James Ijames’ ‘Fat Ham’ 2022 Awarded Pulitzer Prize For Drama – Deadline


Fat Ham, playwright James Ijames’ comedy-drama reinvention of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, received the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Drama today, just days before the acclaimed play is to make its New York debut at the Public Theater Off Broadway.

“A funny, poignant play that deftly transposes Hamlet to a family barbecue in the American South to grapple with questions of identity, kinship, responsibility and honesty,” said Pulitzer Prize Administrator Marjorie Miller in announcing the prize. Fat Ham took the honor over two other finalists, Selling Kabul by Sylvia Khoury and Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord by Kristina Wong.

Fat Ham, which premiered last year in a filmed production for the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, begins its New York engagement at the Public Theater on May 12, running through June 12. A co-production with National Black Theatre, Fat Ham will be directed by Saheem Ali.

Watch a trailer for the Wilma Theater production of Fat Ham above.

The Public’s website provides the following description of Ijames’ 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. From an uproarious family barbecue emerges a compelling examination of love and loss, pain and joy. Fat Ham is a delectable comic tragedy directed by The Public’s Associate Artistic Director Saheem Ali.”

Today’s Pulitzer announcement follows by just hours the unveiling of this year’s Tony Award nominations, which were topped in number – 11 nominations – by Michael R. Jackson’s 2020 2020 Pulitzer Prize-winning A Strange Loop. That musical had its world premiere at New York’s Off Broadway Playwrights Horizons, in collaboration with Page 73 Productions, in May 2019, and also features a young, Black queer man as its main character.

Last year’s Pulitzer winner, Katori Hall’s comedy-drama play The Hot Wing King, was given its world premiere by Off Broadway’s Signature Theatre Company just before the 2020 pandemic shutdown.

Cost of Living, Martyna Majok’s play that won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, will be getting its Broadway premiere this fall, the Manhattan Theatre Club announced recently.

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Originally published at deadline.com

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