Broadway Actor on His Role in TINA -The Tina Turner Musical

Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Daniel J. Watts who talks about his role as Ike Turner in the Broadway hit, "TINA - The Tina Turner Musical."

1/16/2020 #2272






"Yes! You're the best! Better than all the rest! Oh, better than anyone, anyone I've ever met! The young man you see on camera is Daniel J. Watts. He plays Ike Turner, in TINA: The Tina Turner Musical, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on West 46th Street. How you doing? Great. How you doing? I'm doing great. Describe this play for us... I mean, people think they know the story. Yeah. Set it up for us. The story of Anna Mae Bullock who grew up in Nutbush, Tennessee. She moves to St. Louis, where she meets Ike Turner for the first time. Who is this rock 'n' roll impresario, who is trying to figure out his thing. And he had a whole life and career before he met Anna Mae, who he changed her name to Tina Turner, found that she was a star that was actually brighter than him. And they created this new sound, this funky, raw, gritty live show. But what was going on behind the... well rather, going on offstage, was a lot darker, a lot colder. Ike was dealing with a lot of demons that he never figured out. 16 years later, Tina finally did what she knew she should have done a long time ago, and finally left him. She moves to Vegas, where most singers go to die. And Roger Davies found her down there. And took her to Europe. Gave her What's Love Got to Do with It. And she took that and... The rest is history? The rest is history. So you knew about... as young as you are, it didn't take much to find out about what was said about Ike? Sure. Any reluctance to take this role? Of course! [laughter] Based on what? A lot of reluctance. Ike isn't a fun villain. You know? Ike is... He's not a fun...! [laughter] He's not a fun villain. There are some villains who are fun. He's not one of them? Yeah. He's not like the Joker or you know, a Cruella de Vil. Everyone's coming in with their arms folded. They know what this man did to a woman who we all hold very very dear. And that's fair. You know. I think that's a fair assessment. So kind of fearing that people wouldn't be able to disassociate myself from the role was a fear of mine. That's legitimate? Yeah. For you to do that. How hard has it been to be such a mean and complicated character with those demons? Because you seem awfully well-adjusted? Uh... I'm okay. Ike is a person who grew up in the Confederate South. You know. As a black man. His music was taken from him when he was 19. He's considered the creator of rock 'n' roll, but he was never given credit for that until years later. I think he..."