GQ: Ramin Karimloo – The Broadway Actor Who Method-Acts in the Gym

What do you think a leading man on Broadway looks like? The dudes who sat by me in Drama 101 were good-looking, but definitely more Sondheim than Schwarzenegger. But not Tony-nominee and Broadway buff Ramin Karimloo.

I saw Karimloo during his 2014-2015 Broadway stint as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables, and from that night, I mostly remember the screams. Near the beginning of act one, Valjean is released from prison. “Why is he still wearing his uniform?” Karimloo remembers asking early on. “He’s free. He’d shed that like a snake sheds skin.” So Karimloo discarded his shirt, and the two teenage girls next to me lost their shit.

Karimloo is a surprising stage actor beyond looking more action hero than chorus boy. He doesn’t really like showtunes and has never seen The Wizard of Oz. (“I don’t even know what Judy Garland sounds like.”) But that doesn’t mean he takes those roles less seriously. In fact, he got swole as part of the job. Method acting is a technique in which actors aspire to complete identification with their characters. For Karimloo, that even means customizing workouts: If Jean Valjean or Gleb—Karimloo’s current posting in Anastasia—strutted into an Equinox in 2017, how would he break a sweat? I’ve been referring to Karimloo’s workout as “method ab-ing,” and at least two people have laughed.

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