Pillbox

Broadway star sings intimate set

Ramin Karimloo is best known for his role as the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera. While extremely different from his performance on stage as the Phantom, he put on a beautiful show at WQED last week. (credit: Courtesy of the Associated Press) Ramin Karimloo is best known for his role as the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera. While extremely different from his performance on stage as the Phantom, he put on a beautiful show at WQED last week. (credit: Courtesy of the Associated Press)

Broadway performer Ramin Karimloo put on an impressive and intimate show at 89.3 WQED headquarters in Oakland last Tuesday.

Karimloo is a well-known musical theater star, famous on Broadway for playing the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera as well as playing the same role in the sequel Love Never Dies. Karimloo has also starred in the classic Broadway musical Les Misérables as both Enjolras and Jean Valjean, and is featured in the 25th anniversary recordings of both Les Misérables and The Phantom of the Opera.

The Iranian-born Canadian actor released a new album in April titled Ramin. The album includes many of his signature show tunes, as well as energetic pop music. Ramin’s visit to WQED was part of his concert tour and, all in all, the concert was engaging and musically satisfying.

In the intimate setting of WQED’s theater — the same where Mister Rogers was filmed — Karimloo was a joy to watch. He carried himself with a charisma that immediately attracted attention. With him were his band members and rising singer-songwriter Sheri Miller.

Although the audience was somewhat small, Karimloo’s performance was anything but. He performed songs from his album, as well as original songs written by himself and longtime friend and actor Hadley Fraser. Additionally, he sang a few crowd favorites such as “Bring Him Home” from Les Misérables and Phantom ballad “Music of the Night.”

In addition to providing stunning vocals, Karimloo played several instruments during the concert. From the guitar to the banjo to the piano, Ramin played and sang beautifully. The experience was quite different from seeing him on stage in one of his signature roles, yet it was just as entertaining and impressive.

Surprisingly, Karimloo did not sing the famous “Til I Hear You Sing” from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies. This was an obvious disappointment to the crowd, for it was this song that introduced his voice to many of his current fans.

The backup vocals provided by Miller were unimpressive next to Karimloo’s voice; she seemed to have trouble keeping the harmonies in tune. During the show, she performed one of her original songs, which, despite interesting lyrics, fell flat due to redundant chord progressions. Perhaps the concert would have been better with a backup vocalist as powerful and engaging as Karimloo himself.

Nevertheless, Karimloo put on a splendid show for his fan base in Pittsburgh. The concert ran a bit over two hours long, but did not feel at all lengthy. Karimloo’s outstanding voice and tremendous stage presence held attention the entire time.