Elijah Rhea Johnson to be new lead in Broadway’s ‘MJ The Musical,’ Myles Frost to leave show
The Detroit native succeeds Tony Award-winner Frost in the title role of the hit musical about the King of Pop starting on April 4.
Broadway fans are getting a new Michael Jackson in “MJ the Musical.” Elijah Rhea Johnson is taking the lead role next month after Myles Frost departs the show.
Johnson’s first night portraying Jackson is to be April 4 at the Neil Simone Theater, according to People. Frost, who won a 2022 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for a Musical, is to give his final performance on April 2 after more than a year in the starring role.
During the musical’s workshop phase, Johnson helped develop the role of Middle Michael— one of the two younger versions of Jackson — before the show hit Broadway. Christopher Wheeldon, “MJ’s” director and choreographer, said he was impressed with Johnson during the workshop and anticipated working with him in the future.
“Those of us who worked with Elijah during the developmental workshops knew, when his schedule didn’t allow him to join the original Broadway cast, we hadn’t seen the last of him or his remarkable talent,” Wheeldon said. “Though we might have initially seen him as ‘Middle Michael,’ it is so clear to me now that adult Michael is who he was born to play.”
Wheeldon is confident that “MJ” won’t miss a beat with Johnson in the lead. Myles is leaving behind some pretty big loafers to fill, and Elijah is more than ready to wear them,” said Wheeldon.
Since opening last year, “MJ” has been one of Broadway’s most popular new productions. The jukebox musical about the life and career of the late King of Pop garnered 10 Tony Award nominations — winning four — the most of any production in 2022 and the original cast album received a Grammy nomination. To date, the show has grossed more than $96 million and welcomed more than 665,000 attendees, according to Broadway World.
While fans will have to come to New York for now to see Johnson in action as Jackson, those who can’t make the trip are in luck. “MJ” is scheduled to embark on an 18-city North American tour starting in August. Cities include Chicago, Charlotte (North Carolina), New Orleans, Dallas, Denver and Los Angeles. A London production is also slated to start next March.
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