Daniel J. Watts: Art & Freedom

Move This World Founder & CEO Sara Potler LaHayne talks with Daniel J. Watts, Tony nominee and multidisciplinary artist. The conversation, which includes Daniel’s mother Artez, covers topics ranging from finding freedom in artistic expression, to vulnerability, self-knowledge and patience. Listen and subscribe on your favorite podcast platform here. If you like this episode, leave us a 5-star rating and write a review to help other listeners find us, too! 


About Daniel J. Watts

Daniel J. Watts is an NYC based multidisciplinary artist.

For acting, Watts is a 2020 Tony Award nominee and Outer Critics Circle Award Winner for his portrayal of Ike Turner in the hit Broadway musical TINA. He has appeared in ten Broadway shows including Hamilton, Memphis, and After Midnight. He received the Barrymore Award (Peoples Light) and the LA Ovation Award (Geffen Playhouse) for Best Featured Actor for his portrayal of Sammy Davis, Jr. in “Lights Out: Nat King Cole” opposite Dulé Hill. TV credits include Season 3 of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, Seasons 1 & 2 of “The Last OG”, “Blindspot”, & “Vinyl”.

Off-Broadway he starred as You #2 in Ngozi Anyanwu’s stellar post pandemic Atlantic Theater production The Last of the Love Letters. We was the title character in Suzan-Lori Parks’ “Death of the Last Black Man in the Entire World AKA The Negro Book of the Dead” (Signature Theatre) & “Whorl Inside A Loop” (2nd Stage).

A play-on-words, Daniel J. Watts’ THE JAM pays homage to Watts’ great-grandmother who, after making jam from scratch, would share with others what she was unable to consume herself. THE JAM is Watts’ continuation of that legacy, blending elements of stand-up comedy and compelling storytelling with his original spoken word, often set to music and/or dance. The Jam: Only Child was a wide success at the 2020 Public Theatre Under The Radar Festival and has also streamed as part of the Signature Theater (DC) 2020-2021 season. Inaugural (2020) ANTONYO Award Winner for Best Quarantine Content.

Watts wrote and performed the original spoken word piece “What Does Your Silence Sound Like” for the 2021 CBS Broadway’s Back television special. His other original work and musical collaborations are featured on Raphael Saadiq’s newest album “Jimmy Lee”, Tituss Burgess’ “Saint Tituss”, Divinity Roxx’s ImPossible, Nick Blaemire’s “Ampersand”; as a contributing artist for Armstrong Now in conjunction with The Louis Armstrong House Museum; and featured in the young adult anthology “How I Resist” edited by New York Times Best Seller Maureen Johnson for Wednesday Books/Macmillan. His TED talk “To Accomplish Great Things, You Need to Let Paint Dry” appears at go.Ted.com/danieljwatts.

Watts is an artist in residence at ASU Gammage and also serves as an adjunct professor of NYU’s Tisch New Studio.
BFA Graduate Elon University Music Theatre Program. 2021 Commencement Speaker. 2011 Young Alumnus Award Recipient.


IG/Twitter: @dwattswords

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