On top of being wildly talented and dedicated, Michaeljon also happens to be a complete sweetheart AND dreamboat. One of Broadway’s finest, this Aussie is making his mark show after show on the Great White Way. His authenticity and focus on becoming his best- mind, body, and spirit- is so inspiring! He exudes every quality it takes to find longevity in this industry while being FIT FOR BROADWAY every step of the way!
NOTE FROM MICHAELJON: Hello! hows it going? My name is Michaeljon and I’m originally from Queensland, Australia (although 12 years later, I consider myself a proud New Yorker), and currently I’m performing in Matilda The Musical on Broadway. After moving to New York to attend the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre followed by the B.F.A. Dance program at The Juilliard School), I made my Broadway debut as original cast member and Dance Captain of the 2009 revival of West Side Story, before continuing on to Dance Captain the Broadway company of Billy Elliot, original company of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, starring Daniel Radcliffe, original company of Evita, staring Ricky Martin, and original company of most recent Broadway revival of Side Show. I have also performed on live televised broadcasts such as The Academy Awards, Tony Awards, Kennedy Center Honors, Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade & the 2015 Ted 2 movie. I am truly passionate about health & fitness, and I believe they play an integral part to my daily success as a professional artist.
“Beats for Broadway” Men’s Tee from Fit for Broadway Apparel
(click HERE or click the picture!)
Q: Michaeljon! 🙂 You Aussies are the sweetest people ever! I’m so excited to finally have you on the blog. Where did this journey start for you? What’s been your journey to Broadway?
A: I can’t express enough how happy I am to featured! Thanks for having me! My journey to Broadway starts like so many of my peers – as a little boy in small town Australia with big dreams to one day be on Broadway. I feel so fortunate that I’ve been exposed to two incredible educational programs here in New York City. My association with both Juilliard & ABT helped establish a platform for myself, especially as I was trying to take the leap from student to professional.
The summer between my junior and senior year at Juilliard, I was able to earn my equity card at the St. Louis MUNY (a huge step forward to realizing my Broadway dream). However I faced a much larger issue of legally being able to work after graduation. It was around the same time that casting for the Broadway revival of West Side Story, directed by Arthur Laurents was happening. My experience auditioning for the production lasted about 7 months, originally I was auditioning as a non equity actor (and a junior in college). From what I remember, the casting process took much longer than expected, and by the time final callbacks happened, I’d accepted a summer at the MUNY and couldn’t attend. I remember so clearly being in the parking lot at the MUNY after rehearsal only to learn that the initial Broadway offers had gone out. It was a tough blow for my heart to handle at the time, but I made peace with the fact that it wasn’t meant to be and embraced being able to return to Juilliard as a senior. Next thing I know its late September and I’m skipping a very important rehearsal in college to audition for one of three remaining spots left for the original cast of WSS. I remember feeling like all of Broadway turned up to audition that day, but by some miracle I was hired as the Jet/Shark swing and Dance Captain for the production. At the time being asked to swing was extremely bittersweet, but now I can fully appreciate how it set me up for the career I have today!
Q: What is your weekly workout regime?
A: I am incredibly proud of my body and strive to take care of it for no other reason that to ensure I always feel comfortable in my own skin. However, a Broadway schedule (rehearsals as well 8 shows a week) can really test my body’s limits. That is why I rely heavily on my workout not only as a warm up for the show, but also as a vital way to condition my mind, body and soul for whatever life throws at me. I have learned over the years that the body is far more resilient than we like to give it credit for. So after several injuries (knee surgery being one of my biggest hurdles) & plenty of life changes, I know I can rely on my body to show up. It’s my heart & my mind that I need to take care of in order to reach my potential everyday.
So with that said, my weekly workout regime is primarily made up of a killer playlist and old school lifting at the gym. Legs are a tricky subject for me as a dancer, so I try to incorporate full body for all four of my lifting days (the majority is upper body, and then squats or lunges to round out the workout). I then try to add some kind of cardio/ab element in addition to the show everyday. Unfortunately sometimes all I can realistically achieve is abs and pushups during my downtime in the show (I’m serious!!! I’m also not alone when I say at least half of my dressing room do this in the wings on a raked stage). Finally, I have fallen madly in love with the experience at Soul Cycle to roundoff my workout. It’s one of the many spin class experiences out there right now, but I am truly committed to Soul. Sure you burn an insane amount of calories every time you ride, but what I immediately connected with was the integrity that supports the ride and the emphasis the workout has on your heart, mind and body to work cohesively together to set you up for daily success. I’m a loyal rider with Melanie on weekday mornings on the UWS and I’ll often take class with Joey at Bryant Park in between shows on my two show days.
Q: How do you make sure you’re fueling properly with healthy food when you’re putting such high demands on your body?
A: I honestly try to keep my diet as lean as possible. Lots of protein and veggies. To ensure I don’t overeat during breakfast, lunch, and dinner I snack constantly throughout the day. This way I can avoid feeling super full or bloated during exercise or the show.
Q: Besides fitness and food, how do you keep your mind, body, and spirit healthy every day?
A: Well I’m the proud parent to a three year old miniature Australian Shepherd named Truvy! She has the most amazing personality and is the ultimate partner in crime. I love her! Sometimes I’ll take her and a good book with me for dinner in my neighborhood and we will sit outside, although our morning sessions at the dog park is probably my favorite time of the day. I also love to cook! It’s a really great way to let my mind unwind. As for my body… SLEEP (and napping) are absolutely crucial for me. I also have to also admit that I’m a huge fan of soaking in an ice bath. 15lbs (3 bags) in a bath of cold water for ten minutes is what saves me during big rehearsal weeks. The first 90 seconds are rough (wine helps) but I promise it’s worth it when you wake up the next day feeling like a new man!
Q: Did anything surprise you about the professional lifestyle after becoming a Broadway performer?
A: I can’t say that any one thing really surprised me… But I can say the lifestyle has humbled me a lot. I thought I just needed to make my Broadway debut and it would be easy after that. Achieving longevity in our industry is a more complicated and thought-out journey. I’m either flat out with rehearsals, performances and auditions all conflicting at the same time or I have no sign of projects and all the time in the world. The hustle, as I call it, can be incredibly stressful. I’m personally a creature of habit and would love nothing more than consistency in my professional life (I’m aware of the irony), but I have found that even with the more opportunities I have to work and create, the hustle doesn’t really go away. It can really be exhausting if you don’t know how to handle that feeling.
Q: Fill in the blanks.
A: The best part of being on Broadway is… Not only knowing I realized my dream, but being able to appreciate how lucky I am and celebrate that I am LIVING my dream everyday.
The most challenge part of being on Broadway is… The hustle and always having to try and plan what the next step will be.
Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: People who are able to show compassion for others and admit that they don’t have everything figured out. I think it takes an incredible amount of courage to be that vulnerable. Life has humbled me a lot, and instead of choosing those experiences to harden me, or become jaded, I have tried to embrace my darkest moments to allow myself to be more open and understanding to not only what others need, but also to encourage myself to maximize my full potential. Having the confidence to believe in yourself with humility vs arrogance is a quality I gravitate towards immediately.
Q: Top 3 health & fitness tips for performers?
- Listen to your body! Don’t make the mistake I did early on in my career by thinking my body was indestructible.
- Always think about the consequences of your actions and if your approach is the most appropriate or beneficial way to see something through.
- Don’t compare yourself to others! You really are only in competition with yourself. I can obsess as long as I want about some of my peers and their bodies, but it doesn’t really get me anywhere. It took me a long time to figure that out. As soon as you shift the focus to yourself, I guarantee you’ll be amazed by how much more change and growth you will see.
Q: What’s your advice for aspiring performers who want a career on Broadway?
A: There is always something to learn from the people and the talent around you. Expose yourself to as much of that as you can, and trust that handwork will always pay off in the end!