UNION, NJ – Antonio Watson looks like your typical ten-year old boy. But four times a week, he's on Broadway playing the role of Craig, Tina Turner’s young son in "Tina: The Tina Turner Musical".
Watson, who attends Jefferson School, said he has a contract to perform the role through April. “But, who knows,” he added. “I could stay longer.”
Watson said he began performing at six-years old with musicals at his church. “I love music and the feeling of being on stage,” he said. “There’s nothing like it.”
Before being cast as Craig, Watson played Gavroche in “Les Miserables” at the Union County Performing Arts Center, an orphan/pickpocket in “Oliver” at the Summit Playhouse, Joe Thibodeaux in “Caroline, or Change” at Tantrum Theatre in Columbus, Ohio, and Charlie in “This Ain’t No Disco” at Atlantic Theater.
In June, Watson played Chip in matinee performances at the Paper Mill Theater’s production of “Beauty and the Beast”. “It's really amazing," Watson said following the opening night show of “Beauty and the Beast”. “It's such a magical show. It's awesome just to have this experience, to do it at this theater. It's just amazing.”
Watson has also been seen in the television show “Blue Bloods”, and on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Good Morning America.
Asked how he balances school work with performing, Watson said, “a lot of hard work, great teachers, and an on-set tutor.” He said he must be very disciplined with his time. “I work on homework at the theater, on NJ Transit or anywhere I can.”
Watson said he shares the role of Craig in "Tina: The Tina Turner Musical" with another actor, and performs four times a week. He said he goes to New York City every day, except Mondays, which is a day off from acting.
“Antonio really wanted to follow his brother who used to perform in our church's plays,” said his mother Yocasta Brens-Watson. “He bugged the director so much that she eventually let him join them.” Watson’s brother, Winston is 14 and attends Union High School. She said the family tries to keep the boys grounded and to be aware of how fortunate they are in life. “My children have amazing role models and family who support their dreams,” she said. “That’s how we do what we do.”
Watson’s favorite subject is math. He says he wants to be a veterinarian when he’s grown “to support my acting career”.