The award-winning Off-Broadway show, “HAM: A Musical Memoir,” filmed live on stage, has been acquired by Global Digital Releasing. The film will make its theatrical debut on Laemmle’s virtual platform December 3rd before heading to BroadwayHD, the premiere subscription service for live theater, where it will begin streaming exclusively January 7th, 2021.
Based on Tony Award nominee and multi-platinum recording artist Sam Harris’s critically acclaimed book, “Ham: Slices of a Life”, the original stage production (in which Harris plays twelve different characters) was developed and directed by Tony and Emmy-Award winning actor, Billy Porter. HAM ran in New York and Los Angeles, was filmed at The Pasadena Playhouse, and received Ovation Awards for Best Musical, Best Actor and Best Musical Director and was praised by critics including The New York Times, who referred to HAM as “EXCEPTIONAL, FUNNY, TOUCHING!,” while The L.A. Times Critic’s Choice called it “CAPTIVATING! AN UNMISSABLE EXPERIENCE!,” and Broadway World raved “SHEER MAGIC!”
HAM: A Musical Memoir is the comic and poignant true story of Sam Harris’s life growing up in Oklahoma’s Bible Belt during the 60s and 70s as a sensitive and prodigiously talented kid who dreams of playing Helen Keller at age 5, wishes he was Jewish at 10, finds his voice in the black church at 15, and falls in love with a boy “who looks just like Cary Grant,” followed by a depression that leads to a suicide attempt. Sam flees to Los Angeles where he sings at every dump and dive in town, finally ending up on a new TV show called Star Search (precursor to American Idol) winning the hearts of America. Fame ensues – Broadway, television, albums, Carnegie Hall. But for Sam, less is…less. And more is never enough. After the highs and lows of a life in show business, Sam is finally forced to confront the merciless question: what is enough?
Billy Porter said, “When Sam asked me to help him develop his critically acclaimed memoir Ham: Slices of a Life into a musical theater piece, I jumped at the chance to work with my friend of 25 years. Sam is a tsunami of talent and the work we did in New York resulted in a production that showcased all of Sam’s extraordinary talents—as a writer, songwriter, actor, and of course, that voice! It got phenomenal reviews and went on to play Los Angeles in an award-winning production directed by Ken Sawyer. The film reveals Sam Harris as one of the great showmen of our time, who can have you in hysterics one moment and break your heart the next. Ham is more than Sam’s personal story – its message is universal. It is hilarious, it is raw, it is inspirational and above all, it is human.”
“We are beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to bring this inspiring, heartfelt movie musical to audiences. Sam Harris’s performance is truly uplifting and I can’t think of a better time for this to be released for the World to experience,” stated Global Digital Releasing President, Joe Dain.
Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley, co-founders of BroadwayHD said, “Sam Harris is a legendary talent and HAM: A Musical Memoir is an artfully crafted and performed production that we are incredibly excited to bring to the BroadwayHD platform. We are sure that many of our subscribers will be thrilled to watch the production and will be giving it a standing ovation from their living rooms.”
HAM is Executive Produced by five-time Tony Award nominee, Suzi Dietz (TOPDOG UNDERDOG, FELA!, MOTHERS AND SONS), directed for the screen by Andrew Putschoegl (STEPHEN TOBOLOWSKY’S BIRTHDAY, NERDGASM), directed for the stage by Ken Sawyer (ONE RED FLOWER, MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET), and features musical director/co-composer, Todd Schroeder, (LONGINGFORLOVE.COM, DAS MUSICAL). The films boasts a score of original and well-known songs including, Don’t Rain on My Parade, I Am Changing and Harris’s signature version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
Harris, who is represented by Craig Dorfman of Frontline Management, recently released his first fiction, “The Substance of All Things” which has garnered rave reviews, with Publishers Weekly calling it, “A stunning debut novel. A powerful, aching, deeply felt and finely tuned story.” Harris has also had a remarkable career on Broadway and the stage with roles in The Producers and Tommy Tune’s Grease starring as Doody alongside Rosie O’ Donnell. He also received a Tony, Outer Critic’s Circle and Drama Desk nominations for his work in Cy Coleman’s The Life, along with a Drama League Award and Drama Desk nomination.
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