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Ramin Karamloo

Ramin Karimloo: 'In 2002, I was working in a factory. Five years later I was the Phantom'

After several years playing the title role in The Phantom of the Opera in the West End, 31-year-old Ramin Karimloo returns as the Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber's sequel, Love Never Dies , which opens at the Adelphi theatre, London, on Tuesday. Here the Iranian-born Canadian actor describes how it happened.

When did you first see The Phantom of the Opera ?

I was about 12 years old on a school trip in Toronto and hated the idea of seeing an opera. Before the show I was asked to volunteer on stage. I was handed a mic and had to say: "I'm the Phantom of the Opera." I was thinking: "Don't cry, because the boys are here." A seed was planted. I said to friends: "I want to be the Phantom."

Do you think the role was your destiny?

Yes, but I never trained – I couldn't afford singing lessons back then. I read as many books as I could on acting. One day I saw an audition for a cruise and started singing on that. Then I moved to Oxford in 2002. I was working in a factory making the inside of hand dryers, thinking: "How am I going to get to the West End from here?" I went to the message board in Pineapple Dance Studios, closed my eyes and took the number of a singing teacher that my finger landed on. That teacher found me an agent and five years later I was the Phantom.

Tell me about the new show

It's a great story with a lavish set and costumes which are almost Tim Burton-esque. After being hunted for murder, the Phantom has fled Paris for Coney Island, New York. It's a very attractive place for him, full of funfairs and freak shows, where people lose their inhibitions. He's accepted there, so he changes a lot and becomes Coney Island's mastermind. But without Christine, he's not happy – her voice is key to his music.

The show has received some negative feedback online from people who have seen previews. How does that feel?

The only thing I know is what I see on stage. We see the audience giving us standing ovations each night; seeing that reaction after every performance is thrilling.

What are the Phantom's fans like?

There are the obsessives and the scary ones. But I do get some interesting fan mail. When I first played the Phantom I decided to make him young, and studied Asperger's syndrome as a slight back-story because I saw some documentaries on unexplained geniuses and Asperger's came up. I kept that totally to myself, but then I got two letters from fans mentioning certain mannerisms of my Phantom, saying they really connected with him and that they had Asperger's. That was a big validation. I felt: "Wow, this is affecting people like it affected me."

  • Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Theatre Q&A

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ACTOR, ARTIST, THESPIAN

Olivier and Tony Award nominee Ramin Karimloo made his name in the early 2000s in some of the West End's most enduring productions, most notably Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables. He originated the role of the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera sequel Love Never Dies in 2010 before making his Broadway debut in the 2014 revival of Les Mis. Karimloo has also performed show tunes on a series of solo recordings, including his second album, 2019's From Now On, which landed on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.

Born in Tehran, Iran, and raised in Peterborough and Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, Karimloo began his music career in Toronto, where he sang in rock groups, including a Tragically Hip cover band. After a stint with cruise-based theater companies, Karimloo relocated to the U.K., where in 2000 he played the title role of Aladdin in a pantomime production staged by the Chatham Theatre. Over the next two years, he joined the U.K. tours of The Pirates of Penzance and Sunset Boulevard, making his West End debut soon after, playing Feuilly in Les Misérables in 2002. In 2003, he joined Phantom of the Opera as Raoul, and a year later, he appeared in Joel Schumacher's film version of the musical as Christine's father. Karimloo returned to the national tour circuit in 2005 for Miss Saigon. Off-stage, Karimloo made his first solo recording, the EP Within the Six Square Inch, 2007. It included two Billy Joel covers alongside well-known show tunes. That same year, he returned to Phantom, this time taking on the title role, which he continued until late 2009. The following year, he originated the role of the Phantom in the sequel Love Never Dies. He stayed with the production until the show closed in summer 2011, making time in October 2010 to play Enjolras in the 25th anniversary concert of Les Misérables. He also appeared on the Love Never Dies cast recording, which made it onto the Billboard 200 chart. By late 2011, Karimloo had joined the Les Misérables cast once more, this time stepping into the lead role of Jean Valjean. His full-length solo debut, Ramin (aka Human Heart), arrived via Sony Masterworks in early 2012 and reached 16 in the UK Charts.

In 2013, Karimloo joined a Toronto production of Les Misérables, then made his Broadway debut in March 2014 with a revival of the same show. He was nominated for a Tony for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Valjean. A month after leaving Broadway's Les Mis in August 2015, Karimloo appeared in an episode of the CBS series Blue Bloods. Over the next couple of years, he performed in the world premier of The Prince of Broadway, directed by the late Hal Prince. Ramin played Che in Evita (Vancouver and Japan) U.K. Premier of Murder Ballad playing Tom, (London), Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar (Japan) and Anatoly in Chess (Kennedy Center and Japan). Ramin also originated the role of Gleb Vaganov in the Broadway Premier of Anastasia.

In 2019, Karimloo joined the main cast of the BBC medical drama Holby City playing Kian Madani and played the title role in two concert performances of the musical Doctor Zhivago in London. In September of that year, Sony Masterworks released his second solo album, From Now On. With popular songs from The Greatest Showman, Hamilton, and Dear Evan Hansen, among other film and stage musicals, From Now On reached number 11 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.

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Ramin Karimloo’s voice is amazing, sends shivers down my spine. The choice of songs on his albums is great. Love it!

Marta Grisolia

Ramin has an amazing and powerful voice. He’s one of the best Phantoms ever. Bravo, Ramin!!!

phantom of the opera ramin karimloo

Awards & Nominations

  • Who are you contacting? * Who are you contacting? * C.A.M. - Agent - Worldwide excluding USA Larry Taube - Manager - Worldwide Randi Goldstein - Agent - USA
  • Peter Brooks/Alexandra Sanlan 55-59 Shaftesbury Avenue London W1D 6LD T. +44 (0) 20 7292 0600 E. [email protected]
  • Principal Entertainment LA 9255 Sunset Blvd #500 West Hollywood, CA 90069, USA E. [email protected] E. [email protected]
  • Gersh Agency NYC Inc 41 Madison Ave #33 New York, NY 10010, USA E. [email protected]
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Ramin Karimloo

Ramin Karimloo

  • Born September 19 , 1978 · Tehran, Iran
  • Height 6′ 0½″ (1.84 m)
  • Born on September 19, 1978 in Tehran, Iran, Ramin Karimloo is an Iranian-Canadian singer and actor, best known for his work in musicals. When he was 2 months old, his parents were forced to flee Iran because of the Islamic Revolution. After spending two years in Italy, the family moved to Peterborough, Canada, where Karimloo grew up. At 12, he went on a school trip to see a touring production of "The Phantom of the Opera" and was so moved by Colm Wilkinson 's performance as the Phantom that he decided to become an actor. He moved to Richmond Hill to attend Alexander Mackenzie High School, but dropped out at 18. He landed a job as a performer on a cruise ship, despite not having any experience in dancing, and two weeks later, after the lead singer dropped out, Karimloo took his place. On one such cruise he met Amanda Ramsden (known as Mandy), who later became his wife. In 2001, he and Mandy moved to London, where he got a job at a factory, but also found a voice teacher and an agent, landing a number of small roles in touring musicals such as "Sunset Boulevard" and "The Pirates of Penzance". In 2002 he debuted on West End as Feuilly in "Les Misérables", understudying Marius and Enjolras. In 2003 he got the role of Raoul in "The Phantom of the Opera" and went on to perform in "Les Misérables", this time as Enjolras, and in a touring production of "Miss Saigon" as Chris. In 2004, he appeared in a small role of Christine's father in the movie adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera (2004) . In 2007, he became the youngest actor to ever play the Phantom in "The Phantom of the Opera" and two years later he was chosen by Andrew Lloyd Webber to be the Phantom in "Love Never Dies", a new musical continuing the character's story. In 2010, he played Enjolras in Les Misérables in Concert: The 25th Anniversary (2010) , appearing on stage alongside his childhood hero Colm Wilkinson. A year later, they met again when Karimloo played the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall (2011) , in which Wilkinson appeared as a special guest. In 2012 he released his first album, entitled simply "Ramin" (renamed "Human Heart" in the US). 2013 marked his Broadway debut, again in "Les Misérables", but this time in the leading role of Jean Valjean. This performance got him a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical. He went on to appear in musicals such as "The Secret Garden" (as Archibald Craven), "Murder Ballad" (as Tom), "Anastasia" (as Gleb Vaganov) and "Evita" (as Che). Him and Mandy have two sons, Jaiden and Hadley. - IMDb Mini Biography By: Evil_Herbivore
  • Spouse Amanda Ramsden (? - present) (2 children)
  • Muscular build
  • Often plays complex, tormented characters such as The Phantom of the Opera and Gleb Vaganov in Anastasia
  • He was the first actor to play all three of Christine's loves in "The Phantom of the Opera": he has played Raoul and the Phantom on stage, and makes a cameo as Christine's father in The Phantom of the Opera (2004) .
  • Became the youngest ever Phantom at age 28 in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera musical. (September 10, 2007 at Her Majesty's Theatre, London).
  • His entire part in The Phantom of the Opera (2004) is a picture of him in character and a single shot, lasting less than thirty seconds, of Gustave on his deathbed.
  • He is a close friend of Hadley Fraser . The two started Sheytoons, a folk rock band together in 2010.
  • His sons' names are Jaiden and Hadley. The youngest, Hadley, is named after Hadley Fraser .
  • [on Sierra Boggess ] It's not a case of wanting to work with her anymore. I don't want to. I need to.

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The Phantom of The Opera Full Stage Show

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