Indian Trail native, actor nominated for Tony in ‘Tina Turner Musical’

NEW YORK — Indian Trail native and actor Daniel J. Watts was nominated for his Broadway performance in the lead role as Ike Turner in the “Tina Turner Musical.”

The Sun Valley High School grad grew up performing in youth theatre in Matthews, at Central Piedmont Community College and through the Charlotte area.

“I got bitten by the bug at 13 when I was in a play at Theatre Charlotte called “Second City” about an area in Charlotte called Brooklyn, because so many people immigrated from New York to this area called Brooklyn. And what story telling did the way that we presented it, and how people felt afterwards I was bitten then.”

Watts graduated with a degree in fine arts from Elon University.

He moved to New York and landed his first Broadway show in “The Color Purple.”

Currently, he’s on Broadway in “The Last Love Letters.”

[Tony Awards land hosts Leslie Odom Jr. and Audra McDonald]

He talked about what it’s like now with audiences finally returning to shows during the pandemic.

“Everyone is vaccinated to be in this theatre, must wear masks at all times,” Watts said. “You can normally see people’s faces and say, ‘OK, they are with me.’ (I) can’t see their mouths or tell if they are smiling but you get laughter and feel people leaning in. You have to work a little harder but it’s definitely here.”

The Tony Awards airs this weekend.

(Watch the video below: Tony Awards to be held digitally amid COVID-19 in 2020)