Cynthia Erivo Joins Producing Team For James Ijames’ Broadway Play Fat Ham

cynthia erivo fat ham

Cynthia Erivo has joined the producing team of James Ijames’ Broadway play Fat Ham, as it heads to Broadway, one year after winning the Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

“Almost 10 years ago, I was introduced to the Broadway community in a musical that shook my world and changed my life irrevocably,” Erivo said in a statement to Variety. “I have been waiting for the right opportunity to return to the theater community and am thrilled to be back, this time as a first-time producer with ‘Fat Ham.’”

“Fat Ham” will begin performances on Tues., March 21, and officially open on Wed., April 12, at the American Airlines Theatre on Broadway for a strictly limited 14-week engagement through Sun., June 25.

Erivo joins the producing team which already credits Colman Domingo as one of it’s other co-producers. He previously echoed similar sentiments, “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.

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