“HAM : A Musical Memoir” Review: A Fun Yet Emotional Journey

HAM A Musical Memoir
HAM: A Musical Memoir (Image: Screengrab)

HAM: A Musical Memoir is a filmed version of Sam Harris’s Off-Broadway one-man show chronicling his life as a kid interested in theatre, coming to terms with his sexuality, what it means to be happy, and more. There’s a bunch of emotional moments on display as Harris gives the audience a full view of his journey.

I was provided with a free screener of HAM: The Musical Memoir for review. The opinions shared are my own.

Trigger warning: This post briefly mentions suicide.

Kudos to Sam Harris for putting up a one-man show that was able to grab and maintain my attention throughout the approximately 2 hours-long runtime. I was instantly invested in his life as soon as he began his story. Growing up in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, wasn’t the perfect experience for Harris. As someone interested in theatre, Harris knew he was different. He was also quite a mess as a child. The story about how he wanted to play Helen Keller in a local production took me out! 

Harris paid a lot of attention to creating as clear a picture as possible for the audience as he acted out each scene. Being the only actor on the stage (with Todd Schroeder on the piano), Harris had to exhibit a lot of skill when portraying other people from his life and making sure they had distinct personalities as he switched between the numerous roles. He also had to speak and sing his way through the entire show.

Sam Harris is impressively talented! 

Another thing I enjoyed about watching HAM: A Musical Memoir was Harris’s willingness to make fun of himself. Our lead hasn’t always made the best decisions in his life and that’s okay. One should try to acknowledge failure and move on with a smile. An event or a problem that might appear too serious to you right now could very well end up being something you’ll laugh about down the line. So, keep going!

While this show had a lot of laughs, it wasn’t without deeper scenes. HAM: A Musical Memoir addressed mental health issues and the struggles many happen to experience while growing up as queer individuals. Things have become better, of course. But the world was very different when Harris was young. Putting queer sexuality to the side, I think a majority of viewers will relate to Harris’ self-doubt. Even as adults, we experience moments where we ask ourselves, “Am I good enough?”

Harris also talked about his attempt to take his life and what helped him not go through with it.

Again, while filled with comedy, HAM: The Musical Memoir doesn’t shy away from showcasing the darker aspects of Harris’ journey to become who he is.

HAM: The Musical Memoir is a great watch for fans of musicals (or comedy in general) that’s all about loving your complete self and not giving up.

It was Executive Produced by five-time Tony Award nominee Suzi Dietz, directed for the screen by Andrew Putschoegl, and directed for the stage by Ken Sawyer.

HAM: A Musical Memoir began exclusively streaming on BroadwayHD on January 7, 2021. You can start your 7-Day free trial by visiting https://www.broadwayhd.com.

The BroadwayHD streaming service offers access to a library of more than 300 theatre productions from Broadway, The West End, and beyond. 

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Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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