West End star and musical innovator Ramin Karimloo is heading to the London Palladium for a special one-night show on Saturday July 16.
Iranian-born, Canadian actor, singer Ramin Karimloo is known as one of the most formidable talents in the industry. Heralded for his portrayal of leading roles Jean Valjean in Les Miserables and the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera, Karimloo is a musical force unlike any other.
I sat down for a cup of tea and a natter with Ramin about his upcoming show and what we can expect.
For those who may not be familiar with your work, can you give me a little run down of some of your career highlights so far?
Well I’ve had some luck in theatre, minimal luck on TV/Film and somehow managed to gig with my friends playing music we love in some amazing places. All of the above making for amazing experiences. Loved the roles I’ve had a chance to play to the music I’ve got to try and play.
You have a huge show coming up in the West End at the London Palladium on 16 July 2016. What have you got planned for the night and what can people expect to see/hear if they come along?
Our/my aim is to always to put on a show that’s fun. We don’t take ourselves seriously yet we care about what we are doing. The whole ‘Broadgrass’ thing has evolved organically and it continues to do so. We let our instincts guide us on how we would like to present songs each time. It keeps it fun for us and not two shows the same. We are looking at having a bigger band for this but without losing the intimacy. We just want everyone to feel like they are with friends jamming around the kitchen sink. Except at the London Palladium.
Who are your biggest inspirations in the theatre industry and why?
Well the three main folks would be Colm Wilkinson and Gordon Downie (lead singer of the Tragically Hip) and The Avett Brothers. All are great story tellers, great musicians and human beings.
There are lots of exciting shows coming to London in 2016. What are you most looking forward to seeing whilst you are here?
I would love to see Motown, Sunny Afternoon and In The Heights.
You have played the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables in both the London and New York productions. How does the New York version of this show differ from the London production and do you think the new production should be rolled out across the world?
For me Les Miserables is it’s own star. The story and the music is really all that’s needed. You can dress it up or scale it down all you want but the heart will never change. The messages and themes are timeless. Sadly at times still very relevant in some cases. So for me, as long as this story gets told and the music gets sung, I’m happy for any incarnation. I do have a preference though.
If you could be the opposite sex for the day, what theatre role would you love to have a go at playing?
Aldonza from Man of La Mancha. I will never forget Susan Gilmour playing that part in Toronto. Such passion and a great part.
If you won the lottery and could stage one theatre show of your choice, what would you choose and who would be your dream cast?
I would beg for the rights to O Brother Where Art Thou. My dream cast to be honest would be to put the Avett Brothers in there. They are such a diverse group of characters and so much fun that between the whole group that tours it would be interesting to see them bring this story to the stage.
Why do you think people should come and see your concert at the London Palladium on 16 July 2016?
There’s nothing like it. It’s a great atmosphere. My band itself are a great bunch of people and there’s something special when we all get together. It’s a lot of fun and the diversity in the show is pretty amazing. Fun to play and fun see how folks enjoy it. It’s a real community feel. We love seeing some folks coming with hesitation (obviously being dragged there by someone who wanted to go) where by the end they now converted and into what we are doing. Again, there’s nothing like it.
Thanks for having Tea With Wilma
Ramin Karimloo plays the London Palladium on Saturday 16 July 2016. www.seetickets.com