Daniel J. Watts’s The Jam: Only Child—the second feature production in Signature Theatre’s 2021 season—is now streaming on demand. Written and performed by 2020 Tony Award–nominated Daniel J. Watts (Hamilton, Ike Turner in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and featuring DJ Duggz, The Jam: Only Child is the fifth in Watts’s The Jam series.
In a nod to his great-grandmother’s plentiful recipe and the spirited spontaneity of jazz, Watts recounts his life as the only child of a single mother. From the fierce growing pains of boyhood innocence to the awkwardness of teenage years to a proud Black man, Daniel digs through his memory’s attic in a powerful and playful story of metamorphosis. Bursting with lyricism, dynamic tap dance, and heart, this delectable treat is a little bit savory, a little bit sweet, and a little bit sticky—but it’s all good.
“Theater, in my opinion, is meant to bring people together to experience some semblance of life in a shared space,” says Writer/Performer Watts. “In these times when we are still unable to properly gather, we’re all learning and re-learning what it means to share space. I’m most excited about the prospect of this work being able to reach people who might not normally have access to it or feel like they might not be entitled to it. My hope is this production not only reminds audiences that theater is alive and well, but also encourages a new wave of theatergoers and theater-makers to join us when we can gather again.”
Daniel J. Watts’s The Jam: Only Child is available to stream through May 7 in HD on Marquee TV, an on-demand streaming platform dedicated to global arts and culture. Single stream tickets are available to purchase for $35; and subscriptions to the full season, for $200. Tickets and subscriptions can be purchased at SigTheatre.org. The show will be available for 72 hours after a patron’s viewing has begun.
“Daniel J. Watts is an incredible artist — and The Jam: Only Child is a party like no other,” says Director Lileana Blain-Cruz. “Working on the show felt like working with family, and it’s been a space of love in the midst of so much turbulence. I’m thrilled to share it with the world.”
“Daniel J. Watts’ beautiful and heartfelt show encompasses the entire human experience,” says Signature Managing Director Maggie Boland. “We are honored to transform this series into a filmed production and to bring this talented voice to audiences worldwide.”
“Daniel’s voice is without question one of the most exciting in the American theater,” says Associate Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner. “In his deeply personal piece he shares the joys and pains of growing up, all the while challenging us as an audience to be accountable, to view the world with eyes wide open, and to ultimately be more compassionate. I am thrilled that Daniel agreed to bring his piece to Signature and work with Lileana Blain-Cruz, an equally remarkable talent, to bring us this new filmed version.”
Daniel J. Watts’ The Jam: Only Child is written and performed by Daniel J. Watts (Broadway’s Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Hamilton), and directed by Obie Award winner Lileana Blain-Cruz (New York’s Signature Theatre’s The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World, Atlantic Theatre Company’s Anatomy of a Suicide). The creative team includes Lighting Design by Adam Honoré (Signature’s Simply Sondheim, The Public’s Ain’t No Mo), DJ and Sound Design by DJ Duggz (Broadway’s Memphis the Musical, Motown), Assistant Direction by Rickey Tripp (Broadway’s Choir Boy, Once on this Island), Post-Production Sound Editing by Ryan Hickey (Signature’s Simply Sondheim, A Chorus Line), and Production Coordinator Kerry Epstein (Signature’s Simply Sondheim, Gun & Powder). The production was filmed by Chiet Productions, with photography direction by Justin Chiet, and edited by James Gardiner, assisted by Natalie Ridgley.
CAST & CREATIVE TEAM
Daniel J. Watts (Writer & Performer) BROADWAY: TINA: The Tina Turner Musical (Ike Turner, 2020 Tony Award® Nominee & Outer Critics Circle Winner), Hamilton, After Midnight, Motown, Ghost, In The Heights, Memphis, The Little Mermaid, The Color Purple. NEW YORK: Signature Theatre: Death of the Last Black Man in the Entire World AKA The Negro Book of the Dead; 2nd Stage: Whorl Inside A Loop. REGIONAL: Geffen Playhouse: Lights Out: Nat King Cole (Sammy Davis, Jr, Barrymore Award and LA Ovation Award). TV/FILM: Amazon: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel; TBS: The Last OG; NBC: Blindspot; HBO: Vinyl, The Deuce, Boardwalk Empire, The Night Of; CBS: The Good Wife, Blue Bloods, Person of Interest; Netflix: She’s Gotta Have It; Bravo: Odd Mom Out; Comedy Central: Broad City. EDUCATION: BFA Graduate Elon University Music Theatre Program. 2011 Young Alumnus Award Recipient. www.wattswords.com IG/Twitter: @dwattswords
Lileana Blain-Cruz (Director) OFF-BROADWAY: Atlantic Theater Company: Anatomy of a Suicide; TFANA: Fefu and Her Friends; LCT3: Marys Seacole (Obie Award); Opera Omaha: Faust; Signature Theatre: Fabulation, Or the Reeducation of Undine; The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World (Obie Award); Soho Rep: Thunderbodies; Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again; New York Theatre Workshop: The House That Will Not Stand; Red Speedo; Lincoln Center: Pipeline; LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater and Yale Rep.: War; Under the Radar Festival at The Public Theater: Hollow Roots. REGIONAL: Yale Repertory Theater: Girls; Mark Taper Forum/CTG: Water by the Spoonful; Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Henry IV, Part One; Much Ado About Nothing; The Guthrie: The Bluest Eye; JACK: Salome. Current resident director of Lincoln Center Theater; 2018 United States Artists Fellow and 2020 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist. EDUCATION: MFA in directing from the Yale School of Drama.
Preston W. Dugger III (DJ Duggz & Sound Design) BROADWAY: Memphis the Musical, Motown. TV: Smash!, Flesh and Bone. DANCE: Dance Theatre of Harlem. DJ: Raphael Saadiq tour, The Democratic National Committee, Radio City Music Hall, Webster Hall, Cipriani Wall Street, The Watergate Hotel.
Adam Honoré (Lighting Design) SIGNATURE: Simply Sondheim, A Chorus Line. OFF-BROADWAY: Select: The Public: Ain’t No Mo; Classic Stage Company: Carmen Jones; Ensemble Studio Theatre: Behind the Sheet; Carnegie Hall: Faux-bia!. INTERNATIONAL: Austria: Haydn’s The Seasons; Manila: The Band’s Visit; Kinky Boots; Fun Home (International Premiere, featuring Lea Salonga). REGIONAL: Select: Arena Stage, Capital Repertory Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, Huntington Theater Company, Shakespeare Theatre Company. AWARDS: Drama Desk, Henry Hewes, Helen Hayes Nominee; AUDELCO Award recipient. www.HonoreLighting.com @itsadamhonore
Rickey Tripp (Assistant Director) BROADWAY: Choir Boy (Associate Choreographer, Tony Award nomination), Once on this Island (Associate Choreographer, Tony Award Best Musical Revival), Hamilton, Motown, In the Heights (Original Broadway cast). OFF-BROADWAY: In the Heights (Drama Desk Award). REGIONAL: Sun Valley Pavilion: The Temptations Tribute (Director/Choreographer); Miami New Drama: A Wonderful World (Choreographer, world premiere); Dallas Theatre Center: In the Heights (Choreographer); Sacramento Music Circus: In The Heights (Choreographer); DTC: Dreamgirls (Choreographer, Irma P. Hall Black Theatre Award for Best Choreography); Playwrights Horizon: Bella (Associate Choreographer). TV/FILM: Disney: ENCORE!; NBC: Jesus Christ Superstar Live (Associate Choreographer, Emmy Outstanding Variety Special), Smash; Warner Bros. Pictures: In the Heights. TEACHING: Dance Educator and Certified Zena Rommett Floor-Barre Technique™ Mentor/Instructor; Broadway Dance Center Faculty.
Kerry Epstein (Production Coordinator) SIGNATURE: Resident Stage Manager: Fifteen seasons and over 65 productions. Selected credits include Simply Sondheim, Gun & Powder, A Chorus Line, Assassins, Blackbeard, Grand Hotel, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Billy Elliot, Passion, The Scottsboro Boys, John, Light Years, Crazy for You, A Little Night Music, Jesus Christ Superstar, Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing, Titanic, Freaky Friday, Jelly’s Last Jam, West Side Story, Cabaret, Sunday in the Park with George, Miss Saigon, Company, Shakespeare’s R&J, Dreamgirls, Hairspray, Sunset Boulevard, First You Dream, Les Miserables, The Visit, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Studio, The Witches of Eastwick, Into the Woods, Nevermore. Stage Management mentor for Signature in the Schools. INTERNATIONAL: Dublin Theater Festival. DC AREA: The Kennedy Center New Visions/New Voices, Arena Stage/Georgetown University. REGIONAL: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, EDUCATION: Dickinson College.
Signature is widely recognized as the premiere venue in Washington to see musical theater, especially new musicals. Recently called “a dream for patrons” and “the gold standard for producing musicals” by The Washington Post, Signature is renowned for its interpretations of Stephen Sondheim’s work, inventive adaptations of overlooked or forgotten musicals, and investment in fresh new projects. The Theatre is an industry leader in developing and producing new work and is home to the largest musical theater development program in the United States.
Signature features the finest talent from the D.C. metropolitan area and New York on its stages and has been a creative home to such luminaries as Chita Rivera, Sheryl Crow, Barry Levinson, George Hearn, Emily Skinner, Kathleen Marshall, Ann Reinking, Marc Kudisch, Judy Kuhn, Deborah Monk, Boyd Gaines, Heidi Blickenstaff, James Lapine, Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cameron Mackintosh, Terrence McNally, and the company’s signature composer, Stephen Sondheim. Under the leadership of Maggie Boland, Managing Director, Signature draws more than 100,000 patrons annually to its Arlington home and has been cited for its achievements by a wide range of local and national media.
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