.com. @remaweb

James Ijames*

(Playwright) is a Philadelphia-based playwright and educator. Ijames is the recipient of the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist, a Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the Terrence McNally New Play Award for White, the Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize for ...Miz Martha, a Whiting Award, a Kesselring Prize for Kill Move Paradise, a 2020 Steinberg Prize and a 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Fat Ham. He received a BA in drama from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, and a MFA in acting from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Ijames is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Villanova University.

Saheem Ali*

(Director) is a proud immigrant from Kenya. He is the Associate Artistic Director/Resident Director of The Public Theater in NYC. Recent productions include Goddess (Berkeley Rep), Fat Ham, Merry Wives (The Public), Nollywood Dreams (MCC), Romeo y Julieta, Shipwreck and Richard II (radio plays). Other productions: Fires in The Mirror (Signature Theater), The Rolling Stone (Lincoln Center Theater), The New Englanders (MTC), Passage (Soho Rep), Fireflies (Atlantic Theater Company), Dangerous House (Williamstown Theater Festival), Sugar in Our Wounds (MTC), Tartuffe (Playmakers Rep), Where Storms Are Born (WTF), Twelfth Night (The Public), Kill Move Paradise (National Black Theater) and Dot (Detroit Public Theater). He has workshopped new plays at Playwrights Horizons, Playwrights Realm, MCC, New York Stage & Film, Page 73 and The Lark. He is a Usual Suspect at New York Theater Workshop, Sir John Gielgud SDCF Fellow and a Shubert Fellow.

Rashad V. Chambers

is a Tony Award-winning producer, talent manager and lawyer. He is the Founder and President of Esquire Entertainment. Rashad recently produced the New York premiere of the award-winning musical Little Girl Blue: The Nina Simone Musical. His Broadway producing credits include American Son, Ain't Too Proud, Betrayal, The Inheritance, Caroline, or Change, The Music Man, and Topdog/Underdog. Rashad attended Morehouse College where he graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration. He also earned his JD and MBA degrees from The Ohio State University. Rashad is a founding member of The Industry Standard Group as well as a board member of On Broadway Performing Arts Training Program and Houses on the Moon Theater Company. esquireentertainment.com.

No Guarantees

is a theatrical production company led by Christine Schwarzman (Founder and President) and Darren Edward Johnston (Executive-Vice President). No Guarantees is a three-time Tony Award winner for Hadestown (2019), Company (2022) and The Lehman Trilogy (2022), and an eight-time Tony nominee. Recently, No Guarantees opened the world premiere of Saheem Ali, Jocelyn Bioh, and Michael Thurber's Goddess at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. In addition to Fat Ham, Andrew Lloyd Webber's Bad Cinderella premieres on Broadway this season. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, No Guarantees executive produced The National Theatre's film adaptations of Romeo and Juliet (PBS/Sky), starring Josh O'Connor and Jessie Buckley, and Death of England: Face To Face (Sky), both filmed entirely on The National Theatre stage. Off-Broadway, No Guarantees is proud to have supported the New York premieres of David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori's Soft Power (Public Theater), Celine Song's Endlings (New York Theatre Workshop), and Whitney White's Definition: An Installation Experience (Bushwick Starr). Additional Broadway credits include The Old Man And The Pool, Leopoldstadt, Funny Girl, Beetlejuice, Macbeth with Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, King Lear with Glenda Jackson, Taylor Mac's Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus, and Mean Girls.


(NBT), the nation's first revenue-generating Black arts complex, was founded in 1968 by the late visionary artist Dr. Barbara Ann Teer. NBT is the longest-running Black theatre in New York City, one of the oldest theatres founded and consistently operated by a woman of color in the nation, and most recently included in the permanent collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. NBT's core mission is to produce transformational theatre that helps to shift the inaccuracies around African Americans' cultural identity by telling authentic stories of Black lifes. As an alternative learning environment, NBT uses theatre arts as a means to educate, enrich, entertain, empower and inform the national conscience around current social issues impacting our communities. Under the leadership of Sade Lythcott, CEO, and Jonathan McCrory, Executive Artistic Director, NBT helps re-shape a more inclusive American theatre field by providing an artistically rigorous and culturally sensitive space for artists of color to experiment, develop and present new work. Working with trailblazing artists from Nona Hendrix to Jeremy O. Harris, and helping to launch the careers, most recently, of artists such as Dominique Morisseau, Radha Blank, Mfoniso Udofia, Saheem Ali, Lee Edward Colston II, and Ebony Noelle Golden, and incubating Obie Award-winning companies like The Movement Theatre Company and Harlem9's 48Hours in Harlem, NBT's cultural production remains unparalleled. Located in the heart of Harlem, NBT welcomes more than 90,000 visitors annually; has produced 300+ original works; won an Obie award and 58 Audelco Awards; received a CEBA Award of Merit; and has been nominated for multiple Drama Desk awards. NBT is supported by grants from Booth Ferris Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Ford Foundation, New York Community Trust, Shubert Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Mellon Foundation, Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation, William Randolph Hearst Foundation, City Council of New York, City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and private donations. Visit nationalblacktheatre.org or follow NBT on Facebook (@NationalBlackTheatre) and Twitter/Instagram (@NatBlackTheatre).

The Public Theater

continues the work of its visionary founder Joe Papp as a civic institution engaging, both on stage and off, with some of the most important ideas and social issues of today. Conceived over 60 years ago as one of the nation's first nonprofit theaters, The Public has long operated on the principles that theater is an essential cultural force and that art and culture belong to everyone. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham, The Public's wide breadth of programming includes an annual season of new work at its landmark home at Astor Place, Free Shakespeare in the Park at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park, the Mobile Unit touring throughout New York City's five boroughs, Under the Radar, Public Works, Public Shakespeare Initiative, and Joe's Pub. Since premiering HAIR in 1967, The Public continues to create the canon of American Theater and is currently represented on Broadway by the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ain't No Mo' by Jordan E. Cooper. Their programs and productions can also be seen regionally across the country and around the world. The Public has received 60 Tony Awards, 184 Obie Awards, 56 Drama Desk Awards, 59 Lortel Awards, 34 Outer Critic Circle Awards, 13 New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards, 62 AUDELCO Awards, 6 Antonyo Awards, and 6 Pulitzer Prizes. publictheater.org

Public Theater Productions is the commercial producing arm of The Public Theater.

*Broadway debut

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