Myles Frost, who graduated from Thomas S. Wootton High School in 2017, won a Tony Award on Sunday night for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical for his performance as Michael Jackson in MJ: The Musical.
Frost, 22, is reportedly the youngest solo winner in that category. He bested his four competitors, including acting powerhouses Hugh Jackman who stars in The Music Man and Mr. Saturday Night star Billy Crystal, during the 75th Tony Awards presentation.
“I’m just so honored and so blessed and so grateful,” the Silver Spring native said after accepting the award as he broke out into a Michael Jackson song.
Frost thanked his mother, Charmayne Strayhorn, for her support. “Without you, there would be no me,” he said. “You taught and showed me what a strong black woman is and what it means to raise a strong black man. I just pray I made you proud.”
The show marks the Broadway debut of Frost, who lived in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties while growing up and attended Bowie State University. As a teenager, he began to get attention for his singing after posting his performances on YouTube.
Frost took over the role from Ephraim Sykes, who was originally cast to play Michael Jackson, in 2021. “I’ve always been an MJ fan,” Frost told Bethesda Magazine. “I’ve been preparing for this all my life.”
In early May, he was named a winner of the 76th Annual Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut Performance during the 2021-2022 theatrical season, according to Broadway.com.
“First and foremost, I feel blessed. I’m honored and humbled to even be in the space with names like Hugh Jackman, Billy Crystal and people of that caliber,” Frost told Carla Henry Hopkins, the university’s director of alumni relations, during an interview about his nomination posted June 10 on YouTube.
Frost said that being nominated or even winning a Tony Award was not a goal when he accepted the role. “Going into this, I didn’t make the Tonys the goal. The goal is to touch as many hearts and change as many lives and inspire as many people as I can because that’s never gonna end. That’s something you can do for the rest of your life.”
While at Wootton, Frost performed in musicals including Hairspray and Legally Blonde. His other credits include the 2019 movie All In, in which he played an autistic 14-year-old, and the Netflix show Family Reunion, according to IMDb. He also competed on the NBC TV show The Voice during season 13.
During a May 26 interview with Good Morning America, Frost spoke of how he approaches the role of Michael Jackson and how he separates himself from his performance of the musical icon when he’s not on stage.
“It’s pretty easy to get into it,” said Frost, who said he felt that he and Jackson shared some common experiences while growing up. Frost noted that he didn’t have a good relationship with his father while growing up, that he was in a band as a kid and that his mom plays a strong managerial role in his career.
“A lot of what I pull from emotionally comes from a real place,” Frost said. “As far as the physical thing, it’s the makeup. You know, I don’t come into the theater with my makeup on so I don’t leave the theater with the makeup on. I leave all of that stuff on the stage.”
Frost said he was honored to have been nominated, especially because he never aspired to be a Broadway star.
“I wake up sometimes feeling I don’t deserve it just because this wasn’t my dream. I’m an artist, I’m a music artist, that’s my passion,” Frost said. “But to be here and learn the world of Broadway and to meet and explore new people is so beautiful and I can understand and I can clearly separate the difference between going to a concert and going to a live theater and how honestly theater is just better. It’s more intimate.”