LES MISERABLES Welcomes Youngest and First African-American Jean Valjean in Broadway History
LES MISERABLES history was made this week when a 21-year-old African-American actor went on as Jean Valjean.
Jean Valjean understudy Kyle Jean-Baptiste, who usually plays Constable and Courfeyrac, is not only the youngest Jean Valjean to appear on Broadway, but he is also the first African American one to do so. Besides making history, Jean-Baptiste fulfilled a personal goal.
"Today I go on as my dream role," he tweeted on Thursday. "No words. Guna remember this night."
A recent graduate of Baldwin Wallace, Jean-Baptiste also recently portrayed Enjorlas in Idaho Shakespeare Festival's LES MISERABLES.
HAMILTON writer/star and outspoken LES MISERABLES fan Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted his support in the form of parodied lyrics,
"RED:THE BLOOD OF ANGRY MEN
BLACK:OUR BWAY JEAN VALJEAN
RED:MAKE HISTORY AGAIN
BLACK:THE BARRICADE LIVES ON
Jean-Baptiste concluded by tweeting his appreciation to his fans, "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." He added that he will be stepping in for the role again later this month while Ramin Karimloo is on vacation, "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 ;)"
Now in its second year on Broadway, this newly-reimagined production of Les Miserables opened on Broadway March 23, 2014 to critical acclaim. The Associated Press raved, "A glorious Les Miserables! This terrific new production is beautifully sung and acted." NY 1 said, "LES MISERABLES is born again. This is as close to perfection as we'll ever get in the theater." And The Huffington Post proclaimed, "This is a Les Miserables for the 21st century! It stirs the audience and rocks the rafters." The new Broadway production of Les Miserables is now exclusively the only place in North America where the shown can be seen.
Based on Victor Hugo's classic novel, Les Miserables is an epic and uplifting story about the survival of the human spirit. The magnificent score includes the classic songs "I Dreamed a Dream," "On My Own," "Stars," "Bring Him Home," "Do You Hear the People Sing?," "One Day More," "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables," "Master Of The House" and many more.