In these trying times, the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have never been more vital to our collective sanity.

The creative community is asking ourselves the very big question, starting with “Will I remain silent?” and “What happens if I decide to speak up in the face of such an erratic bully?” It’s game time. A time machine has tossed us back to the prequel days of civil rights. Am I afraid of the bully in the office, President-elect Donald Trump?

The wisdom of King gives us guidance if we look, listen and hear. He said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Hollering back is “Hamilton’s” Daniel J. Watts (NBC’s “Blindspot,” Signature Theatre’s “The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World”) and WattsWords Productions, with the presentation of Daniel J. Watts’ “The Jam: MLK,” an evening of music, dance and spoken word inspired by King, Monday, Jan. 16, at The Studio in New York’s famed Webster Hall (125 E.11th St.) for one night only. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., the show begins at 8 p.m. 

The roar of the crowd grows, and Watts will be joined by his band members Ephraim Sykes (NBC’s “Hairspray Live!,” “Hamilton”) on drums and vocals, Alex Ortega (“Broadway at the W”) on guitar and vocals, Voltaire Wade-Greene (“Hamilton”) on bass and vocals, and DJ Duggz, aka Preston Dugger III (“Motown the Musical,” “Memphis”), spinning through the evening. Featured guests include actors/singers/songwriters Bryan Fenkart (“These Paper Bullets,” “Memphis”) and Crystal Joy (“Motown,” “Hair”). The official after-party features DJ Duggz. 

A play-on-words, The Jam pays homage to Watts’ great-grandmother, who after making jam from scratch, would share with others what she was unable to consume herself.  The Jam is Watts’ continuation of that legacy, featuring his original spoken word, often set to music and/or dance.

“There comes a time,” said King, “when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.”

Watt’s is clear about his mission for his new show.

“It is 2017,” said the artist and activist. “Some dreams have been deferred. Some dreams have turned to nightmares. Some people have been living in a dream-like state and need to be shaken awake. I can think of no better way to confront these realities than to revisit Dr. King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, using it as inspiration for a night where my friends and I can use our voices to remind audiences how vital his words continue to be.”

Tickets for Daniel J. Watts’ The Jam: MLK range from $10 to $30 and can be purchased at Tickets at the door will be $20 to $40. 

To learn more about WattsWords Productions, visit