When Kyle Jean-Baptiste stepped on stage July 23rd he made history in a show that already has a very long history, Les Miserables. Not only did he become the youngest actor to play the role of Jean Valjean in a production produced by John Cameron but he also became the first black Jean Valjean on Broadway since the shows first premiere in 1987, making history twice!
Kyle Jean Baptiste is a 21 year old who just finished college. The day after he graduated from the college to Broadway pipeline, Baldwin Wallace University in Ohio, he was cast in Broadway’s Les Miserables as the understudy for Jean Valjean as well as Constable and Courfeyrac.
“It feels amazing to be here. I’m so grateful and humbled,” he explained during a recent rehearsal break. “It’s a dream come true.” … “Being an African American man I can have a different look at the role of this man who is a slave to the law,” he says. “You can’t get away from the fact that certain lines have more meaning [to me] because I’m black.”
We also knew about it before he went on because Mr. Baptiste told the world in a tweet and included us in the tweet.
— Kyle Jean- Baptiste (@BaptisteKyle) July 23, 2015
We were so ecstatic and happy for him. This is an amazing accomplishment straight out the gate. What a way to make a first impression into the theatre world.
— Broadway Black (@BroadwayBlack) July 23, 2015
And another person who seemed just as excited for the young performer was Lin-Manuel Miranda. Who responded to the news in true Miranda fashion, remixing the Red and Black song from Les Miz especially for the occasion
RED:THE BLOOD OF ANGRY MEN BLACK:OUR BWAY JEAN VALJEAN RED:MAKE HISTORY AGAIN BLACK:THE BARRICADE LIVES ON Congrats! https://t.co/aQPbWiAMUD
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) July 23, 2015
And it seems it won’t be the last time we get to see Kyle Jean-Baptiste in the role of Jean Valjean. Makes sure you get your tickets for the dates listed below.
Thank you for all the love ! Last night was one of the best nights of my life. Thanks to all who came. C U at the barricade @LesMizBway
— Kyle Jean- Baptiste (@BaptisteKyle) July 24, 2015
Hey y’all I got Valjean dates ! July 29th 2 Pm show, August 1rst 2 PM show, August 13th at 7PM, August 27th at 7PM. See you there 😉
— Kyle Jean- Baptiste (@BaptisteKyle) July 26, 2015
Also check out why this 6-foot-2 American tenor was snatched up for Broadway so quickly by listening to his voice in a performance below.