Kyle Jean-Baptiste, the first African-American and youngest person to play the role of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables on Broadway, has died after falling from a fire escape. He was 21.

Jean-Baptiste died on Friday night following the show’s evening performance at the Imperial Theatre.

The actor, who was the youngest to play Jean Valjean on the Great White Way, was hanging out with a woman on the fire escape outside his apartment at 303 Greene Ave. He lost his balance on the fire escape and fell to his death.

Though cops were investigating, police believe the death was accidental.

The actor’s apartment was on the fourth floor of the Fort Greene building, one floor above his parents on the tree-lined street of well-maintained brownstones. The fire escape is in the rear.

The actor was a member of the company and an understudy for Valjean, going onstage as the ex-convict in a history-making appearance July 23. His last performance in the role was Thursday.

Jean-Baptiste’s last day as Valjean was August 27 and his last performance with Les Miserables was going to be September 6, according to his Facebook.

He was next going to star alongside Jennifer Hudson in The Color Purple revival. 

Jean-Baptiste was born in New York and graduated from Baldwin Wallace University. The 6-foot-2-inch tenor had recently landed two musical roles at Playhouse Square in Cleveland — in Murder Ballad and Love Story.

He also had played Enjolras last year in a production of Les Misérables at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.

His alma mater, Baldwin Wallace University, posted on Facebook that they were incredibly saddened by the loss of one of their own.


Tags : Associated PressBaldwin Wallace UniversityBroadway theatreConvictDebra MessingJean ValjeanJosh GrobanLes MisérablesLes Misérables (musical)List of African-American firsts

The author sandeepnair