Elijah Rhea Johnson will make his Broadway debut as Michael Jackson in “MJ” beginning on April 4. Johnson will replace Myles Frost, who originated the role and won a Tony Award for his performance.
Frost, who also made his Broadway debut in the role, will play his final performance at the Neil Simon Theatre on April 2. With his Tony win, Frost became the youngest solo winner in the category of best leading actor in a musical.
The role of Michael is the eldest of three versions of Michael Jackson — alongside “Middle Michael” and “Little Michael” — that appear in the show. Incoming cast member Johnson helped develop the character of Middle Michael during pre-Broadway workshops for the bio-musical.
Johnson began performing professionally as a child, having played Simba in “The Lion King” in Las Vegas as well as on the national tour. He was also a member of the popular children’s group Kidz Bop.
“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,” said director and Tony-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon in a statement. “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. Myles is leaving behind some pretty big loafers to fill, and Elijah is more than ready to wear them.”