Roasted to perfection: "Fat Ham" by James Ijames opens on Broadway
James Ijames is a playwright, director, and educator. His play “Fat Ham” opened at the American Airlines Theatre on Broadway last night. Ijames won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Drama for the work which is inspired by Shakespeare’s "Hamlet" but transfers the action to a family barbecue in the American South.
The main character, Juicy, is a queer 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.
“Fat Ham,” a New York Times Critics Pick, is directed by Saheem Ali and is presented by The Public Theatre and National Black Theatre.
Ijames' plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon, Wilma Theatre, Theatre Exile, Azuka Theatre (Philadelphia, PA), The National Black Theatre, JACK, The Public Theater (NYC), Hudson Valley Shakespeare Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre, Definition Theatre, Timeline Theater (Chicago IL) Shotgun Players (Berkeley, CA) and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright's Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theater, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre and Victory Garden.
In addition to the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Drama, Ijames' honors include the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist; two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Direction of a Play; a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting; the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for "WHITE;" the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for "The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington;" a 2017 Whiting Award; a 2019 Kesselring Prize for "Kill Move Paradise;" and 2020 and 2022 Steinberg Prizes.
James was a founding member of Orbiter 3, Philadelphia’s first playwright producing collective. He received a B.A. in Drama from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and a M.F.A. in Acting from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. James an Associate Professor of Theatre at Villanova University and a Co-Artistic director at the Wilma Theatre.