Les Miserables Star Kyle Jean-Baptiste Dies in US Fire Escape Fall

The first African-American and youngest person ever to play the lead role in Les Miserables on Broadway has died in a fall, a show spokesman has said.

Les Miserables Star Kyle Jean-Baptiste Dies

Kyle Jean-Baptiste, 21, fell from a fire escape after Friday evening’s performance at the Imperial Theatre, said representative Marc Thibodeau.

Last month, Mr Jean-Baptiste made history performing the role of ex-convict Jean Valjean in the musical.

A statement described him as a remarkable young talent.

The notice placed on Facebook said: “The entire Les Miserables family is shocked and devastated by the sudden and tragic loss of Kyle.”

It described him as a “tremendous person who made magic and history in his Broadway debut”.

‘My dream’

In May, Mr Jean-Baptiste announced on Twitter he would be joining Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Les Miserables as Courfeyrac and understudying Jean Valjean. He first went on stage in that role on 23 July.

He told Playbill magazine: “This was my dream since I was a little boy.”

His last performance in the role was on Thursday.

The circumstances of Mr Jean-Baptiste’s death are unclear. Some reports have said he was at his mother’s home at the time.

Fellow actors took to social media to pay tribute to the star.

“Shocked and saddened to have lost one of Broadway’s youngest treasures,”tweeted Tony Award-nominee Joshua Henry.

Teal Wicks, starring in Finding Neverland, said she was “devastated” and he was “a new friend and a shining star”.

Ansel Elgort said: “I played opposite Kyle Jean-Baptiste in Hairspray in high school at Laguardia. What I remember most above his talent was his warmth.”

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