Who Plays MJ on Broadway in 2024? Meet the Stars of the Show

An Ode to the King of Pop

Broadway has been home to countless iconic shows throughout the years, with one of the latest hits being MJ, the 4-time Tony Award®-winning musical that pays homage to the iconic Michael Jackson. The show’s popularity has been on a steady rise since its inception, thanks to its talented cast and crew and the undying global affection for Jackson’s music.

Over the course of its run, the show has been known for its stellar casting, with each actor chosen perfectly for their role. Whether you’re an experienced theatre-goer or planning your first Broadway visit, let us introduce you to the stars of MJ.

Tracing the Footsteps: The Journey of MJ

MJ was born out of a desire to celebrate and honor the legacy of Michael Jackson, whose influence on music and dance is indisputable, but the journey to Broadway was not without its challenges. When the global pandemic hit in 2020, causing a halt in all live performances, MJ The Musical was no exception.

After much wait and anticipation, opening day finally came on February 1, 2022. The audience witnessed the culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and a whole lot of patience. The role of Michael Jackson was originally played by Myles Frost, who won a Tony Award® for his rendition of the star. Other significant cast members also included Tavon Olds-Sample, who gave a powerful performance as teenaged Michael, and Christian Wilson and Walter Russell III as little Michael.

As we look at this year’s cast of MJ on Broadway, we carry the memories of these past performances, each actor leaving their imprint on the show’s history. Their performances have set the bar high, promising an exciting journey ahead for the new talent.

Spotlight on the Star: Meet Elijah Rhea Johnson

Currently starring as adult Michael Jackson is the talented Elijah Rhea Johnson. A native of Detroit, Johnson has a rich background in theatre and music that has paved the way for this opportunity. As a child, Johnson was a part of Kidz Bop and Mindless Behavior, two musical groups where he honed his skills in singing and dancing. At the same time, his performance in Broadway’s The Lion King as Young Simba earned him recognition for his acting.

Taking on the role of Michael Jackson is no small feat, but for Elijah Rhea Johnson, it’s a dream come true. Johnson has been a fan of Michael Jackson since he was a child, with Jackson’s music and performances inspiring him to pursue a career in performing arts.

When Johnson was cast as MJ, he knew he had to bring his A-game. He embarked on an intense preparation process, working closely with director Chris Wheeldon. In addition to his acting, Johnson also had to perfect his dance moves, a key aspect of any Michael Jackson performance. To achieve this, he worked with Rich and Tone Talauega, choreographers who had worked with Jackson himself. Their guidance helped Johnson master Jackson’s iconic dance moves, adding authenticity to his portrayal.

To maintain his performance quality, Johnson has adopted a disciplined regimen. He tries to rest his voice when he’s not at the theatre, often not talking at all. He also has plenty of water and tea to keep himself hydrated and soothe his vocal cords, and maintains his physical fitness with regular workouts twice a week, ensuring he has the stamina to deliver performances night after night.

The Ensemble: Introducing the 2024 Supporting Cast

Complementing Elijah Rhea Johnson’s performance as MJ is an array of talented artists who make up the supporting cast of the 2024 production. Each of these actors plays a significant role in the world of MJ, contributing their unique talents and interpretations to the show.

Tavon Olds-Sample continues his role as Middle Michael. His performance is marked by an earnest portrayal of Jackson’s formative years, balancing the innocence of youth with the emerging talent that would later define Jackson. One of the most memorable moments for Olds-Sample during his run in MJ on Broadway was receiving flowers from Paris Jackson, Michael Jackson’s daughter. Receiving recognition from a member of the Jackson family served as a reminder of the responsibility he carries in portraying Middle Michael and the importance of doing justice to the character.

The role of little Michael is currently shared by Jace Bently and Jackson Hayes, who alternate performances. Both young actors bring a sense of joy and wonder to the role, capturing the essence of Jackson’s early years with the Jackson 5. Despite their young age, Bently and Hayes carry the responsibility of their roles with poise, delivering performances that are both entertaining and touching.

Sasha Allen, stepping into the shoes of Katherine Jackson, brings a wealth of experience to the role. Known for her powerful voice and compelling performances, Allen previously dazzled audiences in the Broadway production of Hair. Meanwhile, Apollo Levine takes on the complex character of Joseph Jackson, Michael’s father, and Whitney Bashor plays a fictional character, Rachel. Their performances, coupled with their dedication, promise a memorable experience for all theatregoers.

Applause and Accolades: Critics and Audience Review

The reception of the current cast of MJ on Broadway has been overwhelmingly positive, both from critics and audiences alike. Critics have praised the cast for their performances, with The Guardian calling Tavon Olds-Sample “remarkable” and Elle India’s Isha Mayer praising Johnson as “the perfect pick as the leading man.” Mayer went on to say “I felt like I was attending MJ’s concert.”

The audience response has been equally enthusiastic, with many lauding the cast’s ability to capture the spirit of Jackson’s story and their skill in bringing their characters to life. One audience member described their experience, saying, “My jaw was literally dropped the entire time,” while another audience member shared their emotional connection with the show, stating, “I actually had tears in my eyes at the end scene.”

Curtain Call: Why You Should Experience MJ

The cast of MJ delivers performances that are true to the artist’s legacy. If you haven’t experienced this musical phenomenon yet, now is the perfect time.

And for those considering a group outing to MJ on Broadway, Broadway Inbound offers group discounts, making it an affordable and enjoyable option for corporate events, school trips, or simply a night out with friends or family. Imagine the thrill of seeing the Tony-winning musical live, surrounded by your group of theatre enthusiasts or MJ fans. You won’t be disappointed!