This is just devastating. Kyle Jean-Baptiste, the youngest and first black person to ever play Jean Valjean in Broadway’s ‘Les Misérables,’ has tragically passed away at the age of 21.
Broadway just lost one of its shining stars. Kyle Jean-Baptiste, who had just finished his run as Jean Valjean in Broadway’s Les Misérables, has died at the young age of 21. He was the youngest actor and the first African American actor to play the role of the beloved fictional character from Victor Hugo’s classic novel in the stage adaptation.
Kyle died after falling off of his mother’s fire escape, according to BroadwayWorld.com. The theater company released the following statement regarding Kyle’s death: “The entire Les Misérables family is shocked and devastated by the sudden and tragic loss of Kyle, a remarkable young talent and tremendous person who made magic – and history — in his Broadway debut. We send our deepest condolences to his family and ask that you respect their privacy in this unimaginably difficult time.”
He served as an understudy for the character of Jean Valjean and usually Constable and Courfeyrac in the show. On his first night as the titular character, he tweeted: “Today I go on as my dream role. No words. Guna remember this night.”
Before his last performance as Jean Valjean on Aug. 27, he tweeted: “I thank everyone who supported me and still does. I will never forget this experience. Onwards and upwards ;). Nothing but love.”
His additional theater credits include The Merry Wives of Windsor, Murder Ballad, Love Story, Singin’ in the Rain and Music Man. He recently announced on Facebook that he would be joining the Broadway cast of The Color Purple alongside Jennifer Hudson, which is set to premiere later this year.
Our thoughts go out to Kyle’s family and friends during this difficult time.
— Avery Thompson