“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,” the production said in a statement. “We send our deepest condolences to his family and ask that you respect their privacy in this unimaginably difficult time.”
Jean-Baptiste made his debut as Jean Valjean on July 23. He was an understudy for the role who also played Courfeyrac. In an Instagram post Friday, he shared a diptych of himself as Valjean, before and after makeup.
“Before and after shot,” he wrote. “Today is my last performance as Valjean on Broadway. What an incredible experience. I’ve learned and grown so much. Grateful for the people I’ve met and this opportunity. I will never forget it. Dedicating this performance to someone special to me. They know who they are. Also sending love to everyone who supported me. Family friends etc. Until next time ..Kyle signing out…saudade #onedaymore#valjeanout#24601 @lesmizbway.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the writer and star of “Hamilton,” shared his elation when Jean-Baptiste’s debut was announced in July, parodying the musical’s lyrics.
“RED:THE BLOOD OF ANGRY MEN
BLACK:OUR BWAY JEAN VALJEAN
RED:MAKE HISTORY AGAIN
BLACK:THE BARRICADE LIVES ON
Congrats!,” he tweeted.
Earlier this month, the two performed together on New York’s 46th Street, just outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre, where “Hamilton” is running, in part of a running series called “Ham4Ham.” Miranda tweeted that he was suspending a scheduled show Saturday to honor Jean-Baptiste.
“If you would of asked me what I wanted to be growing up I’d have said a cardiologist,” Jean-Baptiste wrote on his Web site. “I grew up in Brooklyn New York and had always sung, but never took it seriously. I decided to audition for Fiorello LaGuardia [High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts] for vocal performance and got in(miracle) and the rest was history. Getting thrown into the world of musical theatre was terrifying and at first I didn’t know if I could handle it, but through hard work and perseverance it all came together. Acting and singing have become an extension of who I am, and I strive to use my gift to influence and inspire others. I am now shooting for the stars and trying to reach my goal of becoming the best stage and screen actor that I can be.”
The New York Times reported that the Baldwin Wallace University graduate was scheduled to leave “Les Miserables” on Sept. 6 to join the “The Color Purple.”
“RIP Kyle Jean-Baptiste,” Chenoweth wrote.” My love and hugs to his family. And the cast of @LesMiserables.”
“Unimaginable. In shock,” Miranda wrote. “He was just here.”