Discover Broadway – Ramin Karimloo

Tiffany Chang - 2A Chemical
Posted on: January 28, 2017

Welcome to another edition of Discover Broadway!

We will continue our journey through the wonders of musical theatre. This term, however, I hope to enrich your experience and knowledge of this great art by exploring some behind-the-scenes gurus, underrated performers, and the history of this art.

As promised in the last installment, we will explore some of the work of a Canadian performer, best known for his work in London’s West End.

Ramin Karimloo is an Iranian-Canadian actor and singer. He was inspired to become a performer thanks to Colm Wilkinson, who is considered one of the beloved performers of musical theatre and was touring in The Phantom of the Opera in Toronto at the time. Thanks to a class trip, Karimloo fell in love with Phantom and set his eyes out for earning the title role.

Little did he know that he would achieve his goal—and then some.

Karimloo’s first role may not have been the Phantom, but his West End debut was the role of Feuilly in Les Misérables, in which he also was understudy for the roles of Marius and Enjolras.

A year later, he took on a lead role in Phantom as Raoul.

More recently, he starred as the Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to Phantom, Love Never Dies, alongside Sierra Boggess as Christine Daaé. They had great chemistry together, despite the sequel not living up to the original—obviously—so it was no surprise that they reprised the two roles for three performances in The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall in honour of the musical’s 25th anniversary.

The staging of this anniversary performance was fairly different than the Las Vegas version that I saw around six years ago, which was already modified from the original version of the musical. However, Karimloo was a fantastic Phantom; his lilting, seductive voice certainly suits the role. He plays the both sides of the Phantom—vengeful and deadly versus soft and vulnerable—extremely well. His line, “Insolent boy!” at the beginning of “The Mirror (Angel of Music)” resonates in the Albert Hall, striking fear into the audience. He is a dangerous, riveting Phantom, but one with which the audience can sympathize.

My favourite performance of his was when he played Jean Valjean in the Toronto production of Les Misérables in 2014. I was so incredibly blessed to have seen his performance—unlike my friend, who watched the show with Karimloo’s alternate or understudy in the role of Valjean. Karimloo was a shining star throughout the show. In particular, there was not a single dry eye in the house during his rendition of “Bring Him Home”—his falsetto certainly did the heaven-bound prayer more than justice.

In addition to his contributions to musical theatre, he also has a number of the solo albums under his belt. Many songs are musical numbers, such as an acoustic version of “Bring Him Home” from Les Misérables and “’Til I Hear You Sing” from Love Never Dies.

As one of the founders, Karimloo is currently on a U.K. tour with The Broadgrass Band; “Broadgrass” is a genre of music that he created and combines Broadway showtunes with traditional bluegrass instrumentation (such as banjos).

Karimloo is definitely a performer to look out for in the genre of musical theatre. Personally, I cannot wait to see to which show his career propels him next.

Thanks for joining me on another musical adventure. Tune in next time!

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