Broadway: ‘MJ’ Gets Box Office Boost After Tony Awards

“MJ,” the King of Pop’s hit-studded Michael Jackson Broadway musical, received a major boost at the box office after winning four Tony Awards and gaining valuable exposure in front of millions of viewers during its electric performance at the ceremony.

It may have lost out on best musical to “A Strange Loop,” but “MJ” won the Tony for best actor in a musical for Myles Frost and grossed $1,661,000 in the week after the Tonys. It’s the biggest box office jump from last week on Broadway and a new record for the show.

“That’s one of the benefits of being able to be nominated for a Tony, that you get to perform at the Tonys and get to present our show in front of so many people who are avid theater lovers,” said Lia Vollack, its main producer.

“A Strange Loop” also enjoyed a post-airing rebound, grossing $845,313 for the week ending June 19, a jump of $168,998 from the previous week and a new record for streaming.

Other musicals made more modest gains, including “Six” and “Paradise Square,” the latter featuring a commanding performance by Tony winner for best actress in a musical Joaquina Kalukango.

“MJ” is set during the build-up to Jackson’s 1992 “Dangerous” tour and travels back in time to explore his youth, songs like “ABC”, “Black or White”, “Blame it on the Boogie”, “Bad ”, “Billie Jean”, “Off the Wall” and “Thriller”. It also earned Christopher Wheeldon the Tony for best choreography.

“MJ” is planning a national tour beginning in Chicago in July 2023, with a stop in Charlotte, North Carolina, in September. Vollack spoke from London, leading to speculation that a West End production might be mounted. On Broadway, all the tickets for the show have been sold out since the Tonys and advance sales are said to be on the rise.

Vollack hopes he can land someone as talented as Frost to star in other companies’ “MJ” plays.

“I think there is incredible talent in the world, and we hope to find people in the next few years and in different companies, hopefully, to fill the role,” he said.

The Tony Awards ceremony drew 4.22 million viewers on June 12, an uptick for Broadway after last year’s show in September drew 2.75 million people. Many took to Twitter in awe after seeing Frost do Jackson’s iconic “moonwalk” during his performance of “Smooth Criminal.”

Vollack humbly received his awards, saying “any show that made it this last season really deserves a Tony.”

“I was so proud to be a part of this season and this community because this community is so resilient, dedicated and eager to create,” said the producer, whose Broadway credits include “Shuffle Along,” “Tootsie” and the upcoming ” Almost Famous”.

Exposure on the Tony’s telecast usually translates into higher box office numbers the following week, but that was definitely not the case for “The Music Man,” which lost $1,631,334. His star, Hugh Jackman, did not show up due to a second outbreak of COVID-19.


Mark Kennedy is on Twitter at

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