Colman Domingo to Produce James Ijames’ Fat Ham — Which is National Black Theatre’s First Production to Head to Broadway

Colman-Domingo-fat ham

Colman Domingo has joined as a co-producer of James Ijames’ production Fat Ham as it heads to Broadway, one year after winning the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. The production marks Colman’s, who has Broadway writing credits, first producing credit.

“I am beyond thrilled to be a co-producer on The National Black Theater and Public Theater transfer of James Ijames thrilling ‘Fat Ham’ directed by my dear friend and visionary director Saheem Ali,” Domingo said in a statement. “This is the kind of theater that we need on Broadway — bold reimaginings of stories that fuel us all!”

Fat Ham, written by James Ijames, explores the life of a family, with a focus on a young college student who is troubled by his mother’s decision to remarry his late father’s brother. In this version, the family is Black and the young man is gay, and Ijames seeks to use comedy and his own twists to challenge the cycle of violence.

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The Broadway production will feature the same cast and be directed by Saheem Ali, who is an associate artistic director at the Public. Marcel Spears will star as the Hamlet figure, Juicy. The production is scheduled to begin previews on March 21 and open on April 12 at the American Airlines Theater.

Ijames has made some minor changes to the script for Broadway, with more significant changes being made to the staging as it shifts from an amphitheater-like setup at the Public to the more traditional proscenium theater at the American Airlines.

“Fat Ham” had its initial production online, filmed by the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, where Ijames is one of three artistic directors. It was well received, with Jesse Green, the chief theater critic for The New York Times, calling it “hilarious yet profound” and a “rare takeoff that actually takes off and then flies in its own smart direction.”

The play then had a run earlier this year at the Public Theater in New York, co-produced by the National Black Theater. It is the first National Black Theatre production to head to Broadway and only the third play to transfer from any Black theater to Broadway.

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“Fat Ham” is produced on Broadway by Rashad V. Chambers, No Guarantees and Public Theater Productions. Andy Jones and Dylan Pager will serve as executive producers.

Domingo’s Broadway performance credits include “Chicago,” “Well,” “Passing Strange” and “The Scottsboro Boys,” the latter for which he received a Tony nod. He also wrote the book for the Donna Summer bio-musical “Summer.” Most recently, Domingo has been starring as Victor Strand on the hit series “Fear of the Walking Dead” and appearing as Ali on “Euphoria.” He recently wrapped filming the movie-musical version of “The Color Purple” in the role of Mister.

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