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November 17, 2023

'Fat Ham' by James Ijames kicks off The Wilma Theater’s bold new season

Tickets to the theater's 2023-24 season productions start at $29 and are available now

Performances Wilma Theater

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Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Fat Ham” by James Ijames kicks off The Wilma Theater’s bold new season.

Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Fat Ham” by James Ijames kicks off The Wilma Theater’s bold new season, including two world premieres and a reimagined classic. The Center City theater, conveniently located at Broad and Locust Streets, is on the Avenue of the Arts and is easy accessible from all directions!

Single tickets to The Wilma’s 2023-24 season productions start at $29 and are available now. You can make the most of this unforgettable season with a subscription for each of the four upcoming shows for only $108 during the week, or $124 on the weekends. The flexible four-ticket Whenever subscription – which includes four tickets to be used in any combination throughout the season – is $148. Subscription packages offer savings of up to 60% compared to single ticket purchases. Purchase your single tickets and subscriptions at or by calling the Wilma’s box office at 215-546-7824.

The Wilma Theater’s 2023-24 Season Productions:

“Fat Ham” by James Ijames

• Directed by Amina Robinson
• November 24 to December 23, 2023

The world premiere of "Fat Ham" was presented at The Wilma as a filmed production, directed by Morgan Green, during the 2020-21 Season. Ijames’s riff on Shakespeare’s Hamlet won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize and had a successful Broadway run in the Spring of 2023 that earned five Tony Award nominations, including Best Play.

In “Fat Ham,” Juicy is a queer, Southern college kid already grappling with some serious questions of identity. He’s setting up the family backyard for a party celebrating his mother Tedra’s recent marriage to his uncle Rev (Smiling) when the ghost of his father Pap shows up. Pap claims Rev had him killed and demands Juicy avenge him. But here’s the rub! Revenge doesn’t come easy to Juicy, a sensitive and self-aware young Black man searching for his own happiness and liberation. From an uproarious family cookout emerges a compelling examination of choosing pleasure over harm.

Cast: Donnie Hammond, Jessica Johnson, Anthony Martinez-Briggs, Zuhairah McGill, Brandon Pierce, Brenson Thomas, Lindsay Smiling

*World Premiere* “My Mama and The Full-Scale Invasion” by Sasha Denisova

 Translated by Misha Kachman, adapted by Kellie Mecleary
• Directed by Yury Urnov
• Co-Produced with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
• January 30 to February 18, 2024

Sasha’s 82-year-old mother has lived in Kyiv her whole life. When Russia invades Ukraine in 2022, Sasha copes with her fears by imagining her mother in increasingly fantastical situations: strategizing with President Zelenskyy, striking Russian drones with jars of pickles, and even debating with God. Denisova was inspired by her online chats with her mother to write this darkly funny and deeply heartfelt new play, a co-production with Washington, D.C.’s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.

“The Good Person of Setzuan” by Bertolt Brecht

 Translated by Wendy Arons, adapted by Tony Kushner
• Directed by Justin Jain
• April 2 to 21, 2024

Three Gods come to the city of Szechwan looking for one good person. But the rules keep changing in the thrum and bustle of this shantytown, which more closely resembles 21st-century Philadelphia than Brecht’s imagined ancient China. This classic parable is retold and reclaimed through the vision of director Justin Jain, working with an adaptation from playwright Tony Kushner (Angels in America), original live percussive music, and members of the Wilma HotHouse Company.

*World Premiere* “Hilma”

 Words by Kate Scelsa and music by Robert M. Johanson
• Directed by Morgan Green
• Produced in partnership with New Georges     
• June 4 to 23, 2024

The early 20th-century queer mystic and artist Hilma af Klint channeled hundreds of paintings through messages from otherworldly forces, hoping to communicate the mysteries of the universe. Only recently rediscovered and hailed as one of the first-ever abstract artists, she worked in obscurity during a time that was not yet ready to receive her message. This contemporary opera – with a score that mixes genres from opera, rock, pop, and musical theater – wrestles with the hubris and humility that fueled one woman's spiritual quest. Supported in part by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage.