Theater Groups in South Florida Receive Grant Funding for Shakespeare Remake

The funds will allow a modern-day generational comedy take on Shakespeare’s Hamlet to be performed in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

Island City Stage in Wilton Manors, GableStage in Coral Gables, and Brévo Theatre in Pompano Beach will receive $250,000 from the Warten Foundation to produce the 2022 Pulitzer Prize-winning play by James ljames, Fat Ham, in South Florida. This is the first time these three prominent theater groups in Broward and Miami-Dade counties are collaborating, and it is also a South Florida premiere for this innovative and humorous interpretation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet that explores identity, race, and family issues across generations. Fat Ham is presented through an agreement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.

“Collectively, our three companies are thrilled the Warten Foundation has made this significant commitment,” Martin Childers says, managing director of Island City Stage. “By joining our creative forces and unique strengths, we can create a more accomplished and impactful production than each of us could have working individually.”

The Warten Foundation grant has been earmarked to provide two theaters with the necessary resources to complete the production’s realization, casting, and staging and to attract new audiences for all three companies involved.

“The Warten Foundation is pleased to fund this historic collaboration that offers a rare opportunity for three highly lauded theater groups to authentically address their respective missions and use the unique powers of live theater to continue the discussion regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion within the context of a brilliant and funny theatrical production,” Clifford J. Cideko says, chairman of the Warten Foundation.

Fat Ham is an award-winning adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which takes place in a North Carolina BBQ pit. The play features a unique twist where the Danish castle is transformed into a Southern backyard barbecue. The main protagonist, Juicy, a Black, gay southern kid, wrestles with familial legacies and a ghostly demand for vengeance. The play explores the complexities of identity and violence as the clash of generations unfolds. Jesse Green, theater critic for The New York Times, wrote, “That Fat Ham achieves its happy, even joyful, ending honestly, without denying the weight of forces that make Hamlet feel just as honest, is a sign of how capacious and original the writing is, growing the skin of its own necessity instead of merely burrowing into Shakespeare’s.”

“Theatre is all about celebrating humanity and the power of storytelling,” T.M. Pride says, producing artistic director for Brévo Theatre, who will also direct this South Florida production. “Fat Ham is an opportunity to celebrate black culture within a classical framework. It’s an honor to direct James Ijames’ reimagining of this classic tale and bring it to the vibrant communities throughout South Florida.” 

Fat Ham is scheduled to premiere during three theatre companies’ 2024-25 seasons. The play’s initial run will begin at Island City Stage in May 2025 and then be moved to GableStage. Further details regarding the casting and production design team will be disclosed later this year. The theaters will announce their full seasons of plays, programs, and pricing for 2024-25 individually in the upcoming weeks.

“GableStage is honored to collaborate with Island City Stage and Brévo Theatre in producing this groundbreaking production of Fat Ham,” Rosalyn Stuzin says, GableStage board president. “We’re particularly excited about the opportunity to connect this contemporary adaptation of Hamlet with our ongoing Shakespeare in Schools program, allowing the Miami-Dade County community to experience both the classic and its modern reimagining.”

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.