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KYLE JEAN- BAPTISTE VIA YOUTUBE
The first black actor to play the Broadway lead in “Les Misérables” died in a freak four-story fall from a Brooklyn fire escape early Saturday, police said.
Precocious performer Kyle Jean-Baptiste, 21, died at Woodhull Hospital after the 4:15 a.m. plunge, police said.
The actor, who was the youngest to play Jean Valjean on the Great White Way, was hanging out with a woman on the fire escape outside his apartment at 303 Greene Ave. when he lost his balance and fell to his death, said his weeping dad.
Though cops were investigating, police believe the death was accidental.
“It’s devastating,” said Serge Jean-Baptiste, who lived in the same building and rushed to his dying son’s aid. “You don’t wish that on anybody — chasing the ambulance, knowing they can’t revive him.”
The actor’s apartment was on the fourth floor of the Fort Greene building, one floor above his parents on the tree-lined street of well-maintained brownstones. The fire escape is in the rear.
The actor’s aunt, Marie Jean-Baptiste, fought back tears as she remembered the nephew who was “like a second son” to her.
“I don’t have the words for it,” said the 53-year-old woman. “Kyle was a lovely boy. His voice — he had a voice that would sing out.”
Hours after Jean-Baptiste’s shocking death, castmate Ramin Karimloo — who played Jean Valjean in Saturday’s matinee — dedicated the performance to the show’s fallen cast member.
“He was going to be a star,” Karimloo said as some castmates wiped away tears. “He had a lot of moxie. It’s a very sad day for us.”
The crowd, encouraged by Karimloo, erupted in a standing ovation for Jean-Baptiste.
Audience member Nicole Garcia said the crowd gasped as one when Karimloo revealed the horrible news.
“It was pretty heavy,” said Garcia, 26, of Forest Hills, Queens. “Very hard to hear at the end of the show.”
The promising young talent from Brooklyn made his historic debut as Jean Valjean on July 23 as an understudy. He usually played Constable and Courfeyrac.
“Today I go on as my dream role,” he tweeted that day. “No words.”
“Les Misérables” debuted on Broadway in 1987 and the current revival premiered in early 2014.
Jean-Baptiste had attended a concert with his friend and former classmate, Andrew Kotzen, at the cabaret club 54 Below in Midtown before the tragedy.
“Everyone else came before he did. His infectious smile could brighten anyone’s day,” said Kotzen, who was stunned at the news. “He was always there for his friends. He’s incredibly supportive.”
The LaGuardia High School alum was cast in the Broadway musical in May following his graduation from Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio.
Celebrities Josh Groban, Kristin Chenoweth and Debra Messing were among those to express their grief on Twitter.
The distraught dad, 51, spoke wistfully of his beloved boy.
“He had the world ahead of him. He touched the world. And now he has left the world,” the father said.
My heart goes out to the young brotha's family. Life can be a beast and we all must enjoy our time here in this physical plane on the planet Earth. Don't take life for granted....always count your blessings, be glad you're alive to see another day. This young brotha had a mature vibe to his steelo. Regardless, every person should have the right to live their life because of their potential and knowledge.
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