"Hamilton's" Daniel J. Watts rocking it at Joe’s Pub with The Jam: Only Child


 Photo courtesy of Simply Greg

Daniel J. Watts is quick-witted, so very quick-witted reminding me of our conversation that no two shows of The Jam: Only Child are alike. Watts likes to “flow” and see where the material takes him.  To feel the audience and let that energy guide him through the process.

When he left Hamilton, a lot of people pondered and asked why followed by what’s next?  A man who stands on creative spontaneity, I can imagine how quickly the gears of Watts' brain were churning.  For the record, in addition to the February 19th performance of The Jam: Only Child, he will be seen in TBS’ upcoming “The Last O.G.,” and Signature Theatre’s The Death of The Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World.

But back to Joe’s Pub at the Public, under his production company—WattsWords Productions—his next venture is Watts' aforementioned The Jam: Only Child which is an evening of music, dance and spoken word ( Monday, February 19) at Joe’s Pub at The Public at New York’s famed Public Theater (425 Lafayette Street). The doors open at 9 pm and the show begins at 9.30pm.

The dynamic performer will be sharing the stage with DJ Duggz, aka Preston Dugger III (Motown the Musical, Memphis) who will keep the crowd hyped, spinning through the evening.

Watts is a sentimental man and although The Jam: Only Child is a play-on-words, this play pays homage to Watts’ great-grandmother who, after making jam from scratch, would share with others what she was unable to consume herself. A stunning memory and one, I suspect, that many of us share in our collective cultures. Brown, Black and Native people from a historical point-of-view have always shared their bounty.  That’s why, in part, the Native population got into trouble with trying to “share” with the starving pilgrims.

The Jam: Only Child is Watts’ continuation of that legacy featuring his original spoken word, often set to music and dance. This is Watts’ second installation of The Jam: Only Child after premiering it last summer as one of historic Webster Hall’s final acts before closing its doors forever in August.

In 2016, the stage blazed galvanizing cast members from Hamilton, On Your Feet, and Shuffle Along and there Watts played to a packed house in Webster Hall’s Marlin Room with The Jam: Love Terrorists - A Benefit for Orlando. The event raised $7500 for the LGBT community in Orlando after the horrific attack at Pulse Night Club.

Forever a curious artist Watts is all about shaking it up and his WattsWords Productions is dedicated to developing original programming including live performances, web content, and demonstrations written by Daniel J. Watts in an effort to urge communities to actively engage in focusing on their social similarities opposed to their differences.

“Each time I put together a new edition of The Jam, it is inspired by what is happening in the world, in my world, or in my life,” said the artist and activist. “This Jam has a coming of age feel. It involves journeying through the experiences that have shaped my perceptions and influenced my decision-making, allowing me to take stock of what I need to hold on to and what I can afford to let go.”