Kyle Jean-Baptiste, The First Black Actor to Be Cast As the Lead in ‘Les Misérables’ on Broadway, Dies at 21.
Broadway is mourning the loss of a rising star, following news of the death of Kyle Jean-Baptiste.
According to police, Jean-Baptiste was pronounced dead on Friday, after being rushed to the hospital as the result of a fall from the fire escape at his mother’s Brooklyn apartment.
The young actor, who was cast to play the roles of the Constable and Courfeyrac in the Broadway version of Les Misérables, also served as understudy for Jean Valjean, played by Ramin Karimloo. Jean-Baptiste made headlines in July, when he moved up to playing the role, while Karimloo was on vacation.
On the night of his untimely death, Jean-Baptiste posted this message about his last time performing the role,
Before and after shot. Today is my last performance as Valjean on Broadway. What an incredible experience. I've learned and grown so much. Grateful for the people I've met and this opportunity. I will never forget it. Dedicating this performance to someone special to me. They know who they are. Also sending love to everyone who supported me. Family friends etc. Until next time ..Kyle signing out…saudade#onedaymore#valjeanout#24601 @lesmizbway
“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,” the production team said in a post on Facebook. “We send our deepest condolences to his family and ask that you respect their privacy in this unimaginably difficult time.”
Jean-Baptiste was a New York native who attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, where he came to know actor Ansel Elgort. Elgort, and a host of other actors, including Broadway veteran Kristin Chenoweth, tweeted condolences.
Jean-Baptiste was slated to appear with Jennifer Hudson in The Color Purple, on Broadway, later this year.