Philadelphia Playwright, James Ijames, Wins Pulitzer Prize in Drama, Debuts Brand New Show Reverie

-Courtesy of Aversa PR & Events

Philadelphia playwright Jame Ijames has won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Drama for his play Fat Ham. For Philadelphia and regional audiences wishing to see work by Ijames his brand new show Reverie is on stage now with Azuka Theatre. Azuka, Ijames and Fat Ham have a history that spans several years, as Ijames is a member at large of Azuka’s New Pages playwriting organization where Fat Ham was worked on. Fat Ham debuted at an in-house reading with Azuka for the first full script in 2019, and Azuka hosted a public reading for Fat Ham in February 2020. Azuka’s entire artistic team sends Ijames their congratulations on this amazing and well deserved honor.  Ijames’ current new show Reverie is part of Azuka’s new season of new works by all Philadelphia playwrights. It is also part of the Azuka’s commitment to the community by extending the innovative pay-what-you-decide box office initiative. No money is exchanged in advance for tickets to Reverie to ensure that shows are accessible to the public. For those wishing to catch Ijames new play Reverie, reservations can be made at https://www.azukatheatre.org/reverie.

”I’m grateful for the loving development and support I’ve been given by Azuka and specifically the role they played in the development of Fat Ham,” said Playwright and Pulitzer Prize Winner James Ijames.

Azuka Theatre’s Executive Director Kevin Glaccum, who worked with Ijames for several years, said, “We’re overjoyed to see James receive this incredible honor. We’ve been fans of his for a long time, and are happy we could play a small part in his success. Azuka has done readings of two of James’ plays, By and By and Fat Ham along with our current production of Reverie. James’ work is smart, funny and wonderfully human. Now the country will discover what Philadelphia has known for a while, James Ijames is a treasure.”

Azuka’s new Co-Artistic Directors also send out their congratulations to Ijames.

“We are thrilled for James and his remarkable achievement,” said Azuka Theatre’s Co-Artistic Director Rebecca May Flowers. “Each and every one of his plays is thoughtful, funny, and profound in its own right. The same is true for his lovely play Reverie, running through May 22 at Azuka Theatre.”

“James Ijames is an amazing and heartfelt storyteller,” said Reva Stover, Azuka Theatre’s Co-Artistic Director. “It is no surprise that his work has risen to this level of success, and we know it will only continue to grow. James’s relationship with Azuka and New Pages has only made this moment sweeter as we have the honor of producing another of his brilliant plays, Reverie, through May 22 at Azuka Theatre. We can’t wait to see what story he tells next.”

Fat Ham‘s history with Azuka goes back to the New Pages playwriting circle, under the then leadership of former Artistic Associate Maura Krause. She said, “Sharing space with James is always a privilege and a delight, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that his brilliant, passionate work has gotten this tremendous recognition. The first time James brought in scenes from Fat Ham, we read them within the group. Even a bunch of non-actor writers reading couldn’t dim the luminous words on the page, and we were left breathlessly awaiting more. When we did an in-house reading of a full draft of Fat Ham with actors a few months later, everyone present was mesmerized by the heartfelt yet subversive genius of the script. Getting to support James as he developed this profoundly meaningful and aesthetically dazzling play was a true honor. Since that first reading in Azuka’s conference room I’ve hoped Fat Ham gets produced absolutely everywhere — the world needs it.”

For New Pages, James Ijames an inaugural member of New Pages back in 2018 when the group formed. He then became a member at large in 2020. For Fat Ham, Ijames worked Azuka and other notable Philadelphia playwrights, which led to the in-house and public readings of Fat Ham in 2019 and 2020.

For those new to New Pages, Azuka Theatre’s writers group was created to give local playwrights a truly writer-centric space to develop their work. Based on the needs and processes of the individuals in the group, New Pages seeks to support Philadelphia playwrights from the spark of an idea to a production-ready script. Accordingly, Azuka Theatre has committed to producing at least one play per season by a writer from this group for the foreseeable future. The first writers group in Philadelphia to make a production commitment, New Pages hopes to foster playwrights as they build full bodies of work and deepen their roots in this city. This program was developed by former Artistic Associate Maura Krause with the support of an Independence New Works Grant.

“The journey that James has been on as a playwright was always charted in this direction—success, recognition, and well deserved accolades,” said Azuka Theatre’s Resident Dramaturg for New Pages Quinn Eli. “His voice has always thrilled us here in Philly, and more and more the world is learning of his unique ability to share wisdom and lift spirits. In all of James’s work, including Reverie, the greatest award is being reminded of the humanity that connects us all.”

For audiences wishing to see work by the brand new Pulitzer Prize winner, Ijames debuts Reverie right now on stage with Azuka Theatre through May 22, 2022, at the Proscenium Theatre at The Drake (302 S. Hicks Street). The show is directed by Jerrell L. Henderson. Azuka thanks Producers Gayle & David Smith and Honorary Producers Dr. Joel and Bobbie Porter.

Reverie is a story that deals with grief, being true to yourself and the family dynamics that can make that so challenging. When Jordan answers a knock at his door, he’s expecting to see his most recent assignation standing there, but instead encounters Paul, the father of a former boyfriend. Paul’s son Lucas died six months ago, and Paul found Jordan’s address amongst his son’s belongings.

Reverie (as well as other Azuka shows this season- Carroll County Fix and Young Money) ties in with Azuka’s larger season vision of bringing to the stage stories of everyday people whose voices aren’t typically amplified by the theatre. “

The show runs Wednesdays to Sundays, through May 22, 2022. For info and reservation information (pay what you decide), please visit azukatheatre.org or call (215) 563-1100.

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