Kyle Jean-Baptiste, the first African-American to play Jean Valjean, the iconic lead role in Broadway musical Les Misérables, died on Friday after falling from the fourth-floor fire escape of an apartment in Bedford-Stuyvesant. He was 21 years old.
According to the New York Times, police said that the young man’s death “appeared to be accidental.” He was sitting on the fire escape with a 23-year-old female friend when he stood up, slipped, and fell.
Marc Thibodeau, a spokesman for the Broadway production, said Jean Baptiste had joined the company as an ensemble performer and understudy for the role on June 23, the Times reports. He assumed the role a month later, performing “several times” before his final performance this past Thursday, Thibodeau said. #blackfacts #broadway #broadwayperformer