MAPLEWOOD, NJ – By morning, Antonio Watson is your average young boy - full of energy and a desire to learn. By afternoon, he’s magically transformed into a teacup, making audiences smile and laugh at the Paper Mill Playhouse.
The Union resident, who has spent time in off-broadway shows and various TV series, is currently splitting time as Chip, the boy-turned-teacup-turned-boy, in the legendary Disney musical Beauty and the Beast until July 3.
“It's really amazing," Watson said following Sunday's Opening Night show. “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 appears in the matinee shows, while his counterpart Gianni David Faruolo handles most evening performances. (Watson will also appear in the evening shows on June 18, 20, July 2 and 3.)
With his mom by his side on the “blue” carpet after Sunday’s show, Watson was beaming ear-to-ear and why wouldn’t he. Not only does he get to be on stage, he gets to do it a mere 10 minutes away from his home in Union.
“It's awesome", Watson said of getting to perform in front of a hometown audience. “I can just get up and poof, it's right there.”
It's not all fun and games for the lone child actors in the company – there is school involved. Outside of a grueling rehearsal and performance schedule, Watson and Faruolo still attend “school” during the day in the form of a show tutor. None the less, Watson wouldn't want it any other way.
Before being cast as Chip, Watson was seen in “This Ain’t No Disco” at the Atlantic Theater off-broadway. He’s also appeared in TV shows such as Blue Bloods (CBS), Sesame Street and Nickelodeon.
While he still has a potentially long career ahead of him, Watson has his eyes on a big role down the road. “In any Broadway show, I would want to be George Washington in Hamilton.”
Watson and the rest of the Beauty and the Beast company will be at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn until July 3.
Limited tickets remain for select performances. Go to PaperMill.org for more information and to purchase tickets.