Cleveland's Playhouse Square Will Dim Its Lights in Memory of Kyle Jean-Baptiste

News   Cleveland's Playhouse Square Will Dim Its Lights in Memory of Kyle Jean-Baptiste
 
Cleveland's Playhouse Square will dim its lights Sept. 1 at 9 PM in memory of Kyle Jean-Baptiste, the young star of Les Miserables who died tragically Aug. 29 at the age of 21.

As previously reported, Broadway's Imperial Theatre, home of the Les Miserables revival, will dim its lights in his memory Sept. 1 at 10:15 PM.

Kyle Jean-Baptiste
Kyle Jean-Baptiste Photo by Laura Marie Duncan Photography

Before arriving in New York City, where he made history as the first African-American to play the leading role of Jean Valjean in the Broadway production of Les Miserables, Jean-Baptiste performed regularly in Playhouse Square and in other Cleveland venues.

Among the singing actor's Cleveland credits were Murder Ballad, Love Story, The Merry Wives of Windsor and Les Miserables.

According to Cleveland.com, Playhouse Square officials announced Aug. 31 that all "are welcome to gather on U.S. Bank Plaza for a vigil should they wish to do so."

In a statement Gina Vernaci, architect of the KeyBank Broadway series, said, "The dimming of marquees is an honor usually reserved for legends in the industry. Kyle certainly exhibited all of the characteristics of someone who could have achieved that rank. However, a long career was not in the stars for him. Since we last saw Kyle on our stages in 'Murder Ballad,' his story has been remarkable. And for those who knew him, he was admired for his special gift as a performer -- but more importantly he was LOVED for being such a warm and caring young man. There is no real right way to help those who are feeling this loss. The students, faculty and friends may not be able to travel to [New York] to be a part of the events there. But they could make it to Playhouse Square -- to be together -- and to honor Kyle. "When [director Victoria Bussert] and I started our BW program at Playhouse Square, we thought about the joy of seeing these seniors in their final production as a student, before embarking on their journeys. And we anticipated how proud we would feel watching them either on Broadway or on our stages as they come back through Cleveland on tour. Never did we anticipate what occurred this past weekend. The world was Kyle's oyster -- and yet his final bow shockingly came at intermission. There was not going to be an ACT II. So we need to be there now, to support those in Cleveland, as everyone can gather to recognize Kyle's achievements while pondering the frailties of life."

Broadway Community Gathers for Tearful Farewell to Kyle Jean-Baptiste in Central Park

History-Making Jean Valjean Kyle Jean-Baptiste Dies at 21

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