Kyle Jean-Baptiste, the first African-American and youngest person to play the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables on Broadway, has died after falling from a fire escape, said a show spokesman. He was just 21.
Jean-Baptiste died after the show’s evening performance at the Imperial Theatre, said representative Marc Thibodeau.
“The entire Les Miserables 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,” a statement said.
The actor was an ensemble member of the company and an understudy for Valjean, going on stage as the ex-convict in a history-making appearance on July 23. His last performance was Thursday.
Last Valjean! @LesMizBway— Kyle Jean- Baptiste (@BaptisteKyle) August 27, 2015
Jean-Baptiste was born in New York and after making stage history, he told Playbill: “I did not immediately think of it as making history. This was my dream since I was a little boy.”
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