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Myles Frost Stars as Michael Jackson in ‘MJ’ on Broadway

Then came college. He started at Belmont University, a Christian institution in Nashville, where he took a break from performance to study music technology. After two years, he transferred to Bowie State University, a historically Black college in Maryland; he left that school for “MJ.”

“When somebody says you have the opportunity to play Michael Jackson, that’s not something you just shrug off,” Frost said.

Once he got the job, the real work began. The production flew him to Los Angeles to spend several weeks studying with Rich and Tone Talauega, two brothers who had danced with Jackson. He started vocal lessons. And he got vaccinated against the coronavirus — a requirement for working on Broadway.

He scrutinized interviews with Jackson, noting how he held his hands, which way he crossed his legs, what he did with his eyes when someone said something that made him uncomfortable. And he watched hours and hours of tour video — even now, before every performance he screens the “Bad” tour in his dressing room. (Why “Bad”? “Because it’s the best tour, to me,” he said. “Wembley ’88! I try my best to match his energy.”)

Among the hardest things to learn: breath control. Also: the side glide, a dance step associated with Jackson. “You can make it look very, very cool,” Frost said. “But it was definitely a challenge.”

His run in the show has been, like this Broadway season, bumpy. In mid-December, just a few weeks after previews began, he got sick with the coronavirus. He was out of the show for 10 days. Then in February, he fractured a toe on his right foot, and was out of the show for another few weeks; it turned out Frost has a long second toe that was causing stress while he was moonwalking. (The show wound up restructuring his shoes to ease the pressure.) This month, he contracted the coronavirus a second time, and missed another round of performances.

But now he’s happily back at the Neil Simon Theater, in a prime dressing room that Frost had painted gray (“it matches my aesthetic”), with a black carpet and a red couch. He keeps it remarkably spare — no art other than a drawing sent by a young fan — just racks of clothing and a TV. And eight times a week there he slowly applies his makeup and layers his costume as he embraces the transition from Myles to Michael. “I’m seeing the fruits of my labor — people saying, ‘I felt like I was watching Michael Jackson,’” he said. “That’s all I can ask for as an artist — that people leave with something warm and magical.”

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