5 Reasons FAT HAM is the Juiciest Show on Broadway

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The cast of Fat Ham | Photo: Joan Marcus

Jordanna Brody
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May 15, 2023 1:06 PM

If a Pulitzer Prize for Drama and five Tony Award nominations (including Best Play) aren’t enough reasons to make you want to see Fat Ham, I’ve got five more reasons why you absolutely can’t miss it! The cookout ends June 25, so you don’t want to miss your chance to experience this incredibly special play.

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. It feels like a familiar story to Juicy, well-versed in Hamlet’s woes. What’s different is Juicy himself, a sensitive and self-aware young Black man trying to break the cycles of trauma and violence in service of his own liberation.

Ijames's take on the story also sees Juicy, the Hamlet figure, consider nonviolent means of justice, fighting stereotypes about Black manhood.

  1. The incorporation of Shakespeare’s text 

The way Ijames incorporates original text from Hamlet, particularly for Juicy, surprised me in the best way possible. When Juicy turns to the audience and delivers his first soliloquy, I couldn’t help but lean in a little more, because I knew this show was going to be something special.

  1. Toxic masculinity? Never heard of her.

There’s a moment early on in the play when Tio talks to Juicy mentions being in therapy, and makes a point to mention the inherited trauma they’ve experienced. Just the thought that a man, and more importantly, a man of color is a complex person who goes to therapy is refreshing. 

  1. The “play” within the play

Traditionally, the play within the play in Hamlet is exactly what it sounds like. But Ijames’ interpretation of this moment is very clever. The characters play a game of charades so energetically, that as an audience member who knows what’s coming, you’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop…and boy does it.

  1. Potentially the best karaoke I’ve ever seen

Yet another backyard barbecue staple plays out in Fat Ham, karaoke. And boy, do Nikki Crawford and Marcel Spears deliver. No spoilers here, so if you want to know what I’m talking about, you’ll just have to see the show.

  1. Surprises at every turn

Just when the audience thinks they know how the play will end, there’s a series of surprises that genuinely made me gasp. Again, no spoilers, but the end of the play is unlike any other theatre experience I’ve ever had, and the energy in the American Airlines Theatre is something everyone has to experience before the show ends its run on June 25. 

Fat Ham is currently playing on Broadway at the American Airlines Theatre until June 25. For more information and tickets, visit here

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Jordanna Brody

Originally from South Florida, Jordanna Brody graduated from Emerson College with a BFA in Theatre Education and Performance in 2019. Her experience teaching, performing, directing, and working behind the scenes informs her perspective on theatre in every way. She is passionate about uplifting marginalized voices and innovative theatrical experiences.