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'I Think He Needs A Second Look': Actor Daniel J. Watts On Playing Ike Turner In 'Tina' & 'Hamilton'

(CBS Local)-- Daniel J. Watts has been in nine different Broadway shows.

While the actor has been an ensemble member in hits like "Hamilton," "In The Heights," and "Memphis," he is finally getting the chance to play a lead character in "Tina: The Tina Turner Musical." Watts plays Ike Turner and the role has been one of the most fascinating and complicated of his career.

"When people see me, sometimes they forget to talk to me. They talk to Ike," said Watts in an interview with CBS Local's DJ Sixsmith. "He is difficult because he is a real person that actually did very monstrous things to a person for the most part we know and love. I totally understand why people aren't interested in giving him a second chance. I think he needs a second look because of what he grew up in and what he was allowed to do and what he wasn't allowed to do. Look at what he did and what he went through. Don't justify it, just understand it."


In addition to his Broadway show, Watts is also performing his own show at Joe's Pub called "The Jam: Only Child." The Broadway actor uses his experience in therapy to work things out from his past.

"I hit a bottom where I couldn't do it myself anymore," said Watts. "That's when I reached out to a therapist and I equate therapy to inviting a stranger to the attic of your mind and you haven't been there in a while, so you try to hide. If you really want to find that thing, you have to turn the lights on, open these boxes, and you got to dig deep."

Even though it's been years since Watts was on the stage in "Hamilton," that is an experience he will never forget.

"Lin [Manuel Miranda] had gone deep and we were all like, oh this is the new thing," said Watts. "He's found it, he's figured it out, he's cracked the code. We didn't know it was going to be Prince showing up a month before he passed away and throwing a party for us. My most exciting moments were when Fred Savage and Bob Saget came. All the hip hop heads like Jay-Z and Kanye [West]. Kanye came a week before he came when dropped the track with the Taylor Swift reference. It was nuts."

"Tina: The Tina Turner Musical" is running on Broadway now at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

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