The Gleb Club
by Loy Bernal Carlos
THE REMARKABLE RISE OF RAMIN KARIMLOO
He says it’s never easy, but they make it work. “We facetime everyday, and I handwrite a letter home once a week.” (He jokes that given the legibility of his handwriting, it probably takes about that long for them to finish reading one letter.) But by and large, he credits his family’s coping abilities to Mandy. “She teaches me what it means to be a team,” he says, “and I’m in awe of her accomplishments.”
Between hectic schedules, intense workouts and strict discipline when it comes to nutrition, it may surprise people to know that he indulges on certain things, too. In New York, Ramin admits to enjoying pizza on cheat days. “There’s an amazing pizza place down on 20th called La Pizza Fresca that I can’t get enough of.” Other things he also misses? Taking a ride on his Harley (Davidson). ”I miss that about England! I don’t have my bike here!” he laments.
Asked how he refreshes his spirit he replies, “Hanging out with friends and family, whether it’s the gym or just hang at my place.” He continues, “fishing with my kids, just relaxing with the people I love most.”
If he sounds like a nice guy, all who know him say that’s because he is. For example, prior to Canada officially celebrating 150 years of independence, Ramin Karimloo collaborated with Roots, Canada’s most iconic clothing brand on their “Be Nice” campaign, an initiative that promoted the classic Canadian ideal of “being nice” both locally and globally. Roots set a goal to raise $150,000 by donating 100% of the profits from every purchase of a “nice™ button or limited-edition enamel pin to support Indigenous Youth Empowerment Programming run by WE. Ramin was one of its Ambassadors.
The actor relates, “A friend of mine told me about it after I became an ambassador for the Roots 150 campaign, and I just thought that we could all use a little “nice” in the world. It’s something that I thought, hey maybe if I pass this on to people then they’ll in turn pass it on to others, and it’ll be a great butterfly effect. We need more kindness in the world.“
It’s a quality he sees in Gleb, the character he plays in Anastasia as well. “I think Gleb’s just a normal guy that’s trying to do the right thing. I guess that’s something I try to do in real life as well.”
After Anastasia and before coming home, Ramin will be heading to Japan for some concerts, something he had tremendous success previously in a 2013 tour with Lea Salonga, Sierra Boggess and Yu Shirota. When asked if there’s a cultural difference in performing and performers in Asia, the Broadway star replies “I love my fans out there, they’re so generous and grateful that you’re there. It’s always a great time getting to perform. Lea is absolutely incredible. Her talent is really something else – and she’s such a warm, lovely person.”
Looking to the future, he would love another shot at playing Che in Evita or perhaps Archibald Cravin in The Secret Garden, which he would like to see Broadway bound. He imagines performing with Lucas Steele from “Natasha, Pierre,” too, someday, or perhaps star in a play. But for now, what he longs for most is to be home with his wife and boys.
What makes it all worth it is this: for Ramin Karimloo, performing is another way of being of service. After the curtain closes, he says he leaves it all on the stage. “If I thought about this after I performed every night, I would have gone crazy by now.” So when he leaves the dressing room and heads out the stage door, he explains, “I just look for the people who seem to want to have a conversation, who want to talk. It’s all about the connection for me, and if I see someone who’s willing to share that, that’s who I go to. I don’t want to just mindlessly sign Playbills, I want to know that it’s something more meaningful. I just hope that maybe I can inspire someone out there in some way or another.”
RAMIN KARIMLOO shirt John Varvatos