NEW YORK — Singer and actor Myles Frost is a Tony Award nominee for his performance as superstar Michael Jackson in the Broadway musical “MJ,” but the path to fame was no moonwalk in the park.
The 22-year-old Silver Spring, Maryland, breakout star has gone from being a castoff during the 2017 season of reality music competition “The Voice” to a Tony nod for best leading actor in a musical.
The jukebox musical, now playing at the Neil Simon Theatre, was written by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage and helmed by Tony winner Christopher Wheeldon. “MJ” is set in 1992, before the pop icon had been tarnished by public allegations of child sexual abuse, and glosses over the controversy. The “King of Pop” died in 2009.
Frost is up against against Broadway veterans Billy Crystal (“Mr. Saturday Night”), Hugh Jackman (“The Music Man”) and Rob McClure (“Mrs. Doubtfire”) and fellow newcomer Jaquel Spivey (“A Strange Loop”).
Frost described his journey to Broadway as “humbling.”
“I think I’ve really been able to understand the true definition of being humbled to immaculate experiences, and this is definitely one,” he told the Daily News. “So being able to experience all these different things, and explore a world that’s unfamiliar to me, the world of Broadway, and be welcomed with such open arms it feels amazing. And I’m so blessed and honored.”
He’s come a long way from being the 17-year-old who was sent home after twirling and doing splits in silver sneakers on “The Voice.” His pitchy rendition of the Stevie Wonder classic “My Cherie Amour‘’ didn’t win over judges Blake Shelton, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson and Adam Levine during televised blind auditions.
Frost, who said he wasn’t the one who chose to sing that song, chuckled about the experience and said he took the judges’ advice.
“It was at a time where I thought I kind of knew everything. I was 17… I thought I had everything under control,” said the YouTube sensation who can play five musical instruments.
“I was a senior in high school, I won all of these high school talent shows so I thought I was ready for the big league, only to get hit with a song that was so challenging.”
Now, five years later, he’s accomplished what no other castoff has — headlining a show on the Great White Way and performing some of the most iconic songs in pop music history.
“So when I got to ‘MJ,’ I was really able to delve into the attitude and the intention behind every song, every dance move, in every scene,” he told The News.
It’s been a rocky ride to Broadway for the Bowie State University student. Since the pandemic-delayed production opened in December, he endured two bouts of COVID-19 and broke a toe, keeping him out of the show for a number of weeks.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, baby,” he said. “I believe that wholeheartedly.”
“I had a really bad allergic reaction the day before my in-person audition, to the point where I couldn’t even rehearse the dancing that I had done in preparation for my audition,” he explained.
“So I went into my audition, like, kind of cold turkey, if you will, and I still got the part,” he said.
Frost is looking forward to showing the world what he has to offer on the Tony Awards telecast Sunday, where he is set to perform a number from “MJ.”
“You can expect to see on the big screen who Myles is, you know, you get a chance to see what we as a musical bring, with the type of energy we produce,” he said. “I think this is going to be a new energy to the Tonys and I can’t wait to provide that. I also can’t wait to just be in the room and sit among legends like Hugh Jackman and Billy Crystal.”
Frost has also gotten the seal of approval from Jackson’s family members for his performance in the estate-approved musical.
”I’ve had great conversations with Jackie, Marlon, Tito, Paris and Prince,” he said. “Like they all love the show. They’ve been multiple times. And you know, the kids love the fact that I’m not trying to impersonate Michael and I hold that very close to my heart because that’s never been my intention going into it.”