BDBB: The Black Dance and Broadway Blog

Covering black professionals and professional productions in the dance and theater worlds, plus general arts news

Theater: Theater World Mourns Death of “Les Miserables” Actor

Photo by Laura Marie Duncan

Photo by Laura Marie Duncan

The Broadway world is in mourning after the sudden death of the young actor Kyle Jean-Baptiste.

A 21-year-old Jean Valjean in Broadway’s “Les Miserables”? Who would have thunk it?

Kyle Jean-Baptiste not only did it – and convincingly so from many reports, but in playing the role (which covers a period of 19 years after a lengthy prison sentence), Jean-Baptiste, who was an understudy filling in for a vacationing actor, also made history as the first black actor to play the role on Broadway. “Les Miserables” was his Broadway debut. He had joined the cast on June 23 and first played Jean Valjean on July 23.

Here’s a link to one of his performances: 

Now, he’s gone. Jean-Baptiste, who regularly played the constable and Courfeyrac, died Friday night, just hours after a performance as Jean Valjean, after falling from a fire escape.

The young actor’s sudden, tragic death has led to numerous postings on Twitter and Facebook. The production also issued a statement saying,  “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.”

Jean-Baptiste was to have started work on “The Color Purple” next month. Now, instead, the theater world is mourning the loss of a young talent who, in a very short time, excited all who saw him.

RIP.

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This entry was posted on August 31, 2015 by in Uncategorized.
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