Frost remembers that day too, mostly because it ended badly. The day before, he had cut short a practice session with Thompson due to an allergic reaction to dust in the studio; he took a Benadryl, a Zyrtec and a shower, and fell asleep. When he arrived for the audition, he let instinct take over.
“I closed my eyes, got into myself a little bit more, and when the music started, I did the thing,” he said. “My body felt like it had done it before. That feeling – this is deeper than music, this is deeper than acting itself, this is deeper than the show. This is a kind of energy and a kind of magic that comes over you.”
Wheeldon considered Frost a godsend, but also a gamble. “There was so much raw gifting — more gifting than I may have ever seen in a human in a first audition,” Wheeldon said. But also: “In addition, all our fears came: what if he doesn’t do the work? What if he can’t do the job?”
The production offered Frost the role. He accepted.
“It’s one of those things where it feels like the stars are kind of aligned,” Frost said, “and you get that call and it’s in the palm of your hands to either take and hug or drop.” , and I decided to take it and embrace it.”
‘MJ’ is of course not just any jukebox musical. It is about one of the greatest pop artists in American history, but whose legacy has been tarnished by allegations that he sexually abused children. The show, with a book by two-time Pulitzer-winning playwright Lynn Nottage, is set in 1992, before the allegations became public, and does not address the issue, which has drawn criticism from leading theater critics. But so far, the show’s box office has been healthy — “MJ” has been among the highest-grossing productions on Broadway in recent weeks. It received 10 Tony nominations, including one for Best Musical, and the producers, including Michael Jackson Estate, are planning to add a North American tour next year.
Frost was patient with questions about the allegations during a few conversations on the show, but also chose his words carefully — taking a deep breath before replying, often pausing between thoughts — and making it clear that he would not be lured or harassed into voicing. a position on whether Jackson was an abuser.
“I believe that everyone is entitled to their truth and to what they believe,” he said. “I don’t judge.”