1st African-American actor to play Valjean on Broadway dies

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NEW YORK (AP) — The first African-American and youngest person to ever play the role of Jean Valjean (zhahn val-ZHAHN') on Broadway in "Les Misérables" has died. He was 21.

According to show spokesman Marc Thibodeau, Kyle Jean-Baptiste died Friday night after falling from a fire escape.

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

Jean-Baptiste was born in New York and "Les Misérables" was his Broadway debut, following his graduation from Baldwin Wallace University.