Dang, this is a really sad story to have to report.
After making history by being the first African American and the youngest actor to play Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables” on Broadway, Kyle Jean-Baptiste is dead after accidentally falling off his mother’s fire escape. He was only 21 years old.
According to BroadwayWorld, the rising star usually played Constable and Courfeyrac in “Les Miserables,” but was also the understudy for the role of Jean Valjean, and he recently found himself pressed into duty. That night he tweeted:
“Today I go on as my dream role. No words. Guna remember this night.”
Wow, what a tragedy as young Jean-Baptiste was making quite a name for himself performing in several regional shows including “Singin’ In the Rain,” “Music Man” and “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” Additionally, he also performed with “Hamilton” writer/star Lin-Manuel Miranda during the “#Ham4Ham” lottery show. He was a recent graduate of Baldwin Wallace.
The production company released the following statement:
“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.“
In a post at his website, Kyle Jean-Baptiste revealed how he found his passion and entered the world of musical theatre.
“If you would of asked me what I wanted to be growing up I’d have said a cardiologist. I grew up in Brooklyn New York and had always sung, but never took it seriously. I decided to audition for Fiorello LaGuardia for vocal performance and got in(miracle) and the rest was history. Getting thrown into the world of musical theatre was terrifying and at first I didn’t know if I could handle it, but through hard work and perseverance it all came together. Acting and singing have become an extension of who I am, and I strive to use my gift to influence and inspire others. I am now shooting for the stars and trying to reach my goal of becoming the best stage and screen actor that I can be.”