Kyle Jean-Baptiste, the 21-year-old star of the current Broadway revival of “Les Miserables,” died Friday (Aug. 28) after falling from a fire escape. The young star, who earlier this month made history as the first African American and the youngest Jean Valjean in the history of the legendary musical, called the part “his dream role.”
“The entire ‘Les Miserables’ family is shocked and devastated by the sudden and tragic loss of Kyle,” the company says in a statement released to BroadwayWorld.com. “[He was 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.”
The site says that Jean-Baptiste was at home last evening, and fell off his mother’s fire escape to his death. Prior to this month, he had served as the understudy for Constable and Courfeyrac in “Les Mis.” Jean-Baptiste was a recent graduate of Baldwin Wallace University in Ohio, and had appeared in Idaho Shakespeare Festival’s “Les Miserables” production as Enjorlas.
“Today we lost a great talent,” tweeted Tony-nominated stage actor Ramin Karimloo, himself a former Jean Valjean as well. “RIP brother.”
“Today I go on as my dream role,” Jean-Baptiste tweeted on the day he played Valjean for the first time. “No words. Guna remember this night.”